Bharatanatyam Dancer, Wisconsin, United States
Sulakshana Jayaram is regarded as amongst the foremost young exponents of Bharatanatyam. She is acclaimed for her compelling dynamism in technique, charismatic stage presence and an emotive throb that marks her dance. Impeccable precision in footwork and angashuddham, flawless execution of adavus and a deeply internalized absorbed rendition of various bhavas and sancharis performed with rare skill, blend with harmonious synchrony into perfect unison in her dance.
Following an exemplary series of concerts in Chennai for the 2011-2012 dance season, she was conferred the 2012 "Natya Bhairavi" Award from the Sri Bhairavi Gana Sabha. She also received the 2012 Best Dancer Award from the Parthasarathy Swami Sabha.
Sulakshana is an accredited 'A' grade artist with Doordarshan, India and is an empanelled artist with the India Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). She has been presented by premier Sabhas at most major Dance Festivals in India. She has also performed internationally in the USA and Germany. She represented India as a cultural ambassador in Germany for an ICCR sponsored performance tour, under the aegis of the Indo-German Society (DIG) in November 2006. That art does indeed transcend all barriers was proven in her brilliant performances which were highly appreciated and received with standing ovations.
"A star is born, Ethereal, Pure joy to behold, Flawless execution .. Scintillating .. Connoisseurs' delight, Mesmerizing, Born to dance, inherent sense of laya and tala, Enthralling, Picture of perfection and composure...Impeccable, Evocative, Natural flair for abhinaya" are some epithets used by critics to describe her dance.
An art connoisseur writes - "The lines of the dance etched by her limbs (angashuddham) were matched by her undoubted talent and palpable commitment which shone through. Incidentally, 'Sulakshana' means one with beautifully defined features, when this is matched by the finesse of her dance it is truly an elevating experience."
In the words of a German Rasika "What a wonderful world! What a wonderful Dance! My English-I am Sorry, it is gone at the moment. But I feel like a millionaire..."
Her foray into the world of Bharatanatyam was at the tender age of five under the guidance of Guru Smt. Sushila of Kalamandalam, Kerala. Thereafter, she trained in the Pandanallur style of Bharatanatyam under the tutelage of Gurus Shri Pandanallur Sreenivasa Pillai and Smt. Indira Rajan. For a brief period she trained with Guru Bhagavatalu Shri Seetarama Sharma to learn the intricacies of the Nattuvangam or the art of wielding cymbals. She has also trained with Guru Smt. Jayanti Subramanian and honed her skills in the art of Abhinaya.
Sulakshana also trained in Carnatic vocal music from Guru Shri Rajagopalan. Sulakshana's mother Smt. Shanta Jayaram, a trained Hindustani classical vocalist, played a pivotal role in helping shape Sulakshana's aesthetic sensibilities and ideal on the inextricable unity that poetry and music share with dance.
She has had the rare privilege and blessing of being invited by His Holiness Swami Sidda Bodda Nanda, after he witnessed her dance recital at the Thanjavur Brihadeeshwara temple organized as part of the South zone cultural festival, to perform at the ashram of His Holiness Shri Poojya Swami Dayanand Saraswati at Annaikati, Coimbatore. Swami Shri Dayanand Saraswati blessed the artist saying "...She is a gifted person and also highly committed to classicism. Many talented people do not find the art absorbing due to lack of commitment. There are a lot of committed people who do not have the natural gift of talent. Sulakshana has the commitment to her art and also has the gift of talent in abundance. I feel she is going to be not just a beneficiary but a contributor to her art..."
She had her debut stage performance or 'Arangetram' on the 15th of September 1989 in the blessed presence of Smt. M. S. Subbulakshmi and Shri Sadasivam. She has since given over 200 solo performances presenting her art form in the premier Dance festivals in India and abroad, that include performances under the aegis of:
• Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Indo-German Society (DIG) Tour (Germany)
• Vedic Heritage (New Jersey)
• Dhrishti (Chicago)
• India Habitat Center (Delhi)
• Alliance Francaise and Chinmaya Center (Delhi)
• Nritya Sandhya for the "Alladia Nritya Samaroh", Bharat Bhavan (Bhopal)
• Tamil Sangam (Delhi)
• Natyanjali Festival (Chidambaram)
• South Zone cultural festival (Thanjavur)
• Mamallapuram dance festival (Chennai)
• Nishagandhi dance festival (Trivandrum)
• International Dance Alliance (IDA) (Chennai)
• Krishnagana Sabha (Chennai)
• Karthik fine arts (Chennai)
• Parthasarathy Swami Sabha (Chennai)
• Mylapore fine arts (Chennai)
• Nungambakkam cultural academy (Chennai)
• Brahmagana Sabha (Chennai)
• Narayana Theertha festival (Thirupoonthuruti)
• Annual Rose festival (Ootacamund)
• "Sarigamapadani" Sabha (Coimbatore)
• TVG's Vidya Peetam, Academy of Indian Music and Arts (AIMA) (Chennai)
• International Dance Alliance (IDA) Festival (Chennai)
Her recent group choreographic works include "Shivoham" based on the Nirvana Shatakam by Adi Shankaracharya, and "Kaikeyi's Lament - Not unheard" an original interpretation, both of which were premiered at the prestigious IDA festival (Chennai) in the years 2009 and 2011 respectively.
She has conducted Bharatanatyam workshops in Milwaukee, USA and given lecture demonstrations to visiting students of the University of Winchester, UK on invitation from the Loyola College, Chennai.
While adhering to the classicism of the Pandanallur tradition of dance, Sulakshana's exploration and discovery of this medium of art is replete with constant inquiry and experimentation. Her constant endeavor has been to delve into the great depths of this majestic art form and contribute in its propagation with utmost devotion and passion.
In Sulakshana's own words - Each time I dance, I celebrate the incandescent beauty, joy and majesty of this rich art form with fervor, passion and a deep sense of devotion, and I find many moments of tranquility and ecstasy.
Legends and Luminaries on her dance:
“Her (Sulakshana's) soulful rendition of the meera bhajan brought back memories of Smt.M.S Subbulakshmi's vocal rendition of the same for the U.N Session”
- R. Venkatraman, Hon'ble Ex-President of India
Her perfection is noteworthy She is a gifted person and also highly committed to classicism. Many talented people do not find the art absorbing due to lack of commitment. There are a lot of committed people who do no have the natural gift of talent. Sulakshana has the commitment to her art and also has the gift of talent in abundance. I feel she is going to be not just a beneficiary but a contributor to her art...'
- His Holiness Swami Dayanand Saraswati
"Sulakshana Jayaram was a pick of the dancers.Her beautiful dance lines with excelent laya command ,reinforced by highly internalised abhinaya capacities.The amplitude of the aalidha or pratyaalidha leg stretch and clearly defined araimandi made even the 'Natesa Kauthuvam' at the start assume a larger dimension.The Varnam saw the smitten nayika and the splendour of the 'neelakantha highlighted with rare skill and emotive throb..."
"A star is born"... A bright star has appeared in the Bharatanatyam arena in the person of Sulakshana Jayaram If at all proof was needed it was there in abundant measure in the Ragamalika varnam …the manner in which she went through this piece revealed her immense potentiality. The five rounds of jathis that she executed with poise, precision, polish and ease endeared her to the audience and she got a well deserved applause for the round of jathis. She presented Swati Thirunal's compositons in Hamsanandi which described the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva. The sculpturesque poses she struck of the dancing lord were a joy to behold.
- The Statesman
There was Sulakshana Jayaram leaving an imprint in her first foray to Delhi. Most certainly a dancer to watch...very statuesque movements....
Sulakshana Jayaram of Chennai captivated the Tiruchi audience with a graceful performance ... each item was distinct in treatment and brought the artiste's creativity and brilliance to the fore. The piece de resistance was the varnam in Raagamalika a composition of the Tanjore Quartet in praise of Lord Shiva. The vivid and varied execution of sancharibhavas brought out the ability of the artiste to exhibit the emotions with artistic embellishments. Her mastery over laya in the rendering of the intricate jathis received the audience's praise. Sulakshana displayed her forte in interpretation of emotions and her depth of her philosophical understanding emrged in Nadanar's 'Varugalaamo'..."
- The Hindu, 2001
Dancer with a fine blend of talent and poise. Her passion for Bharatanatyam was evident and she shone with self confidence. An arresting stage presence...Sulakshana was most evocative in the Gitopadesha. Arjuna's initial confusion on the battle field and his subsequent understanding of the situation were handled with sensitivity and depth.
- The Hindu, 2004
Sulakshana proved her mettle with Sivakamasundari, Jaganmohini. The piece had an ethereal quality to it...
- The Hindu, 2002
Sulakshana Jayaram gave an outstanding Bharatnatyam recital. Her traditional nritta and bhava, both were simply mesmerizing... She has a very charming stage presence.
- Journal of Vedic Heritage (New York), Jan-Feb 2004 Vol VII
Legends and Luminaries on Her dance
Rarely in the recent past have I come across a youngster of such talent. The clean lines of the dance etched by her limbs (angasuddha) was matched by her undoubted talent and commitment, which shone through. Incidentally, Sulakshana means "One with beautifully defined features". When this is matched by the finesse of her dance, it is truly an elevating experience.
- M.Varadharajan IAS, Former Secy. of Culture, Govt of India
"I have had the pleasure of watching Kumari Sulakshana jayaram perform and bloom into a very fine dancer. She is extremely talented with a deep sense of commitment, excellent laya and grace, poise and a very charming stage presence. Her skills are beautifully honed and her command over the dance form is noteworthy ... She is so beautiful. So meticulous, so much peace in her dance".
- Smt.Alarmel Valli , Bharatanatyam Exponent
Rendition of the varnam gave ample proof of command over rhythm and movement. Sulakshana's dance radiates serenity ...
- The Hindu
1661 N Water Street,
MiLegends and Luminaries on Her dance
Her beautiful rhythmic movements to the tunes simply enthralled the audience.For one so young she exhibits remarkable empathy in abhinaya and brings out the true spirit and meaning of the sahitya.There is no doubt that she will scale astounding heights in the field of Bharatnatyam in a short time...'
- Vice president, Narada Gana Sabha, Karur(1991)
Sulakshana is simply born to dance...
Young Sulakshana jayaram gave a beautiful recital... Her movements are significantly very graceful. She strikes aesthetic poses with poise and utmost ease. The footwork in the Varnam was sharply etched and executed with the tingle of the salangai chiming with perfect resonsance to the rhythm... she portrayed a plethora of emotions in the padam 'mathura nagarilo' which were a delight to watch.
The New Indian express, 2004
"She steps to conquer" ... The quest for flawless execution. That is what drives Sulakshana Jayaram. The audience was engrossed in watching the graceful danseuse performing Krishna nee begane baaro, a composition of saint poet Kannadasa. As she moved to the front of the stage with deft suppleness of her wrists in Padavarnam Sulakshana had cast a fishing net...The beauty of dance is that it has the power to have and hold an audience's interest. Thats what Sulakshana Jayaram did. With a challenging glint in her eyes and with refined movements of hands and feet she elegantly portrayed everyone of the items she chose for the evening.
The Indian express , 1998
"Scintillating bharatnatyam recital ... young Sulakshana was a picture of perfection and composure. Her dance was marked by impeccable precision in footwork, graceful body language and empathy in Abhinaya. The varnam in Navaraagamalika was the main item and stood out as a connoisseurs's delight"
The Indian express, 1998
... her "angasuddam" was immaculate as seen in "Aadi kondar" portraying the dancing Lord. As usual, Sulakshana has left an indelible impression in her portrayal of the varnam "Swami nee rammannave".
- Sarigamapadhani, March 2002
Sulakshana has an inherent sense of laya and tala... She seems to have a good grounding in music and her footwork was impeccable. The varnam saw internalized abhinaya and imaginative korvai choreography. Nritta hastas, Karanas and sweeping movements were executed with ease... Myriad poses and adavus were done with aplomb.
- The Hindu, 2000
Natural flair for abhinaya... Sulakshana's depiction of the lord as the very embodiment of the Panchaboota and sanchari for sada neevu revealed a successful attempt at sustaining the basic mood of this grand composition. She seemed absorbed in her effort and extended a touch of immense maturity in the depiction
- The Hindu, 1998
The jathis came out like hot pellets in a "steel mill". Sanchari bhavas flashed through those piercing eyes.
- The Indian Express, 1992
... self assured execution of her various dance numbers made the program almost flawless.
- The Hindu, 1991
A propotional blend of adavus and karnas reigned...It was striking to see this young dancer enjoying every bit of the art while she performed it. This significant quality is sure to help her to the pedestal...The depiction of the sculptural poses of the goddess in 'Sivagamasundari' was beautiful. The sense of timing in rendering the jathis was stunning. Her thillana made this rasika wonder at her inate aesthetic instinct and quality conciousness.
- News Today (1991)
Sulakshana creates an enticing atmosphere with her recital. Her portrayal of the "Kanditha nayaki" in the Javali "Nee matale mayamura" was immensely applauded by the audience.
- Gyan Bhushan, 2002
Shivoham School Of Dance
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