Guru VS Ramamoorthy (1920 - 2020)
- Ananda Shankar Jayant
Photos courtesy: Muralidhar Gonugunta
October 3, 2020
Revered Bharatanatyam Guru V.S. Ramamurthy (Sept 20, 1920 - Oct 2, 2020) passed away aged 101. Lovingly called Master by his own students and others, Guruji was teaching Bharatanatyam in Secunderabad for more than 5 decades.
We artistes at Hyderabad were blessed to receive his blessings as recently as December 19, 2019, when we celebrated the amazing and loving centenarian Guru. He would attend all our programs, come backstage, bless us before the show and afterwards, and then call us next day, for detailed praise and blessings.
I have been recommending this doyen Guru's name for the Sangeet Natak Akademi Puraskar for more than 5 years now, even this year. What is it about us and our cultural institutions, that we cannot recognize such Gurus? Indeed sad that we can't see and recognize a centenarian too.
Guru V.S. Ramamoorthy was a much revered and loved Bharatanatyam Guru who has been rendering yeoman service to the exacting training and propagation of Bharatanatyam in the twin cities of Secunderabad and Hyderabad. Born on 20th September 1920, Sri Ramamoorthy received his training in Bharatanatyam from Natyacharya Dandayuthapani Pillai and performed his Arangetram on 15th August 1947 in Chennai. After receiving an education in Electrical Engineering, he joined the Military Engineering Services and served in Madras and Hyderabad. Throughout his official career in the Armed forces, he continued to teach Bharatanatyam in Chennai and later at Hyderabad. His first dance school 'Sri Devi Nritya Niketan' was started in Perambur, Madras in 1966. After moving to Hyderabad, he established 'Sri Rama Nataka Niketan' in 1970. This institution has successfully completed 50 years of service to the arts.
Affectionately called Master and Guruji, Guru Ramamoorthy has trained approximately 2000 students so far. He continued to guide students even at the ripe old age of 100, providing them that rare and exclusive vital link between centuries of art in India. His scholarly interpretations have honed the understanding of each and every student of his, thus helping them in turn, in opening their minds and spirits to the eternal beauty of Bharatanatyam
His 75 years of dedicated service to Bharatanatyam as a devoted artiste and teacher was seminal, continuous, and impeccable. Guru Ramamoorthy was also known widely as a brilliant nattuvanar and choreographer. His choreographic works include Sri Krishna Leela Tarangini, Goda Kalyanam, Sri Rama Tapovana Gamanam, Mohini Bhasmasura, Seeta Parinayam, Saptha Teertha Sangamam, Saptha Thandavas of Lord Shiva etc.
At his 100th birthday celebrations
Many of his students have gone on to be qualified professional dancers and teachers, and have also made a mark in the field by receiving national scholarships, as well as national and state awards, that includes star performer and SNA awardee Surupa Sen. Apart from various awards and recognitions, he has received certifications from Limca Book of Records, Asia Book of Records, Indiabook of Records, World Records India, and World Amazing Records.
Guru Ramamoorthy is survived by his wife and daughter Manjula Ramaswamy who continues to take forward the tradition by teaching.
Ananda Shankar Jayant is the director of Shankarananda Kalakshetra, Hyderabad.
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