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     Vilasini Natyam..


Vilasini Natyam is the name given to the dance tradition of the temple dancers of Andhra Pradesh. These dancers were known as Kalavantulu. Unlike similar traditions that have evolved in other regions of the country, the ritual-specific (Gudi Seva), ceremonial-specific (Kacheri Ata) and dance operatic (Ata Bhagavatam) aspects of the temple dances form an integral part of the Vilasini Natyam repertoire. Apart from being a distinctive style, Vilasini Natyam is unique in that it retains the functional classification of the art practiced by these Kalavantulu, suitably adapted for modern-day stage presentation.

An exquisite form of expression shaped over centuries enriched by the artistic imagination of countless temple dancers, this dance tradition has been painstakingly researched and recast by Swapnasundari, who worked under the guidance of Maddula Lakshmi Narayana, who was an exponent of this tradition.

An active participant in the challenging artistic process, which led to the emergence of Vilasini Natyam, Sanjay has assisted in the recovery of this traditional dance-system, its documentation and adaptation to the present context. Sanjay is the first-ever Male Dancer to perform Agamic (ritual) dances within a temple along with the archakas during the worship at Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple, Rang-Bagh, Hyderabad and has helped restore these to the temple-forum. The first male performer of Vilasini Natyam, Sanjay is a significant link between this female-oriented dance tradition and its future male aspirants.


Sanjay is trained in all the three aspects of Vilasini Natyam.

1. Alaya Sampradaya (the temple tradition) which includes rituals connected to the worship in the temples in accordance with the aagama shastras.

2. Kacheyri Aata (the court tradition) which includes ‘Pallavies’, ‘Varnams’, ‘Padams’, ‘Javalis’, ‘Salam Daruvus’, ‘Keertaans’, etc. The Andhra Kalavantulus used to present elaborate abhinaya to ‘Padams’ and ‘Javalis’ in ‘Meyzuvani’ (i.e., in sitting posture) which is a chamber style of presentation.

Sanjay is specially trained in presentation of male ‘Padams and Javalis’.

3. Aata Bhagavatham (theatrical presentation) includes the ‘Parijatams’ (the story of Lord Krishna and his consort Satyabhama). This presentation used to be done for nine consecutive nights in nine “Janardhana Swamy Temples” in Andhra region. Therefore, it was also called as “Nava Janardhana Parijatam”.

Golla Kalapam or Golla Veysha Katha is a conversation between a milk-maid and a Brahmin. Sanjay is specially trained in the male characters, like Krishna Veysham, Brahmana Veysham and Sutradhara in operas, such as Parijatam and Golla Kalapam.

Major Performances of Vilasini Natyam

4 As a ‘First Male Dancer’ of Vilasini Natyam, he gave his first debut performance on August 7, 2006 at Ravindra Bharathi, Hyderabad.
4 Siddhartha Kala Peetham, Vijayawada, September 2006.
4 Millennium Festival in Chamba, Himichal Pradesh, 2006.
4 Three days Festival of Vilasini Natyam VILASINI-2006 organized by India International Centre (IIC) and Kuchipudi Dance Centre, New Delhi, October 2006.
4 Three Day Festival of Vilasini Natyam in Chennai, organized by Raghavan Centre for Performing Arts and Kuchipudi Dance Centre, New Delhi, 2007.
4 Book release function of Maha Kavi Sri Dasu Sreeramulu’s ‘Padams’ and ‘Javalis’, January 2008.
4 Railway Women’s Organization, Samastipur, January 2008.
4 Railway Women’s Organization, Asansole, January 2008.
4 Rajgir Mahotsav, 2008.
4 Abhinaya Sudha organized by Parampara Dance & Music Forum, Hyderabad, February 2008
4 Arts and Crafts Mela, Shilparamam, Hyderabad, December 2008.
4 Abhinaya Sudha organized by Parampara Dance & Music Forum, Hyderabad and Orissa Dance Academy Bhubaneshwar at Bhubaneshwar, April 2009.
4 His performances have been recorded by Central Doordarshan Archives and Doordarshan Kendra, Hyderabad.
Lecture-Demonstration and Paper Presentation
4 Chamber Style Abhinaya in Kathak and Vilasini Natyam at Parampara Dance & Music Forum, Hyderabad, December 02, 2006.
4 Chamber Style Abhinaya in Kathak and Vilasini Natyam at Kuchipudi Mahotsavam at Kuchipudi Gramam organized by Telugu University, Hyderabad, January 06, 2009.
4 Lecture and demonstration on Dance technique and Abhinaya in Vilasini Natyam at Nrutya Darpana Hyderabad, May 2009.
4 Lecture and demonstration on History and Evolution of Kathak Dance at Orientation Training Program for School Teachers from different states of India conducted by the Centre of Cultural Resources and Training Regional Centre, Hyderabad, on various occasions.