( 1860 – 1949   )

Son of Arundhatamma and Sivaramayya, Venkataramayya was a disciple of Venkataratnam, his elder brother, and Yeleswarapu Narayanappa.

Well known as a performer, preceptor and principal narrator; he entered the stage At the age of eight donning both male and female roles of Satyabhama, Gollabhama, Yerukalsani, Narada and Chandamarka; in later years, he played the role of sutra-dhara (principal narrator) for Kuchipudi dance dramas.

Founder of Vekatarama Nataya Mandali, an organization which played a pivotal Role in training andpropagating Kuchipudi dance; first of its kind in the history of Kuchipudi village, it brought together all the practitioners of Kuchipudi under one Roof; this group traveled extensively,

performing the Kuchipudi dance dramas; it Operated under his leadership till 1936 and produced a series of dance dramas Namely, Prahlada Charitra of Vedala hirunarayanacharyulu and ramanujacharyulu, usha parinaya, of renduchintala chindambara kavi, sasirekha parinayam and gayopakhyanam of vallabhaneni Ramakrishna kavi, ramnantaka also known as lavakusa of anantadasa and mohini rukamgada of Enuguluri paparaju.

A great teacher, Venkataramayyas disciples without exception made a mark as great performers and teachers, to name a few Vedantam Raghavayya Hari chalapati, vedantam Chalapati, vedantam Ramakrishnayya, Chinta Rama Murthy, Chinta Krishna Murthy and Pasumarti Venugopala Krishna Sarma.

His unique contribution to Kuchipudi art is in the area of dance drama, for which he gave a systematic form in its presentation, taking care of every minute detail, like the technique of daruvu construction, the ragas to be used for a particular mood and situation and the sattvikabhinaya for a stipulated bhava, he was also the first person to introduce solo pieces, such as nritya pallavi and jattvidhanam in the regular dance dramas at appropriate scenes.

It may be mentioned that, he is one of the famous trio who dedicated his life for the popularization of Kuchipudi form, the other two beingVedantam Lakshminarayana Sastry and Vempati Venkatanarayana Sastry, bestowed with several honors for his services toward the development of dance dramas, mention should be made of the presentation of swarnakankanam and the title Kuchipudi yakshagana pitamaha.

<< Prev       Next >>