Radhika Nandakumar

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Radhika was inspired, initiated into dance by her mother Kalakovide Guru Smt. Usha Padmanabhiah (foremost disciple of Natyacharya Guru V.S.Koushik, Founder of Sanatana Kalakshetra). Radhika’s creative resources were carefully nurtured, intensively disciplined, and trained in Bharatanatyam by her mother. She performed Rangapravesha at the age of ten. Radhika received further training from Gurus Sri U.S.Krishna Rao and Smt.Chandrabhaga Devi in Pandanallur style and in Mysore school. A gifted danseuse with distinct individuality, Radhika has developed numerous innovative forms of dance expressions from contemporary life. Her art focuses in setting-up a dynamic equilibrium between textual traditions and Gurukula traditions in dancing. Radhika has added a new dimension to contemporary Bharatanatyam by borrowing from the past, for the present and future. Her restorations are authentic, meaningful, and colorful.She has choreographed the original, authentic restorations of Jakkini, Shuddha Kavitha, Kaivara Prabandha, Sarthaka Mishra Kaivada, Suladi Nritya etc to present them in a very aesthetic mood. She has made a comparative study of the Abhinaya of Jayadeva’s Ashtapadis in both the authentic Tanjore Style and the Mysore Style of Bharatanatyam.

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Radhika has choreographed some of the most outstanding dance features like Narada Koravanji of Sri Vadiraja Yateendra (perhaps the very first Koravanji ballet in south India), Navagraha Nrutya (based on the concept of the nine planets), Srunganatya (based on the descriptions by Nandikeshwara in Bharatarnava and one of the most innovative fusion of Bharatanatya and Yakshagana of Karnataka), Kumara Sambhavam (of Kalidasa), Soubhagya Lalita (based on the theme as in Lalitopakhyana and Srividya), Manmatha Vijaya based on Soundarya Lahari (of Sri Adi Shankaracharya), Mrigasandesha (based on the Panchatantra and Hitopadesha), Deshabhava Dundubhi (choreography of a rare Ballard on the independence movement in India), Pandarika Natya (based on the textual descriptions as in Nartana Nirnaya of Pandarika Vitthala), etc. Radhika has experimented with new dimensional Chorographical Roopakas like Urvashi (based on Kumara Bharata), Rangapushpa (a roopaka based on varieties of Pushpanjali and Dikpalastuti), Lakshmi Swayamvara Samavakara : of Venkamatya, (one of the Dasha roopakas), Ambe (contemporary portrayal of the Ambe character in Mahabharata Epic), Panchali Shapatha (based on the portrayal of Draupadi of Vyasa Bharata), Shivarudraksha (based on Sri Jayachamaraja Wodeyar’s compositions and theme taken from Shivatattva Sudhanidhi), Jaya Saudamini (based on Sri Jayachamaraja Wodeyar’s compositions), Bhima Bhamini of Vadiraja Yateendra (based on Deergha Kriti choreographies), Choreographies to Tulasidas’s Ramacharita Manasa, Sharana Sati Nijaguna and Nijaguna Bharata (based on Sri Nijaguna Shivayogi’s Kaivalya Paddhati), Pramatha Gatha (Gatha style of narration and based on various Ganesha Puranas. It contains many unique themes that are hitherto unexposed on contemporary dance field), Virupaksha Vasantotsava (based on the Champu Kavya of Ahobala of Vijaynagara, Hampi) and Indradhvaja Mahotsava based on Natyashastra and Vishnu Dharmottara Purana.

Radhika has now reconstructed the ‘Gaundali Dance Form of Karnataka’. She received a Fellowship from the Ministry of Culture, Government of India to pursue this work and she has dedicated much of her art life these days to bring this Art form in all its authenticity to our contemporary Art Stage. This endeavor would bring into a new light, the Nartanadhyaya of Sarngadeva’s Sangita Ratnakara (Bharata Nartana) into the world of dance. Such performances have ensured for her a niche in the academic and performing world of Indian dance.

Radhika has a wide repertoire of well known and little known conventional Bharatanatyam compositions. She has uniformly attracted rave notices from distinguished dance critics, scholars, and connoisseurs of art.

Radhika’s marriage to the renowned musician Nandakumar opened a new chapter in her dance life. The Golden Lotus acquired the fragrance of Mysore Mallika. For, the hearts of this artist couple throb together in resonance and consonance, in creative inspiration and feedback. Their performances are vibrantly alive and replete with bhava and rasa.Endowed with a tall graceful body line, sustained by vigorous Yoga and dedicated dance practice, with confident and exquisite Rasabhinaya, Radhika has a commendable stage presence, which motivates her to accomplish effective and elevating dance expressions. Radhika is the founder of Brahmavidya ®, a Foundation for Indian Arts through which she endeavors to realize and achieve the true doctrines of Indian culture.

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