P Ramadevi with her mother Meenakshiamma
P Ramadevi with her mother Meenakshiamma

Kuchipudi dance Guru P Ramadevi had introduced ‘Meenakshiamma Award of Excellence’ in her mother’s name to honour and confer a senior Guru with reward of Rs 15000. This is the fifth year and on July 5 the award will be presented to senior-most of Kuchipudi Gurus Pasumarthy Rathayya Sarma at Ravindra Bharathi at 6.30pm.  

Ramadevi shares, “I am considered as a dancer, author, scholar, kind, caring, beautiful woman, and I owe it all to my mother Meenakshiamma. From the time I was five years old, she used to push me, force me, punish me to learn this divine art of dance, when I would come up with excuses to escape attending dance classes. At the age of 15 I started understanding the beauty of this art and loving my dance classes. 

But, by then my family began to refrain me from going to learn dance. It was a battle for I and my mother to continue till 17. After marriage it was my husband who encouraged my interest and allowed me to pursue it. I was blessed to get wonderful gurus who moulded me as what I am today as a dancer. It may be because of my mother's prayers for sure.”

Speaking about her mother, she recollects, “Her eyes were shining with pride when I wrote my first book and dedicated to her. Whenever I was in limelight, she would feel as if she was honoured. Since childhood whenever I performed my eyes used to search for her as I entered the stage. When I found her, I would be at ease; then I used to forget this world and started to dance and put my soul into it. Suddenly she left this world, and me. I thought what I could do for her.”

She adds, “She used to love and respect dance gurus a lot. Hence, I decided I will introduce an award in her name and honour a senior-most guru on the day she brought me into this world. For the last five years I am celebrating my birthday dancing for her, doing what my mother likes. I am very happy and emotional to do the whole thing.”

Senior Kuchipudi dance exponent P ramadevi established her institution Sri Sai Nataraja Academy of Kuchipudi dance in 1998, and for 28 years she has been training students. She has written 6 books on dance and has choreographed 28 ballets, 8 of which were penned by her. She is the recipient Kerala Sangeeta Natak Academy’s Kalasree Award. 

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