Wednesday 11 August 2021

Profile - Chandrabhaga Devi: Truly a Shakti of Maha Maya - Jyothi Raghuram

August 11 is the birth centenary of UK Chandrabhaga Devi, the earliest woman proponent of Bharatanatyam in Karnataka. A commendable, pioneering leap, if one goes back to the early Forties. Her bold, giant step opened the floodgates for dance to be pursued by young girls from respectable families. One pays obeisance to this quiet and dignified Guru, whose steely resolve to step into the dance world was foundational for some of the finest dancers to emerge from Karnataka.

She fell in love with the flamboyant U S Krishna Rao, an academic and passionate dancer, and tied the knot to become the first dance couple in the State. The glamour quotient of classical dance,  particularly Bharatanatyam with its rich costuming and familiarity in the South, remains a status and culture symbol; some dance classes resemble the functioning of corporate houses, churning out dancers in batches. Classical dance is a celebrated art to pursue, looked upon with admiration, with promising career opportunities. What a distance it has traversed from the devadasi days to present times!

Reason enough to deify Chandrabhaga Devi.

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