By Nandini Ramani
Uma Nambudripad Sathya Narayana
Uma Nambudripad Sathya Narayana, a disciple of Chitra Visweswaran, is a talented and committed dancer. With her proficiency in Carnatic vocal music, she is also shaping up as a good vocalist for dance. This has added a further dimension to her interpretation of the mimetic aspects of Bharatanatyam.
At the age of six, Uma started learning Bharatanatyam in Nagpur, from Sreemathy, a disciple of Lalita Srinivasan of Bengaluru. Later, while in Delhi, she also learnt Kuchipudi under the tutelage of the duo Vanasree and Jayarama Rao.
Uma’s passion for Bharatanatyam led her to Chennai when she received the CCRT scholarship from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. She enrolled under Chitra Visweswaran, renowned exponent of the Vazhuvoor style. Since then Uma has put in years of dedicated work with her teacher, in exploring the nuances of her guru’s style. Uma has the maturity to assimilate what she learns and observes, and is able to express them in her own recitals.
Uma’s innate talent for vocal music was first nurtured by Rajeswari Neelakantan of Nagpur. After moving to Chennai she learnt vocal music from the multi-talented R. Visweswaran (C-vocalist, vocal accompanist for dance, and H-santoor artist). With a CCRT scholarship for vocal music, Uma learnt the nuances of voice culture and the regular repertoire, apart from training in dance music. As a beneficiary of the training programme for Dance Music, of the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi, Uma has honed her skills in classical music and dance. She regularly assisted Visweswaran in Chitra’s concerts, in India and abroad. Uma received holistic training in the arts at the Chidambaram Academy for Performing Arts (CAPA) run by Chitra and Visweswaran. She learnt the art of nattuvangam, stagecraft, and dance theory. Uma is among the few young dancers with a sound knowledge of music for dance. Presently she is undergoing intensive training in vocal music with A.S. Murali.
Uma has presented solo Bharatanatyam recitals at most of the well known cultural organisations in Chennai, other cities in India, and also abroad. She participated in the Swarna Nritya Pratibha festival organised by SNA. She plays an active role in the dance productions of her teacher which are staged nationally and internationally.
Uma’s pleasing stage presence, firm grip over the picturesque nuances of the dance technique, ebullient nritta, and eloquent abhinaya mark her as a committed torchbearer of the Vazhuvoor school. Her abhinaya is enriched by her understanding of various aspects of vocal music.
Uma is a “B” Grade artist of Doordarshan. She is a recipient of many youth awards including the Yuva Kala Bharati award (for all rounder in Bharatanatyam, nattuvangam and vocal) from Bharat Kalachar. She is a senior faculty member at the Chidambaram Academy where she assists her guru in training and guiding the students. Uma’s passion for the arts enables her to simultaneously pursue her own artistic goals with dedication to her guru and the sampradaya.
(Nandini Ramani is a Bharatanatyam exponent, teacher, writer and keen follower of classical dancers young and old)