Parvathi Ravi Ghantasala – a leading proponent of Bharatanatyam , Director of Kala Pradarshini
Parvathi Ravi Ghantasala is a leading proponent of Bharatanatyam, which is a South Indian classical dance form that has its pedigrees deep rooted in Indian history. Parvathi’s profound understanding, ardent devotion and relentless practice of this intricate art form have earned her an exceptional name in the fraternity of performing arts. Her multi-faceted persona, comprising that of a vibrant Performer, a versatile Choreographer, a loving Teacher of Bharatanatyam and an enthusiastic Festival Director, make her one of the torchbearers, whose endeavor is to carry forward the dance legacy in the many years to come.
Parvathi’s tutelage under renowned Gurus Kalaimamani Smt. Krishnakumari Narendran, Padma Bhushan Smt. Kalanidhi Narayanan and Shri. Seetharama Sharma has tremendously helped her learn the nuances of the dance form. Having started learning dance at a tender age, the dance journey of this artiste spans over three decades. She debuted (Arangetram) in the year 1978 at Chennai, in the presence of the then Governor of Tamil Nadu Sri. Pabhudas Patwari and Justice Maharajan. Propelled by an unending quest for knowledge, Parvathi facilitates and participates in a number of workshops and is an avid learner too. She believes that there is always something new to learn about dance and that there are no frontiers to learning the subject.
This able dancer specializes in the Pandanallur style of Bharatanatyam and is a firm believer of the dance tradition. She endeavors to transmit the culture and values of the age-old art form to a wider audience supported by her selfless activities. Through her dance ballets, which are an intelligent synthesis of dance and music, she has been able to reach out to diverse groups of audience world over. She was a pioneer in effectively using multimedia in her productions as a medium to help viewers establish an association with the theme. Her thematic presentations articulate in a manner that has known to captivate audiences. It is but natural for her audiences to get involved in the performance since her rapt depictions handhold onlookers till the very end.
Music for several of her dance productions have been scored by distinguished musicians. She has had the privilege of performing both solo and group productions at prestigious dance festivals within the Indian subcontinent and abroad. While her group choreographies exude aesthetics of the art form, her solo performances exemplify grace and rich Abhinaya. All her major productions have been well acclaimed and critiqued by the press and the public. She has numerous awards and laurels to her credit.
This talented artiste is the daughter-in-law of the legendary singer and music director, late Padmashri Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao. She serves as the Honorary Secretary of ABHAI (Association of Bharatanatyam Artistes of India) and is also the Creative Director at her institution KalaPradarshini, Centre for Performing Arts and Cultural Activities. KalaPradarshini is highly commended and is respected for its immense contribution in promoting talent in its annual festivals, which feature both youngsters and a galaxy of eminent artistes.
Using Bharatnatyam as a medium to communicate the aesthetics of the art form, the journey of this talented danseuse has traversed the Indian subcontinent and across the globe. In Parvathi’s career spanning over three decades, her solo and group productions have been a regular feature at all the honored Sabhas (cultural organizations) in Chennai and at many other prominent venues. To name a few –
- The Music Academy
- Swarna Samaroh, Kalakshetra Foundation
- World Poets Conference
- International Dance Alliance Festival
- Bhramotsavam, Tirumala Tirupati Devastanam
- Limca Book of Records event, 1000 ABHAI dancers at Brahadeeshwarar Temple, Tanjore
- Mahabalipuram Government Arts Festival
- Chidambaram International Dance Festival
- Tamil Isai Sangam
- South Zone Cultural Centre
- Indian Council for Cultural Relations
- North Zone Amarnath Festival
- Nishagandhi Trivandrum
- UP Govt., Cultural Festival, Lucknow
- Telugu Academy Spirit of Unity
- World Tamil Conference, Tanjore
- International Geetha Conference, Mysore
- Soorya Festival
- Indo American Cultural and Religious Foundation Inc- Tour of USA and Canada
- La Federation Des Associations Indo, Martinique, French West Indies
- Special concert in the presence of the royal family of Malaysia
- Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan, London, UK
- World Tamil Conference, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Bharathi Kalai Mandram, Canada
- Kala Seva Bharati, Bharat Kalachar
- Governor of Tamil Nadu Sri. K. Rosiah presented the Eminent Telugu Personality Award Instituted by the Cosmopolitan Club
- Eminent Woman Achiever – Bharatanatyam (2011)’ by Rajalakshmi Engineering College
- Nritya Kala Shiromani, Nungambakkam Cultural Academy, Chennai
- Best Acharya Vipanchi Award from Vipanchi Cultural Academy
- Bhairavi award, Bhairavi Sabha
- Mahati award, Hyderabad
- Natya Nipuna, Lions Club
- Best Natyacharya Award from the Indian Fine Arts Society
- Natyarasi awarded by Vysakhi Nrityotsav, All India Classical Dance Festival, Vysag
- Natya Mayuri award from Chaitanya Samaika Bharathi, Hyderabad
- Natya Ilavarasi, Shanmugananda Sabha, Delhi
- Padma Sadhana, Padma Sarangapani Trust
- Vocational Excellence Award, Rotary Club of Chennai
- The prestigious “Kalaimamani” award from the Government of Tamil Nadu.
- Chosen as Best Dancer by the Sankarabaranam Trust
- “Parvathi believes that the arts are a source of great joy and must live on. In order to do so, the future generations need to be inducted into the arts and Parvathi is tirelessly advocating the cause through her dance institution KalaPradarshini.
- Parvathi’s choreography and presentation work
- Tyagaraja Bhakti Manjari: This beautiful presentation is woven around the evergreen compositions of saint Tyagaraja, which is in praise of Rama and Shiva.
- Ardhanari (music scored by Sri Rajkumar Bharathi): A multilingual musical dance production focuses on the equality of women and men in today’s culture. The presentation connects to our ancient script highlighting Lord Shiva and his divine Consort Goddess Parvathi are one and the same in the form of Ardhanari.
- Guest Choreographer – Heroines of Raja Ravi Verma, Apsara Arts, Singapore. The production made its debut performance at the Esplanade Theatre, Singapore.
- Annamaiyah (music scored by Sri L.Vaidyanathan): A major Telugu group production on the life and work of Sri. Annamaiyyah. This production was inaugurated in Tirupati Devastanam during the Brahmaotsavam festivities. This production has been staged over 300 times in forums in India and the Overseas.
- Utchi Thilagam (music scored by Sri L.Vaidyanathan): A Tamil ballet on Abhirami Andhadhi and Padhikam. Selected verses were sung by the eminent playback singer Padmashri K.J. Yesudas. More than 200 shows have been performed across India and overseas. This dance production was filmed by Doordarshan National and is being telecasted to a widespread audience even today.
- Ambalavananum Aranganum (music by Padmashri Kunnakudi R.Vaidyanathan): A major dance presentation that emphasises on the theme that Shivite and Vaishnavite are inseparable.
- Arul Adal (music by Padmashri Kunnakudi R.Vaidyanathan): Arul Adal brings to life the golden words of Vallalaar’s magnum opus Thiruvarutpa, highlighting the principles that formed the foundation of Samsara Sudha Sanmarga (Universal Religion).
- Gana Gandharva Ghantasala: A multilingual musical and dance tribute to the Music Legend Padmashri Sri. Ghantasala Venkateshwar Rao, feat was performed by more than 100 dancers.
- Aimperum Kappiyam (music by Sri A.Gajendran): A very unique Tamil dance presentation of all the five great Tamil epics brought together through the medium of dance. This presentation is a compilation of selected verses from these epics woven together in a classical dance form.
- Krsna Madhuryam (music by Sri L.Vaidyanathan and Sri Hari Prasad): Presented a multilingual multimedia production. This presentation travels the life of Sri Krsna – from his childhood to the Bhagawadgita – with animation, multimedia and expressive choreography.
- Penmai Chudar (music scored by Sri Hari Prasad and Sri Venkatasubramanian): A Tamil dance production, which is a tribute to the extraordinary historic/mythical women displaying outstanding qualities.
- Samarpanam: A sequel of the 2008 Gana Gandharva Ghantasala, a multilingual musical and dance tribute to the Music Legend Padmashri Sri. Ghantasala Venkateshwar Rao. This production is a confluence of various dance forms of India.
- Choreographed ‘Mahishasuramardhini’ for the occasion of Bhagawan Sri Satya Sai Baba’s 85th Birthday celebrations in Puttaparthi – graced by Sri Satya Sai Baba, Smt. Prathibha Patil, former Indian President, Sri Shivraj Patil, the Governor of Punjab and thousands of Baba devotees.
- Choreographed a performance for the occasion of International Women’s Day celebrated at Puttaparthi. Parvathi’s group was the sole contingent representing India at the International Event.
- Choreographed various performances for 200 students of the Sathangai Narthanalayam Indian Classical Dance Academy, Toronto, Canada.
- Tharana Thillana: A unique dance fusion concert of Bharathnatyam and Kathak.
- Ramakatha Manjari: A multilingual production based on the life of Lord Shri Rama.
- Ganga Lahari: A beautiful 40 minute multilingual dance documentary on the Holy River Ganga. This beautiful compilation portrays some myths that are synonymous to the river.
- Maharaja Swathi Thirunal: A thematic dance presentation woven with his compositions.
- Shri Mahavir Bhagwan: A dance production based on the life of Shri Mahavir Bhagwan.
- Thirumoolar Thirumandhiram: A Tamil production based on Shaiva Siddhanta.
- Subramania Bharathiyar: A dance production based on the compositions of poet Mahakavi Bharathiyar.
Kalapradarshini – Director
Since 1998, Parvathi has been donning the role of a Festival Director of the cultural wing of her institution – KalaPradarshini, Centre for Performing Arts and Cultural Activities. In an effort to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of the age-old art form, each year, Parvathi organizes an annual week-long dance festival, which is an integral part of her institution. This festival aims at bringing various art forms to a wider sphere of audience by showcasing the potential of talented youngsters and a galaxy of eminent international and national artistes.KalaPradarshini is one of Chennai’s premier organizations and for nearly two decades now, the focus of the dance festival has been to provide a platform to a diverse set of artistes to present the Panchratna Kirtanas (a tribute to the prolific composer Saint Tyagaraja) and to pay tribute to Padmashri Ghantasala Venkateshwara Rao. It has been Parvathi’s persistent dream and mission to provide enthusiastic artistes with a prestigious platform to showcase their talents and promulgate the cultural repertoire of India.
Parvathi is the founder of the Dance Institution KalaPradarshini in Chennai. KalaPradarshini, (Centre for Performing Arts and Cultural Activities) is an Institution imparting knowledge in the field of Bharatanatyam in Chennai. It has been in existence since 1980. The institution was formally inaugurated in 1998. Having learnt the art form from an early age, Parvathi has inherited the ability to effortlessly mould a child into an able performer. Parvathi imparts knowledge in Bharatanatyam – practical and theoretical.
Highlights of the Academy:
Parvathi has inducted several students to the professional stage who have performed at numerous prestigious organizations, have won awards and Scholarships from CCRT and are graded artistes of the Doordarshan, All India Radio. The Dance Academy has over 100 students on its rolls and conducts classes and annual grading examination through the year in Bharatanatyam and allied subjects.
Parvathi Ravi Ghantsala is the Daughter-in-law of Padmashree Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao. As a tribute to the legend, Parvathi choreographed ‘Gana Gandharva Ghantasala,’ and ‘Gana Gandharva Samarpanam.’
‘Gana Gandharva Ghantasala’ has been presented in various forums, premiering in Music Academy, along with 100 students of KalaPradarshini. The event was presided over by V.A.K Ranga Rao and S.Janaki, who exclaimed, “This production has taken me back memory lane. It is one of the best productions to bring out the true essence of his compositions. Parvathi has done a tremendous job in stringing together each of these gems and giving it her artistic touch, in order to bring out a wholesome and truly enjoyable show. I’m sure that this thematic presentation that has given visual form to his evergreen songs will be a treat to his fans, not just musically, but also visually.”
‘Gana Gandharva Samarpanam’ consists of songs of Padmashree Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao, carefully chosen in order to suit different Indian art forms, namely – Parvathi Ravi Ghantasala (Bharatanatyam), Gopika Varma (Mohiniyattam), Deepika Reddy (Kuchipudi), Mangala Bhat (Kathak), Sri Haripadmam (Kathakali) and Parvathi Dutta/ Sangeetha Dash(Odissi). It was presented in various places in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and has been presided over by several eminent personalities like Chief Justice of Kerala, Smt.Manjulla Chellur, Dr. Pappu Venugopal Rao, Kalaimamani P.B. Sreenivas, Kalaimamani Sachu, Padmashri P. Susheela and the Governor of Tamil Nadu, Dr. K.Rosaiah who said, “I would like to laude Parvathi for her impeccable song selection. The mood of each song was spot on and blended with the dance form.” This production, which has received excellent reviews from various leading publications, has also received repeat requests for sequel by audiences in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
Gana Gandharva Padmashree Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao:- The legend of legends created history in the South Indian film industry during 1950s and 1960s. Joining the Quit India movement, Ghantasala donned the hat of a freedom fighter and that of a music artiste. He was not just an exceptional singer, but also a composer and music director. He sang over 20,000 songs which included devotional songs, romantic songs and songs of satire, enthralling large audiences in the process. He added life to the character, thus adding a new historic dimension to it.