Rotary Club of Madras East in association with Saraswathi Vidyalaya Senior Secondary School presents Dronacharya Award 2021, to Gramiya Kalaimani, Kannan Kumar, Folk Artist – Deverattam Dance Form in the presence of Guru Lakshmi Viswanathan, Dancer, Author & Choreographer.
The Rotary Club of Madras East instituted the Dronacharya award in 2008, to recognize exemplary teachers, who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to strive for excellence in teaching. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to recognize the service of the Gurus who enlighten and enrich the lives of the youth of this country. There are also those who Mentor and guide people of all ages to excel in their chosen work and contribute to society.
The award is aptly named after “Drona” or Dronacharya from the epic Mahābhārata, who was the royal guru to Kauravas and Pandavas. He was a master of advanced military arts, including the Devāstras. Arjuna being his favorite student. Over the last 10 years, we have had the pleasure and honor of recognizing the contribution of such teachers par excellence.
The Awardee for this year is Kannan Kumar, A Gramiya Kalaimani, Folk Artist – Devarattam Dance Form. Coming from the lineage of Kalaikkottu Maamuni and the dynasty of Veerapandya Katta Bomman, this Telugu-speaking clan of Kambalatthu Naickers, has brought to the people, the art that was customarily performed when kings returned from victorious battles as well as during the auspicious temple festivities.
Sri Kannan Kumar has come with such a rich heritage. Right from his adolescent age, he has watched the elders in his native village of Kodangipatti perform this art and naturally picked up the nuances by simply observing them.
“Even before a child learns to walk, it learns to dance to this music and art. Teaching happens in schools whereas, learning by oneself is the art of Devarattam,” Said Kannan Kumar
- From Kodangi village to the capital city of Delhi, he popularised the art of DEVARATTAM.
- From Koothu pattarais to many theatrical stages, he took the nuances of the art to be relished by people at all levels.
- From ancient art to the classical Bharatanatyam, he affirmed the impact that Devarattam had on these forms of art.
- The Tamil Nadu Government recognised his services to this art and conferred on him the title of ‘ Graameeya Kalaimamani ‘.
- More than 100,000 students have been tutored by him and they continue to revel in this art form.
- That the art of DEVARATTAM goes beyond language barriers and by the rhythmic beat, it can even control the five senses, is the clear pronouncement by Sri Kannan Kumar to the world.
Chief Guest is Bharatanatyam Exponent, Guru Lakshmi Viswanathan is a rare artist. She is a dancer, choreographer, musician, scholar, author, and aesthete. She has recently been a Tagore Fellow, a prestigious award for research endowed by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. The Thanjavur heritage of Bharatanatyam has been her project, under the aegis of the Kalakshetra Foundation, Chennai. Currently, she is editor of the Kalakshetra Journal which was founded by Rukmini Devi Arundale.
This award is sponsored by Saraswathi Vidyalaya Senior Secondary School and they have sponsored this event year on year. Aanmajothi, the Cultural Wing of Saraswathi Vidyalaya also supports folk and indigenous arts and artists by enabling events in Public Spaces such as Parks and Metro Stations.