The Chennai Gharana

Launch of ‘The Chennai Gharana’ of Kathak on 27th March 2022
The founders

Highlights of the event:

On 27th March 2022, Guru Dr. Shri PR Venkatasubramanian and Guru Smt. Lakshmi Kannan launched ‘The Chennai Gharana’ of Kathak marking the 5th Kathak Nrutya Aarohan of Jathiswaraalaya.

The event commenced after the performance of the blessed student, Kumari Manasvini Sharma, who performed Guru Vandana, Tamil Keertan- Durga Lakshmi Saraswati, Bhajan, Shuddh Kathak, Gazal and Taraana, a breviary of the subtle yet intricate aspects of ‘The Chennai Gharana of Kathak’, on the event of her Kathak Nrutya Aarohan, in the presence of esteemed guests- Padmashri Awardee Smt. Chitra Visweswaran ji and Kalaimamani Dr. Shri OS Arun ji.

It all started with….!!

Chennai has always been called the Cultural Capital of India. Rasikas come to Sabhas throughout the year to enjoy and appreciate all kinds of performing arts. Guru Smt. Lakshmi Kannan during her Kathak performances in South India, particularly in Tamilnadu, felt that language remained a big barrier for the artistes from North, West, and East to establish a direct connect with the audience as did the artistes from South. Hence she along with her brother, our Guru Dr. P.R. Venkata Subramanian started including a few Tamil items exclusively penned for Kathak presentations in all the Kathak performances of the students. These items were well received when Jathiswaraalayans participated in various dance festivals in South. Yet another milestone in the history of Jathiswaraalaya was the successfully organized Kathak Nrutya workshop titled ‘Kathak Shivir’ (in association with Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Chennai) by Paramguru Prof. Shri Vijay Shankar Singh Bhadoria ji (Smt. Lakshmi Kannan’s Guru) in 2019. Vijay Shankar Singh ji, a master of Lucknow, Jaipur and Raigarh Gharanas of Kathak Nrutya, encouraged his Ganda Bundh Shagird (Thozhil Vaarisu) Lakshmi’s dedication to propagation of this art form with a Tamil flavour. Seeing the dedication of our Guru, Shri Ramaswamy ji, Director, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Chennai Kendra encouraged Jathiswaraalayans with opportunities in their annual dance festivals. He was quick to name this institution as the Founder school of Chennai Gharana of Kathak Nrutya in 2017. Further he initiated the official launch of this Gharana in the Kathak Nrutya Aarohan Samaroh of his granddaughter Manasvini.  As a step further he also asked the compere to announce the commencement a branch of this school for Kathak dance in the premises of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan at Mylapore from June 2022.

The Gharana:

The Chennai Gharana symbolizes Kathak as an art beyond the boundaries of languages, places and varying cultures. It depicts how we cross these barriers with a goal of taking this beautiful art to the Cultural Rasikas of the South, while maintaining the purity, accuracy and grammar of the pristine art, as passed on to our Gurus through our tradition of the Guru-Shishya Parampara.

It was indeed one of the proudest moments for the students of Jathiswaraalaya to have been a part of this momentous occasion.

At this juncture, all Jathiswaraalayans pay tribute to our Paramaguru (late) Prof. Shri Vijay Shankar Singh Bhadoria ji, who was a guiding force to the Gurus and students of Jathiswaraalaya and whose legacy of art, we have inherited ….

We miss you Master !!