Dr.Vempati Chinna Satyam Born in a traditional family of dancers in the village, Kuchipudi, Andhra Pradesh, dance was intermingled in Vempati’s blood and veins. Vedantam Lakshmi Narayana Sastry, a great master in the field, initiated Young Vempati into this great art. As he learnt the nuances of this style of dance, Vempati was avid to see this great heritage permeate all over the world.
With this burning desire he left his native village at the age of 18. Due to financial constraints he walked all the way to Madras, now Chennai, the cultural Mecca of all fine arts. He underwent vigorous training under his cousin, Vempati Pedda Satyam who was a well-established dance director
in the film world. He also spent a year under various teachers, extending his knowledge of various styles.
The glitter and glamour of the tinsel world failed to impress him. With the desire to spread Kuchipudi, burning within, Vempati started teaching and started his Kuchipudi Art Academy at Madras in 1963.The Academy has to its credit more than 180 Solo items and 15 dance dramas composed and choreographed by Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam. These solo items and dramas have been staged all over India and abroad. He composed his first dance drama Sri Krishna Parijatham in the same period followed by another hit Ksheera Sagara Madanam and played the lead role. His portrayal of Lord Shiva and his brilliant choreography was received with thunderous applause. With his very first attempt passing in flying colors, his long cherished desire, to establish Kuchipudi among the prominent classical styles, got a shot in the arm.
Vempati’s charismatic choreography and scintillating style were witnessed and applauded in almost all parts of the world. He sublimated and systematized Kuchipudi without sacrificing its pristine purity and gave it a more classical and sophisticated look. He refined and redefined Kuchipudi bringing it completely within the boundaries of Natya Sastra and gave it a wholly new perspective. Vempati worked on and produced many more marvels like Padmavati Srinivasa Kalyanam, Vipranarayana Cheritam, Menaka Viswamitra, Sakuntalam, Bama Kalapam, Chandalika, Rukmini Kalyanam, Hara Vilasam, Siva Dhanurbhangam (the first part of the oldest epic Ramayana) and Ardha Nareeswara. He also composed Kumara Sambhavam, Padmavathi Tirumanam and Sri Krishna Parijatam in Tamil.
The latest is being Sri Pada Parijatham (Annamayya) and Kirataarjuneeyam.
Guru Dr. Vempati along with his students made his first trip overseas in 1971 to London and France, gaining accolades and acclamations where ever he went. He then toured South America and the Caribbean Islands, with his troupe to participate in the Festival in 1973. From then on, he followed an endless stream of trips. He traveled countries like USA, Russia, Canada, Europe Countries like Germany, France, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, and Gulf countries with the Academy troupe and staged programs in all those countries earning glorious tributes. For the first time in 36 years, This Academy has organized and conducted on its own two Promotional Tours to United States of America one in 1998 called “Kuchipudi Prathidhwani”98″ and the second in 2000 called “Kuchipudi 2000″. Both the tours covered approx. 50 cities across the length and breath of the America.
Notable among the numerous Awards, honors and citations conferred on him are: -
|“Padma Bhushan” by Govt. of India|
|“Fellow” by Sangeet Natak Akademy, New Delhi|
|Kalaprapurna by Andhra University|
|Kuchipudi Nritya Pramukh by Sangeet Natak Academy (New Delhi)|
|Honorary Doctorate (D.Litt.) by Sri Venkateswara University (Tirupati)|
|Asthana Vidwan by Sri Venkateswara Temple (Pittsburgh)|
|T.T.K.Memorial Award by the Madras Music Academy|
|Kalidas Puraskar by Government of Madhya Pradesh|
|Kalai mamani by Govt. of Tamil Nadu.|
|The Mayor of Miami presented the Golden Key award to him in 1984|
|The Mayor of Dayton, Ohio declared September 25,1994 as Vempati Chinna Satyam Day|
|The Mayor of Ghana, Ohio declared April 27,1984 as classical Indian Kuchipudi Ballet dance Drama and The Mayor of Atlanta declared 3rd November 1994 as Kuchipudi Dance Drama Day.|
|The Mayor of Cleveland conferred honorary citizenship on Dr.Vempati.|
|The Mayor of Memphis declared September 24, 1994 as ‘Ramayana Day’ and the Key to the city was awarded to him.|
|Gold medal was presented to him by the President of Tunisia at the Cartage Festival. Citations and Honors conferred at the Avignon Festival, France in 1995.|