SSCD - Sreejaya School of Classical Dance
"For us dance is passion and a celebration of varied emotions."
Artistic Director: Sreejaya
Dance is a beautiful art form comprising of rhythm, movement, energy and engagement of space. It is used as a form of expression, communication, social interaction and is presented in a spiritual or performance setting. Sreejaya is a highly talented Dancer with extensive experience and remarkable background in a variety of classical dance forms: Bharatnatyam, Mohiniattam and Kuchipudi. She founded SSCD - Sreejaya’s School of Classical Dance in October 2004. The school has been running successfully for the past 11 years and has grown to become a major classical dance institute in Bangalore, India. Students come from diverse backgrounds to learn the Indian classical dance form - Bharatnatyam in its traditional form. The foundation stone of SSCD - Sreejaya’s School of Classical Dance, the Artistic Director, Sreejaya is the main reason why the school has grown into such proportions.
Bharatnatyam originated in Tamil Nadu and the word Bharatnatyam is derived from the word "Bharata" and thus associated with the Natyashastra. Though the style of Bharatnatyam is over two thousand years old, the freshness and richness of its essence has been retained even today. The technique of human movement which Bharatnatyam follows can be traced back to the fifth Century A.D. from sculptural evidence. This classical dance has a mesmerizing effect as it uplifts the dancer and the beholder to a higher level of spiritual consciousness. It is a dancing style that comprises of Bhava, Raga, Tala, and Natya which reflect the real meaning of Bharatnatyam.
The origin and tradition of Bharatnatyam is appealing and enlightening. This dance form was nurtured in the temple by the Devadasis, servants of the God. It was taken to the princely courts and the Chola and the Pallava kings were believed to be the great patrons of this art. The contributions of the South Indian saint-poets and musicians cannot be ignored. Bhakti or devotional cult was infused into the tradition by these poets. The literary content of Bharatnatyam was provided by them and their musical compositions determined the repertoire of this dance form.
The solo or the sadir nritya is the direct descendant of this tradition. Besides the rich history of Bharatnatyam, another mythological tale is also attached to the origin of this dance. It is believed that Goddess Parvati taught this dance form to Usha, daughter of Banasura, a demon. Usha taught the same to the Gopikas of the city of Dwaraka, birth place of Lord Krishna. This is how the spiritual dance form Bharatnatyam was introduced to mankind.
Mohiniattam is a traditional South Indian dance from Kerala. The credit for reviving the Mohiniattam dance in the nineteenth century goes to the Tamil nattuvanar (dance master) Vadivelu, one of the Thanjavur Quartet and Swathi Thirunal. He was an enlightened ruler of Travancore (Southern Kerala) and promoted the study of Mohiniattam. Swati Tirunal composed many of the music arrangements and vocal accompaniments that provide musical background for the Mohiniattam dancers. The noted Malayalam poet Vallathol, who established the Kerala Kalamandalam dance school in 1930, played an important role in reviving the Mohiniattam dance form.
It is one of the eight Indian classical dance forms. It is considered a very graceful dance meant to be performed as a solo recital by women. The term Mohiniattam comes from the words "Mohini" meaning a woman who enchants onlookers and "aattam" meaning graceful and sensuous body movements. The word "Mohiniattam" literally means "dance of the enchantress". There are two stories of the Lord Vishnu disguised as a Mohini. In one, he appears as Mohini to lure the asuras (demons) away from the amrita (nectar of immortality) obtained during the churning of the palazhi or Ocean of Milk.
In the second story Vishnu appears as Mohini to save Lord Shiva from the demon Bhasmasura. The name Mohiniattam may have been coined after Lord Vishnu; the main theme of the dance is love and devotion to God, with usually Vishnu or Krishna being the hero. Devadasis used to perform this in temples. It also has elements of Koothu and Kottiyattom. Mohiniattam is a drama in dance and verse.The dance involves the swaying of broad hips and the gentle movements of erect posture from side to side. This is reminiscent of the swinging of the palm leaves and the gently flowing rivers which abound Kerala, the land of Mohiniattam.
Kuchipudi is a Classical Indian dance form from Andhra Pradesh, India. It is also popular all over South India. Kuchipudi is the name of a village in the Divi Taluka of Krishna district that borders the Bay of Bengal and with resident Brahmins practicing this traditional dance form, it acquired the present name. The performance usually begins with some stage rites, after which each of the character comes on to the stage and introduces him/herself with a dharavu (a small composition of both song and dance) to introduce the identity, set the mood, of the character in the drama. It originated in the seventh century.
The songs in Kuchipudi are mimed with alluring expressions, swift looks and fleeting emotions evoking the rasa. In Tarangam at times she places a pot full of water on her head and dances on the brass plate. The song accompanying this number is from the well known Krishna Leela Tarangini, a text which recounts the life and events of Lord Krishna.
In expressional numbers a dancer sometimes chooses to enact the role of Satyabhama, the proud and self-assured queen of Lord Krishna, from the dance-drama Bhama Kalapam. She goes through various stages of love. When in separation from Lord Krishna, she recalls the happy days of union and pines for him. At last they are reunited when she sends him a letter. One more number from the Kuchipudi repertoire that deserves mention is Krishna Shabdam, in which a milkmaid invites Krishna for a rendezvous in myriads of ways giving full scope for the dancer to display the charms of a woman.
A highly talented Indian Classical Dancer, Sreejaya is famed as one of the popular Malayalam Film / T.V. Actresses. A competent performer, teacher and choreographer, she heads her own Dance Institution - SSCD [Sreejaya's School Of Classical Dance], at Bangalore, India since 2004.
Sreejaya’s association with dance began early at the tender age of four from her own aunt, Smt.Kalamandalam Sumathi, a great dancer herself. Under the excellent tutelage of Smt.Kalamandalam Sumathi for about 10 years, Sreejaya was moulded into a fine exponent of Bharatanatyam.
Subsequently, Sreejaya enrolled for the Diploma in Dance at Kerala Kalamandalam, a Kerala Government recognized Centre for Performing arts and graduated with outstanding results. This training at Kalamandalam has further strengthened her exposure in the performing arts as she was also trained in Mohiniattam and Kuchipudi. She was awarded the ‘Balakrishna Kurup’ Award and the ‘Sathyabhama Award’ while undergoing the training at Kerala Kalamandalam. Sreejaya has also received the ‘Kalaimagal’ Award from Kalaimagal Sabha. In January 2010 she was selected and awarded the “Natyarangam” certificate for participating in the Natya Sangraham - a 3 day workshop in classical dance at Thennangur, Chennai.
Motivation and Guidance
Sreejaya is now under the motivation and guidance of her present Guru Smt. Chitra Chandrasekhar Dasarathy whose artistic life over the past three decades includes dancing, teaching, choreography and research. Born to Smt.Jaya and Prof. C.V.Chandrasekhar, Smt. Chitra holds Masters Degrees in Sanskrit and Dance. She has been teaching for many years in India and abroad. She is widely travelled and continues to perform all over the world. Sreejaya is well versed with the Kalamandalam and Kalakshethra styles of Bharatnatyam and is currently following the Kalakshethra style.
Malayalam Film & TV Industry
Sreejaya got her first break in Malayalam films while she was at Kerala Kalamandalam. She has acted in quite a number of movies under leading Directors and with superstars of Malayalam cinema today, like Mammootty, Mohanlal, Suresh Gopi, Jayaram etc. Sreejaya has also acted in many T.V. serials. As part of her sojourn in the Malayalam Film Industry, she has toured all over the world and performed in many stage programs in U.S.A., U.K., Switzerland, Bahrain and U.A. E., for both cinematic and classical performances.
Overseas Canadian Venture
Sreejaya moved to Canada temporarily between May 2011 and March 2012 to set up a very Professional South Indian Classical Dance Institution in Mississauga and is now back in Bangalore permanently to continue serving the Indian Classical Dance enthusiasts through her dance school SSCD, which caters to all communities. Kalamandalam Sreejaya through SSCD continues to increase the awareness of South Indian classical dance among people from diverse cultures and traditions.