The centenarian’s birthday celebrations were held last year with fanfare by the dance fraternity
Veteran Bharatanatyam dancer, guru and founder of Hyderabad-based Sri Rama Nataka Niketan, V.S. Ramamoorthy passed away at the age of 100 in Hyderabad on Friday.
Born on September 20, 1920, in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu, Ramamoorthy moved to Secunderabad in 1969 and made the twin cities his home.
After completing his diploma in electro-technical engineering, Ramamoorthy moved to the erstwhile Calcutta and then to Bangalore to join Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, as a sub-divisional officer. In 1942, he joined Military Engineering Services (MES) and was posted in Madras.
It was Bharatanatyam though that he was most inclined to and became the first male student of the then eminent guru Dandayudhapani Pillai. He gave his Arangetram at Rasika Ranjani Sabha in Madras on Independence Day, at the age of 27.
Ramamoorthy was drawn to dance initially by the tradition of ‘Kathakalakshepam’ and narratives from the Ramayana and Bhagavatam. His portrayal of Sivakami, Kundavi in Parthiban Kanavu, Anarkali, Sita, Kaikeyi, Kousalya, Thilakavathy and many historical female characters in dramas enhanced his acting prowess. Going beyond Bharatanatyam, Ramamoorthy trained himself in Kurathi dance — a folk tradition of Tamil Nadu.
What started as Sri Devi Nritya Niketan to teach dance to children in Mylapore area in Madras, continued as Sri Rama Nataka Niketan in Hyderabad when Ramamoorthy had to move on a job transfer.
Under the guidance of his daughter Manjula Ramaswamy, the institute had won accolades and wide acclaim for its pure and traditional art form. Till his last, Ramamoorthy was actively involved in his students’ performances and used to take pride in their achievements at various platforms.
A few months ago the classical dance fraternity was abuzz with activity celebrating Ramamoorthy’s centenary year.