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DEVAYANI Biography

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DEVAYANI Biography

  1. 1. DEVAYANI Devayani is a foremost exponent of the Classical Indian Dance style Bharata Natyam. This celebrated French artist has performed in all parts of India in renowned Cultural Centres & Festivals and in the most prestigious Festivals and Concert Halls including in UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, the Scandinavian countries, Estonia, Korea, etc. Her outstanding performances overseas have significantly contributed to the internationalisation of Bharata Natyam in its pristine form and glory. Devayani is an empanelled artist with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Govt. of India. Devayani is a pioneer and trendsetter in many ways. On the 60th India’s Republic Day of January 26.2009 Devayani was awarded by the President of India the PADMA SRI Award which is one of the highest civilian President of India awards given to the most distinguished persons in recognition of their outstanding services & achievements. The Padma Awards Presentation Ceremony was held at Rashtrapati Bhawan, the Indian Presidential Palace on April 14.2009. DEVAYANI is the first French Classical Dancer and Foreign artist to have made it to this elite list in India in Bharata Natyam. Other prestigious awards conferred on Devayani include: The IMM Top Cultural Ambassador Award for Excellence 2004. The National Women Excellence Award from WIN 2008 (Women in Cultural Tradition & Art Promotion Award). International Yog Confederation of India Award 2009 (for her contribution in the field of Culture) Devayani was given a full page coverage in the TIME & NEWSWEEK magazines, issues of 29 Dec, 2008 to Jan 5, 2009 amongst 70 International magazines for the ‘Incredible India ‘campaign of the Government of India titled ” Real People”. She is the only Indian Dance Artist who has made it to the top international magazines. A 20 feet hoarding with her Bharata Natyam pose against the backdrop of Mahabalipuram was displayed in TIMES SQUARE in 2009-2010 for the ‘Incredible India’ campaign of the Government of India. Devayani Born Artist Name Annick Chaymotty in Paris, France Devayani Residence New Delhi ,India Nationality French Occupation Classical Indian Dancer of Bharata Natyam & Choreographer Partner Late M.M. Kohli Website: Official website (http://www.devayanidance.com)
  2. 2. * Devayani was the only Artist from India to be invited to represent Traditional Indian Dance at the World Culture Open in Seoul, Korea. * Devayani was given the top billing for her Bharata Natyam performances with the legendary opera singer Luciano PAVAROTTI at the XXIV Algarve International Music Festival in Portugal. * Devayani promoted Bharata Natyam through her dance productions & workshops at the Edinburgh International Festival Fringe for several years. * Devayani was selected by the Arts Council of England as the First Asian Dancer Artist – in – Residence at Newcastle –Upon –Tyne Dance City to promote Indian Dance & Culture in UK. * Devayani was the First French artist to be the heroine of an Indian Film “America Ammayi” (Telugu). Till date, fans remember her acting as the heroine of the film & her dance sequences shot in the Temple of Chidambaram. * Devayani is an ardent protagonist of promoting Bharata Natyam in its pristine form. In her performances it has been her endeavor to preserve and perpetuate the pristine glory, purity and beauty of this ancient dance form. Endowed with this guiding spirit Devayani has achieved outstanding success, acclaim and recognition at the national and international level. Contents • 1 Early Life • 2 Career • 3 In popular culture • 4 Personal life • 5 Awards and Honors, Special Distinctions • 6 In the Media • 7 Bharata Natyam • 8.External links • 9.References Early Life It was when the little French girl Annick Chaymotty was reading The Green Ballerina Shoes of the Red and Gold collection that the reproductions of the graceful ballerinas painted by Degas scattered around the book captured her imagination. It was like love at first sight for this Art form and for the footlights which animated in a such a vibrant manner the faces of the dancers painted by the French impressionist. A few years later, she started attending classical music and dance classes in a Paris conservatory with the money she earned from teaching English to the baker's daughter and her friend. Anne as she preferred to be called was only 10. In her formative years she was nurtured in Classical Ballet and later in modern contemporary dance at the “Schola Cantorum”in Paris. She was noticed by a Flamenco dancer ,Lutys de Luz ,a soloist of the Ballet Company of the Marquis de Cuevas and learnt from her the Spanish Classical dance at “La Salle Pleyel” .
  3. 3. As per the French tradition in bourgeois families, she went through the scholar cursus with Latin as the main subject at Lycee Rodin and even further, with Greek at Lycee Claude Monet, a renowned college in Paris before doing her MA in French and English Literature in the Sorbonne University .During those years of Academic studies she was enamoured with Art. She was inspired by the literature of different cultures and "Ecoles" including French romanticism (Baudelaire, Rimbaud) the poetry of Shelley, the readings of Kant and Nietzsche and the philosophy of Plato. She often attended theatre shows, dance recitals, music concerts and art exhibitions. Sometimes she took her mother along with her and described to her longing for beauty, her incessant search for Art. Came the counter culture movement… When by chance she heard Ravi Shankar, Indian Classical Music came as a revelation. Based on his sitar performance with the Beatles, she requested Milena Salvini to choreograph the Radha and Krishna's story for her first dance drama “Le chant de la Nuit”. Milena Salvini was later to open the Mandapa, the first centre of Indian Dance and Culture in Paris. As she attended in the Paris Odeon Theatre, 'La Tentation de Saint Antoine' a play after the novel by Gustave Flaubert, choreographed by Maurice Bejart she told herself she was right to believe in what the author Antonin Artaud was naming” L' Art total.” This belief led her to create another dance drama “Le Banc des Fievres “ which was selected by Monique Dorsel ,who had seen her first dance drama ,for the International Festival of Drama and Poetics in Brussels and awarded the first prize in Research Theatre. She also had her first interview on the Radio in Brussels. On her return to Paris the captivating Bharata Natyam dance sequence in the film by Louis Malle titled “Phantom India” inspired her to surrender herself to this ancient Temple dance. Soon after she discovered by chance Bharata Natyam classes and so started her initial training under Amala Devi and later Malavika. On account of her exceptional gift and flair for this dance form, Devayani was awarded the Indo-French Cultural Exchange Programme ICCR scholarship in 1973 to learn Bharata Natyam in India. The award of this scholarship enabled me to realize her goal of discovering and learning a composite dance form which at the same time is: movement, rhythm, mime, sculpture, thought, expression of love and expression of the soul. Studies of Bharata Natyam in Chennai and Indian Movie During this period ” the French girl” as she was referred to was trained by the Great Masters of the Bharata Natyam dance tradition: Kancheepuram Ellapa Mudaliar and Kalaimamani V.S. Muthuswamy Pillai, Kumari Sawrnamukhi in Karanas (sculptural poses carved on the South Indian Temples), Padma Bushan Kalanidhi Narayanan in Abhinaya and Padma Vibushan Dr. Balamuralikrishna in vocal carnatic music. It was when she was learning from Muthuswamy Pillai that she became DEVAYANI. It was the name that she had heard her first guru Kancheepuram Ellapa Mudaliar sing in a dance composition which, after his untimely demise, was accepted by Muthuswamy Pillai who became mainly responsible for her training.
  4. 4. Devayani had her “arangetram” debut performance under the auspices of Rasika Ranjani Sabha in Chennai before a galaxy of eminent Indian artists and the Media. The French Girl with “a very pretty and forceful stage personality” as quoted by a critic from the Hindu newspaper received positive reviews from the media. It was no coincidence that during the years spent in Chennai Devayani was granted tutelage of the grand masters of the Bharata Natyam tradition. While still a student of Bharata Natyam, she won high accolade with her acting and dance performances in the lead role of the Telugu film “America Ammayi” directed by Singheeta Srinivasa Rao and which was screened in India and abroad. The “hit” film propelled Devayani overnight into a position of stardom. It was screened in the whole of South India, in the International Film Festival in Delhi, in Africa, the US. She had the opportunity thanks to the master who trained her for the Kuchipudi dance sequence for the movie, Vempati Chinna Satyam, to perform in Delhi at the prestigious Kamani Auditorium and also for Doordarshan Television. On return from Delhi Devayani received many film offers as a heroine. Ramu Kariat offered her the title role in a Malayam film, Girish Karnad in a Kannada movie and in a Tamil film for the title role versus the famous film star Kamal Hassan etc., which she all declined. Career Launching of International Career and Early work From Chennai Devayani left for France where she started her international dance career. She chose Paris, her home town ,as her base.During that period she performed at the Mandapa which her friend Milena Salvini had set up as a platform for Indian Dance and Culture. She also performed at the Pernod Club in the Champs Elysees and later inaugurated the Air India office in Lyon with her Bharata Natyam performance. She represented Air India at a Tourism and Travel Show held in a Five Star Hotel in Madrid in which her performance was highly appreciated. She had a TV Programme for FR3, DOM TOM and her first review in a French magazine. Devayani had her real Debut performance in Paris a la ‘Salle Bleue’of “ Le Palais de Congres “. She also taught Bharata Natyam and Yoga to students from the Sorbonne University.
  5. 5. However, India continued to beckon on her. Devayani wanted to pursue her training in India and flew back to Chennai where she received the news that her guru Muthuswamy Pillai was very ill. She then decided to go to Delhi with her only belonging from the time of her studies in Chennai, a musical instrument called “tempura” from Thanjhavur. She soon gathered some musicians and performed in Delhi at Jhankar Theatre, the chamber Theatre of the prime Institution Sriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, whose Director Shoba Deepak Singh was her first promoter. Devayani was in search of better accompaniment and excellence and formed her own troupe in the early 80s as a solo artist under Guru Shri V. Sadasivam’s scintillating musical direction. There was no looking back: he was the one nattuvanar (conductor of the orchestra of the former prima ballerina Dr. Yamini Krishnamurthy) to reckon with. Under him Devayani performed at prestigious venues in Delhi: Convention Hall, Kamani Auditorium and in Mumbai at the National Centre for the Performing Arts, the best theatre venue in South East Asia. The legendary actor and Bollywood film director Dev Anand tried to contact her for his next film but Devayani ‘s rapid strides had taken her to Bonn in Germany for the International Dance Workshop during which she performed and conducted her first international workshop .Devayani received rave reviews for her performance “Wide acclamation for Devayani” in On return to Delhi her vocalist at that time, T.G.Mahalingam, gave her the news that she was on the cover of the Indian Express Newspaper with a dance pose from the film “America Ammayi”. Breakthrough: in India & Overseas It was in January 1982 that the Indian Council for Cultural Relations officially deputed Devayani on a tour for India’s Republic Day Celebrations in Bonn, Frankfurt, Essen, Germany. However it was in July 1982 that Devayani during the Festival of India Devayani had a show as an independent artist at the Purcell Room of the South Bank Centre in London. Devayani danced to a packed audience and got several “encore”. Following these tours Devayani attracted the attention of eminent art critics in India. In the eighties, during the Gandhian Renaissance period of the Indian Cultural Heritage, Devayani danced across the width and breadth of the country performing Bharata Natyam in prestigious venues of all major Indian metropolitan cities and towns. Some of her major performances are: Azad Bhavan, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations Auditorium in New Delhi for the United Nations’Day, the Tata Theatre of the N.C.P.A in Mumbai, twice at Kamani Hall, at FICCI Auditorium on India’s Republic Day in New Delhi, AIFACS Hall, New Delhi for the’ Nuclear Week against Disarmament’. For this performance she was commissioned by the “Federation of the United Nations” .Devayani also participated in some of the major Festivals of Music and Dance of India like the ‘Swami Haridas Sangeet Sammelan’, Mumbai, the ‘Divisional Utsav’, Gwalior, the ‘Multi Arts Festival’, Bhopal, for ‘The National Theatre Festival’, at Rabindra Sadan, Kolkata under the auspices of “Devayani performs Bharata Natyam in Bonn – First Trip Earns Wide Acclamation –“ Ramesh Jaura Inter Nationes Feature bilateral
  6. 6. the Sangeet Natak Akademi (Academy of Music and Dance) of New Delhi. Devayani also performed for the Indian TV Network, Doordarshan. Strongly motivated by her passion to show the world the Ancient Dance form “Bharata Natyam” she simultaneously continued to tour overseas .In 1983 she won a Special Award for her choreography of Indian Dance at the International Choreography contest in Nyon, Switzerland and was on the cover of “Ballett News”. In 1984 Devayani toured the U.K. She performed in London at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, The October Gallery and was invited by the India High Commission to give a series of shows in Liverpool at the ’International Gardens Festival ‘which gave her the opportunity to have several performances in a day for different kinds of audiences including for the ‘Grand public’ whom she loved. The Television filmed some of her shows and consecutively she had her debut on BBC in London. The Year 1986 was an important year for Devayani. Following a write-up in the Indian Newspaper Hindustan Times of Feb.6.1985 and in the Magazine Eve’s Weekly of August 1985 she was invited on a tour to Norway in Oslo and in Stavanger at The American School Theater’. It was her performance of 1986 at the Queen Elisabeth Hall in London which left in her mind the mark of what she really wanted: perform in World Concert Halls and place Bharata Natyam next to the best of Art, Theatre, Classical Music & Dance. Consecutively, the French Artist obliged AIR FRANCE, her sponsor Carrier with other shows in London. ”Devayani delights London audiences” wrote the London based Indian critic Jagdish Bazaz. Global International Success The Year 1987 was a turning point for Devayani. She did continue to perform in renowned venues of New Delhi: Triveni Kala Sangam, Sapru house and toured India at the invitation of the South Central Zone Cultural Centre, Nagpur and performed in Hyderabad as State Guest of Andhra Pradesh. In July 1987 after she danced for Doordarshan, the Indian TV. Network, Devayani prepared herself for what was going to become her favorite boards: The International Edinburgh Festival. Devayani was invited for a series of 10 shows by the Fringe Festival Society and Christopher Richardson, the artistic Director of the popular Pleasance Theatre became her first promoter. After Edinburgh where , in spite of the strict competition, she left an impact with the Media Reviews of August 1987 in FESTIVAL Times
  7. 7. and by Howard Purdie in the Scotsman she went on to the International Fringe Festival in Swansea in the Wales to give a series of 5 shows, including for Marks & Spencers. This trend continued in 1988: Performances in Delhi, also in Chandigarh for Indian Tourism. Invited by the French Embassy she gave for the first time a series of shows in Dacca, Bangladesh, where she got a rave review in the New Nation Magazine “Mesmeric Bharata Natyam” from a French Dancer’. She gave 15 shows, was described by the Media as a “tantalizing mix of cultures” at the International Edinburgh Festival for the Fringe Society, for AIR FRANCE in Glasgow, London. At the invitation of the NCZCC she danced in Allahabad and with tireless élan performed across the whole of Madhya Pradesh ‘Narmada ke Kinare’ in December 1988 on a 3 weeks ‘tour during which the organisers asked her to do repeat performances .In 1989 Devayani,” hailed as one of the best cultural ambassadors of India” by The Hindustan Times was promoted by the Department of Culture, Ministry of Human Resource & Development, New Delhi to go on tour to Helsinki, Finland: Copenhagen, Denmark; Frankfurt, Germany to dance on the occasion of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru Birth Centenary Celebrations , Later she danced for the ‘Year of France in India ‘ on a tour to Bangalore, Goa, Mumbai, Kolkata; in Dehradun for a Summer Festival organised by NCZCC and in Lucknow for the Sangeet Natak Akademi. She was back to the International Edinburgh Festival where she premiered her show “Temple” at ‘Tic Toc at Marco’s’ , a trendy Fringe venue, and received critical acclaim in The Scotsman, The List and the Festival Times. In early 1990 Devayani danced again in Kolkata, Delhi for the Trade Fair Authority of India, for Doordarshan at the majestic Rock Gardens in Chandigarh and at the Residence of the Danish Ambassador on the occasion of the Queen of Denmark’s Birthday .After the demise of her nattuvanar in Delhi in 1991, Guru V. Sadasivam, Devayani closely associated herself with some of the Delhi based South Indian musicians. She performed for the ITC (Indian Tobacco Company) ‘Golden Greats Festival’ in Jodhpur in 1991 and had the privilege of sharing the evening concert with the eminent musician, Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma, in Delhi for the Cosmetic Icon Shahnaz Hussain in 1992, Parliamentarians from Denmark in 1993, at Rabindra Bharati Cultural Festivals in Hyderabad in 1995.She did a recording for a National Programme of Doordarshan , Indian TV Network in 1997 and 1998.She also presented her show ‘Like a Goddess’ at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi in 1998 and danced at Neemrana Fort Palace in Rajasthan in 1999 where she tried her new team of top ranking musicians: Lalgudi R.Sriganesh (conductor), O.S.Sridhar (vocalist), K.Sivakumar (percussion) and K.L.N. Sastri (violin) before performing with them at the prestigious Kamani Auditorium in New Delhi. However the assignment which enabled her to establish her strong impact on the International cultural scene was when she was selected by the Arts Council of Great Britain in 1990 for a 6 months residence in Newcastle-upon Tyne as the first Asian Dancer ‘Artist-in-Residence’ to promote Indian Dance and Culture in the U.K through her performances both on Stage and on Television especially for British Television, ITV and BBC. ‘Devayani has a powerful command of the music ... a sensuous and captivating stage presence. Devayani's Temple is an enthralling if complex production by an accomplished artist’. Hazel Wright, The Scotsman September 1.1989, Edinburgh International Festival.
  8. 8. Her performance and lecture – demonstration at the Commonwealth Institute in London gathered over 1000 people. Following this experience and exposure Devayani spent considerable time in the West promoting Indian Dance and Culture including in Paris, her original home town between 1991 and 1996.In 1991 she performed for the Royal Commonwealth Festival in Bristol and for the’ Festival of India through French Eyes” in London which also had an exhibition of Cartier Bresson .She went on a tour of “Kerala Kala Samiti’ to Koln in Germany and further she performed at the prestigious Villa Louvini in Luxembourg in concert with the renowned vocalist Laxmi Shankar. In 1992 she diversified her horizons and danced for the multibillion dollar French Company DSB in Kishtwar, Kashmir and for a ‘Bajaj Meet ‘of Indian industrialists in Kathmandu, Nepal. She returned to the Edinburgh International Festival and further danced for an Indian Festival organised by the Indian Embassy in Stockholm a tour which gathered her 21 shows. It was however in 1993 that Devayani was on the cover of the Scotsman and of its Arts Supplement for her performances at ’Adam House Theatre’ and at the ‘Festival Theatre’ of the International Edinburgh Fringe. In 1994 and 1995 Devayani spent considerable time in London working on her Devadasi dance creation project with the composer John Marc Gowans. She also danced at the School of Arts in Wimbledon. In 1996 Devayani, introducing her Indo Jazz dance creation “Devadasi”, made a highly professional presentation of performances, workshops, posters, photos exhibition , slide show ,gave TV interviews for UK, Europe and the US during the ‘Dance World 96’ Event sponsored by ‘Shell’ at the Wembley Stadium in London . Devayani celebrated independently the 50th Anniversary of India’s Independence with her production ‘Like a Goddess’ at ‘Graffiti’ a Church venue of the International Edinburgh Festival Fringe 1997 .Amongst more than 500 dance companies ‘Like a Goddess’ was noticed by the Media but Claire Smith wrote in the Scotsman that ‘Devayani is a consummate artist and a joy to watch’ but regretted she was ‘working to a backing tape’. This comment made Devayani decide not to go back to the Fringe Festival which she thought surely offers wonderful platforms to be launched, but it was time for her to move on. Following this decision Devayani received commercial contracts to perform at the Eesti Concert Hall, Opera House of Tallinn for ‘Orient 98’ in Estonia where she presented her show “Like a Goddess” and for ‘India Vision 98’ in Athens, the Embassy of India in Athens ‘Event sponsored by the Onassis Foundation. She danced on NET, a Greek Television Channel. She also remained cultural and in 1999 premiered the ‘Cosmic Dance of Shiva’ at the Indian Cultural centre Berlin where she conducted a five days long workshop. Year of Consecration: 2000 and continuous success up to 2007
  9. 9. During those years Devayani became selective about her choices .The Artist Devayani took her art to further heights when she merged the classicism and rigor of Bharata Natyam with a contemporary presentation which, she still believes, is meant to reveal the intrinsic beauty of the art form and its universal appeal. Devayani also gave utmost importance to the high level of excellence of the members of her orchestra. She brought out the best of each musician in order to endow her performance with a powerful and lyrical musical texture, and achieved successful musical arrangements. The consecration of her art came in May 2000 at the XXIV Algarve International Music Festival in Portugal, where she was given top billings along with the great opera singer Luciano Pavarotti and the star of the Kirov Opera, Olga Borodina. She went on tour to Italy for 'Indian Landscapes 2000', in Rome. In 2001 she showcased her Art at the ‘Hellas International Dance Festival’ in Athens, at The Tagore Centre in Berlin and at the Nehru Centre in London. In 2002 she got a contract to give performances and workshops at the ‘American College of Greece’ and the ‘Pierce Theater’ in Athens. In September 2004 Devayani was selected to represent India officially and perform traditional Indian Dance at the 'World Culture Open 2004' in Seoul, Korea. She was the only artist from India. Devayani was selected by the International dance Council (National Commission for Unesco, Paris) to perform in 2006 in Athens, Greece, at The Peace & Friendship Stadium for the 20th World Congress on Dance Research and in 2007 at the Dora Sratou Amphitheatre for the 21st World Congress on Dance, next to the Acropolis. During those years Devayani, with her systematic and strategic approach of the international performs, truly placed Bharata Natyam on the map of the world, bestowing it with her unique enthusiasm and great passion. She continued to tour and perform with her accompanying artists all over India in renowned cultural centres, theatres and festivals; The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in 2000 in New Delhi, the Lal Bahadur Sastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie ,the Cultural Festival in Bikaner, Rajasthan in 2001. The years 2003 & 2004 marked the beginning of higher recognitions from various sectors: The Media Government Departments of Culture & Tourism, Industries in the corporate sector, NGOs It was in 2004 that she was conferred the IMM Top Cultural Ambassador Award for Excellence. She performed at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi sponsored by BSNL, ‘Haridas Mahotsav’ in Aligarh, Mardol temple Festival in Goa in 2004,Jawahar Kala Kendra in Jaipur and for Rajasthan Sangeet Natak Akademi in Jodhpur. In 2005 she went on to dance for Pracheen Kala Kendra in Chandigarh,
  10. 10. was sponsored by the No1.Government Industry ONGC for a show at the Alliance Francaise of New Delhi, and performed for Uttaranchal Formation Day in Dehradun. In 2006 she was invited by Tamil Nadu Tourism for Mahabalipuram Dance Festival, the ‘Taj Mahotsav’ in Agra, Kalidas Festival in Nagpur for Maharashtra Tourism, Taramati Music & Dance Festival in Hyderabad for Andhra Pradesh Tourism. Festival’. In 2007 she was invited by the Department of Culture of Madhya Pradesh Government for ‘Anushrruti Classical Dance & Music Festival ‘and by Maharashtra Tourism for the world famous’ Ellora Ajanta Festival’ where she danced before an audience of 8000 people and shared the evening concert with the sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan and for the New Year Festival organised by Chandigarh Tourism. Highest recognition in India: 2008 to present The Year 2008 was marked for Devayani by invitations in major Cultural Hubs and from business tycoons: a performance for the prestigious HCL series performance at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi and for the Nehru Centre Dance Festival in Mumbai. Later the government industrial agency ONGC invited her for India’s Independence Day Celebrations at its headquarters in Dehradun. By now Devayani's impact on the world of Indian Classical Dance had crossed the borders far and wide, bringing many admirers to her art. On account of her charismatic personality and outstanding achievements Devayani was selected by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, for its International Advertising Incredible India Campaign titled: ‘Real People’. It was in November 2008 that Devayani was conferred at the India International Centre in New Delhi the ‘National Women Excellence Award’ for her contribution in Culture, Tradition and Art Promotion by the Women International Network. On April 14th 2009, Devayani was conferred the 'Padma Shri' Award by the President of India for her distinguished services and outstanding achievements. Devayani is the first French Artist to have received this honour from the Government of India. Devayani was also conferred the ‘International Yog Confederation of India Award 2009, for her contribution in the field of Culture. Consecutively the highlights of her shows include: in 2009 performances at M.L. Bhartia Auditorium, New Delhi, sponsored by ONGC to mark the conferment of this National Award with H.E.Jerome Bonnafont as Guest of Honor, for the First National Crafts Festival, Chandigarh, at Lucknow Mahotsav where she was invited to perform her solo dance for the Finale before an audience of 30 000 people. In 2010 her shows are featured at Buddha Mahotsav; at “Vishesh Shani Bahar” Festival in Patna ; at Lotus Bahai Temple for the Indian Cancer Society in New Delhi; Taj Mahotsav, Agra in 2011; at Kalidas Festival; Sanskriti Utsav in Lucknow; Sri Sankat Mocham Samaroh and the Horizon Series in
  11. 11. Varanasi; The Gaiety Theatre in Shimla; Mysore Palace Dussehra Cultural Festival; Chakradhar Samaroh in 2011 & 2012; in 2012 at Modhera Sun Temple Dance Festival, in Gujarat; Mahakaleshwar Music and Dance Festival, Ujjain; Jhansi Mahotsav; Uday Shankar Dance Festival, Kolkata; Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan Dance Festival, Chennai; in 2013 at Pracheen Kala Kendra Nritya & Sangeet Sammelan, Chandigarh. In 2014 Devayani performed at Deo Surya Mahotsav in Aurangabad, Udai Shankar Ballet and Dance Festival in Jaipur and was selected to dance her classic Act of Bharata Natyam for the Grand Finale of Taj Mahotsav in Agra. The government of Rajasthan gave her the top billings with the eminent Indian musicians Shubha Mudgal and Hari Prasad Chaurasia for her Bharata Natyam performance at “Rajasthan Diwas” on the occasion of Rajasthan Day Celebrations. Devayani performed for the Spic Macay ‘Virasat Series’, again at Lucknow Mahotsav and was given top billings at Rajgir Mahotsav. In subsequent years Devayani was invited to perform at Maharana Kumbha Sangeet Samaroh, Antarangini Fest IIT Kanpur,by CSOI in New Delhi,at The Khajuraho Dance Festival , Vaishali Mahotsav, Eternal Varanasi Event at IHC, New Delhi ,Hampi Utsav, Handya Mati Mahotsav, Chandigarh,49th World Congress of Dance Research in Mumbai 2016.Up to date Devayani is regularly invited by the Tourism and Culture Departments of the various States of India. In all these major Indian Festivals of Music & Dance Devayani is widely covered by the Media. All These Festivals she has been invited to gave her the opportunity to share these evening concerts and the top billings with the legendary stars of Indian Music & Dance and of Bollywood. In popular culture Devayani has participated in number of seminars and conducted workshops and lecture demonstrations which all demonstrate her deep understanding of the Bharata Natyam art dance and her spiritual values. By conducting master classes, lecture demonstrations, workshops and participating in seminars Devayani has developed internationally an understanding, an awareness of Bharata Natyam as a powerful expression of Temple Art. • The forums she has been associated with include: • The International Dance Workshop, Bonn, Germany 1981 • The East West Dance Encounter, Mumbai, India 1984 • Workshop with Ballet Rambert, Newcastle upon Tyne, Northern Arts, a UK National Dance Agency 1990 • The Commonwealth Institute, London, U.K.1990 • The American College of Greece, Athens, Greece 2002 • Dhiskha Children's Summer Festival, The Akshara Theatre, New Delhi, India 2005 • British School, British High Commission , New Delhi 2009 • SPIC MACAY Programs 2011 -2013 • Devayani is Master of Arts, French Honours, PHD level Sorbonne University, Paris. She was commissioned by the ICCR to translate (from English into French) "Letters from a father to his daughter" by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Author of several articles: 'Prayer for Peace', My dance my life', etc. (Link) Devayani’s motto is: “Art is the color of passion, free flowing, ‘sans’ frontiers”. Personal life Devayani’s long time partner was Mr. M.M. Kohli, former I.A.S. Secretary of the Government of India. He died in March 2015.
  12. 12. Awards and honours Year Award Indo-French Cultural Exchange Programme Scholarship, Madras Awarded the I.C.C.R. Scholarship, New Delhi. Awarded a special grant from the French Embassy, New Delhi. 1983 Award at International Choreography Contest, Nyon, Switzerland. 1987 “Award for exemplary contribution to the Art and Tradition of Bharata Natyam”, South Central Zonal Cultural Centre (S.C.Z.C.C.), India. 1988 “Award for Exemplary contribution to the Art and Tradition of Bharata Natyam”, North Central Zonal Cultural Centre (N.C.Z.C.C.), India. 1991 Assisted by the Deptt. of Culture, Ministry of Human Resource and Development, New Delhi for the production 'Devadasi'. 1998 “Award for Achievement of Excellence” conferred on Devayani by the Andhra Cultural & Welfare Society, New Delhi. 2001 Classified as Eminent Artist, by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, New Delhi. 2004 The “Top Cultural Ambassador Award for Excellence” was awarded to Devayani by the Institute of Marketing & Management in New Delhi. This honour was conferred on her in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the internationalisation of Bharata Natyam. 2008 The “National Women Excellence Award” for her outstanding contribution to Culture, Tradition & Art Promotion. 2008 Selected by the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India, to be Brand Ambassador for the "Incredible India" advertising campaign titled ”REAL PEOPLE”. 2009 Conferred a Certificate of Appreciation by the Yog Confederation of India for her contribution in the field of Culture and the promotion & propagation of Traditional Systems during the International Conference on Gandhi, Yog and Global Peace 2009 Conferred one of the highest civilian awards, the "PADMA SHRI" by the President of India on January 26 (India Republic Day) 2013 Nominated for the” Bharat Jyoti Award” by the India International Friendship Society, New Delhi Special Distinctions Selected by The Arts Council of England as The First Asian Dancer Artist in Residence to promote Indian Dance and Culture in U.K., 1990. Artist in residence at Dance City, Newcastle upon Tyne National Dance Agency. Conducted a workshop for the famed Ballet Rambert dance company. T.V. and stage shows during the residency.
  13. 13. Devayani had the distinction to perform at a function held to celebrate the Birthday of the Queen of Denmark in New Delhi. Devayani performed for the United Nations' Day in New Delhi in 1981, India's Republic Day Celebrations in Germany in 1981, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's Birth Centenary in France, Denmark, Germany in 1989, the 50th Anniversary of India's Independence in Greece in 1998. Devayani was an active member of The International Dance Council, CID, UNESCO from 2003 to 2007. Endowed with an aristocratic and a charismatic personality, combined with her command of the dance, Devayani brings something unique to Bharata Natyam and to the World of Art. Devayani believes in the power of Art to spread Peace and Harmony in the world. In the media Since her beginning days in Chennai as a student of Bharata Natyam Devayani has attracted media attention and recognition . Even before giving her first official public performance known as “arangetram”, a dance critic who had seen her perform at a private function, recommended her name for the film which propelled her into fame “America Ammayi”. Throughout her career and till date Devayani has raised great interest in the Media. Her outstanding performances, magnetic personality and her ideology have been written about and praised. Photographs of her dance poses and of her beautiful expressive face have scattered time and time again the newspapers, magazines and also reached the prime position to be on their cover in India and overseas. Devayani does not have a publicist but does organize Press Conferences before important shows Devayani was given a full page coverage in the TIME & NEWSWEEK magazines in addition to 70 other international magazines for the 'Real People' campaign of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. She is the only French Artist and performer of Classical Indian Dance who has made it to the top international magazines. A 20 feet hoarding with her Bharata Natyam pose against the backdrop of Mahabalipuram was displayed in TIMES SQUARE, New York in 2009-2010 for the ‘Incredible India’ campaign of the Government of India. In her commitment to project Indian Dance and Culture internationally, Devayani has given numerous interviews to the Indian and International media. Films of Devayani’s performances by BBC, Tyne Tees Television, ITV (U.K.), Zee T.V., Asianet T.V. (U.K., Europe, U.S.), FR3 (France), Net (Greece), Indian T.V. Network are periodically telecast to a large audience of viewers. Bharata Natyam
  14. 14. Bharata-Natyam is essentially a solo dedicatory dance. A dance dedicated to the gods. Bharata-Natyam was originally performed in South Indian Temples by those who served the gods, the Devadasis. Historically it has been the most common and classical dance Art of India, the principles and technique of which were systematised and codified about 2000 years ago in Bharata’s ‘Natya Sastra’ – treatise of dance. With regard to the technique and to-day’s contemporary form of presentation, the most applicable comparison to Bharata-Natyam is Classical Ballet although the spectrum of movements and the narrative contents of the dance are fundamentally different. The actual repertoire of Bharata-Natyam was conceived by four famous music composers from Tanjore, the ‘Tanjore Quartet’ in South India. It comprises abstract and narrative dance compositions which follow a particular sequence. Nrtta, which is the abstract or pure aspect of the dance, consists of axial geometric movements illustrating the beauty of either tala (measure of time, i.e. rhythm) or both tala and raga (melodic mode). Each pure dance sequence is entirely planned according to the tala system of South Indian Carnatic music. The narrative aspect of the dance is called nrtya and its medium of expression abhinaya. It consists of facial expressions, body positions and hastas – hand gestures or mudras - used to describe the poetical and lyrical content of the musical composition with symbolic movements and expressiveness. It enables the dancer to portray the emotions expressed in the song, thus giving the rasika (audience) privileged moments of aesthetical bliss during which its members can identify themselves with the lyrics of the songs mostly based on love themes. Those songs have their origins in hindu mythology, literature and philosophy. They symbolise the yearning of the human soul for union with the absolute. Bharata-Natyam is a composite art. It is at the same time the art of the stage, drama, music, poetry, color and rhythm. Its keynote is the dance which includes all the arts but the message of which is not merely given to the senses and through them to a purely external form of enjoyment, but to the soul of the dancer and of the perceiver. The beauty of this dance form achieves its fullest expression only when there is an effervescence of Bhava (emotion) and when Abhinaya (mimetic facial expression) projects fittingly the sentiments expressed in the songs and through the medium of music. I regard Bharata-Natyam as the Art of tuning oneself to the innermost beat of the world. DEVAYANI External links Personal website of Devayani http://www.devayani.com www.facebook.com/people/Kumari-Devayani www.youtube.com/watch?v=6t0_UzDwuFA
  15. 15. References 1. Sri Atluri. “Stars Interviews: Chit Chat Padmashri Devayani”. 2010/05/17. 22. Neha Sahai. “The French Connection”. The Asian Age. 2000/09/15. 2. Sri Atluri. “Stars Interviews: Chit Chat Padmashri Devayani”. 2010/05/17. 23. Michael Darwell “Classical Indian Dance” What’s On 2001 /07/04-11 3. Sri Atluri. “Stars Interviews: Chit Chat Padmashri Devayani”. 2010/05/17. 24. Suman Mishra. “Dancing to a Global Tune”. The Sunday Express. 2002/12/01. 4. Sri Atluri. “Stars Interviews: Chit Chat Padmashri Devayani”. 2010/05/17. 25. “The Right Moves” Hindustan Times, HT Sunday Magazine. 2003/02/09. 5. Sri Atluri. “Stars Interviews: Chit Chat Padmashri Devayani”. 2010/05/17. 26. Amardeep Banerjee. “Artistic point of view”. The Asian Age. 2004/02/15. 6. The National Women Excellence Award from WIN 27. “Diva of Classical Dance”. Sahara Time. 2004/03/21. 7. TIME & NEWSWEEK magazines, issues of 29 Dec, 2008 to Jan 5, 2009 28. Anjana Rajan “A French-born Ambassador for Indian Classical Dance. That is Devayani”. The Hindu. 2004/11/22. 8. Lekha J. Shankar. “Bharata Natyam in French”. The Sunday Statesman. 1987/07/26. 29. “Portraits d’Artistes Devayani Ambassadrice Francaise de la Danse Indienne”. Nouvelles de L’inde Magazine of the Embassy of India in Paris. No. 355. 2004/11-12. 9. Anonymous. “Dancing Devayani”. Festival Times. 1987/08/19-25. 30. Cover. Nouvelles De L'Inde Magazine of the Embassy of India in Paris. No. 355. 2004/11-12 10. Hazel Wright. “Temple Devayani Tic Toc at Marco’s”. The Scotsman. 1989/09/01. 31. Nonika Singh. “A blender’s pride”. Hindustan Times. 2005/05/12. 11. Jaywalker. “Devayani’s French Connection”. The Hindustan Times Evening News. 1989/01/06. 32. S.D. Sharma. “Stunning performance by French danseuse”. The Tribune. 2005/05/12. 12. Tanya Webster. “Temple”. The List. 1989/09/1- 14. 33. Vandana Shukla. “From Ballet to Bharata Natyam”. The Times of India. 2005/05/12. 13. Celine Baer “Devayani danseuse de Bharata Natyam”. Aujourd’hui. 1992/04/29. 34. Our Correspondent / Hyderabad. “Divine feminine energy inspires her dance”. Deccan Chronicle. 2006/12/10. 14. Celine Baer “Devayani danseuse de Bharata Natyam”. Aujourd’hui. 1992/04/29. 35. Reetu Joshi. “I’m blessed to find my roots in India”. Hyderabad Times, The Times of India. 2006/12/. 15. Celine Baer “Devayani danseuse de Bharata Natyam”. Aujourd’hui. 1992/04/29. 36. Amatul M. Siddiqui. “Stunning performers, Enchanted audience”. Lokmat Times. 2007/11/25. 16. Cover of Arts Supplement Edinburgh Festival. The Scotsman. 1993/08/31. 37. S.D. Sharma. “French Bharata Natyam exponent charms audience”. The Tribune. 2007/12/28. 17. “Devayani’s Indo Jazz”. Dance Express. 1996/08/. 38. Nonika Singh. “Bharata Natyam Danseuse Devayani… is taking the devotional dance form to classical heights in City…” Hindustan Times. HT City Weekend. 2007/12/28. 18. Claire Smith. “Like a Goddess”. The Scotsman Fringe reviews. 1997/08/27. 39. L’artiste Anne Chaymotty ou “Devayani”. Nouvelles de L’Inde. Ambassade de L’Inde – Numero 392. 2008/09/, 2008/12/. 19. Aime Hansen. “Orient 98”. Nada1.18-24 1998/05/. 40. Piyush Mathur. “Devayani Honoured with Padmashri”. Eurasia Times Monthly. 2009/02/. 20. Vasantha Iyer. “Devyani danced like a Goddess”. National Herald. 1998/09/08. 41. Piyush Mathur. “Devayani Honoured with Padmashri”. Eurasia Times Monthly. 2009/02/. 21. Angela Santos. “Purpura e ouro num espectaculo divino”. Mare Alta No. 49. 2000/06/. 42. Piyush Mathur. “Devayani Honoured with Padmashri”. Eurasia Times Monthly. 2009/02/.
  16. 16. 43. Piyush Mathur. “Devayani Honoured with Padmashri”. Eurasia Times Monthly. 2009/02/. 53. Reena Sopam. “Paris-born Bharata Natyam exponent’s date with city today”. Hindustan Times. 44. Tarun Khanna. “Devayani Born for Bharata Natyam”. City Plus. 2009/03/06. 54. Geeta Nandakumar. “To the manner born”. The Hindu Friday Review. 2010/12/10. 45. S.D. Sharma “It was the mood, mudras and melody of Bharata Natyam which helped French- born Annuchay Motty transform into Padmashri Devayani”. 2009/10/26. 55. Ananya Roy. “Devayani, Upendra Bhat Captivate II audience”. City Pulse Lokmat Times. 2010/03/05. 46. HT City Correspondent. “Indian Odyssey”. Hindustan Times HT City page 2. 2009/10/26. 56. Staff reporter. “A classy blend of rhythm and melody”. The Hitavada City Line. 47. Usmeet Kaur. “Merging with Art”. The Times of India. 2009/10/26. 57. Poster for Chakradhar Samaroh 2011. Artists: Pt. Birju Maharaj, Jagjit Singh, Hema Malini, Devayani. 2011/09/01-10. 48. S.D. Sharma. “The French Connection”. The Tribune Life Style. 2009/10/26. 58. Times News Network. “An Indian dancer from France”. The Times of India. 2012/12/15. 49. Vrinda Sharma. “Romancing purity”. The Hindu Friday Review. 59. S.D. Sharma. “Pracheen Kala Kendra dance music gala enthralls audience”. Hindustan Times. 2013/03/23. 50. Shailvee Sharda. “French connection with Bharata Natyam dance”. Sunday Times of India. 2009/12/06. 60. Manya Malhotra. “Creative Connect”. Tribune Lifestyle Chandigarh. 2013/03/23. 51. Faisal Fareed. "French enchantress”. Grand finale of Mahotsav. Sunday Pioneer Lucknow. 2009/12/06. 61. Rajesh Kumar Jha. “I owe everything to India – name, fame and recognition”. Uday India. 2013/05/25. 52. Qazi Faraz Ahmad. “French delight”. Hindustan Times HT City Lucknow. 2009/12/26. 62. Poster “Luciano Pavarotti” Juhno 21. Devayani Maio 17/18 for the XXIV Algarve International Music Festival Portugal. 2000/05/17-18.
  17. 17. Awards & Distinctions • 2013 :Nominated for the” Bharat Jyoti Award” with Certificate of Excellence by the India International Friendship Society, New Delhi • 2009: Conferred one of the highest civilian awards, the "PADMA SHRI" by the President of India on January 26 (India Republic Day) • 2009: Conferred a Certificate of Appreciation by the Yog Confederation of India for her contribution in the field of Culture and the promotion & propagation of Traditional Systems during the International Conference on Gandhi, Yog and Global Peace • 2008: Selected by the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India, to be Brand Ambassador for the "Incredible India" advertising campaign titled ”REAL PEOPLE”. • 2008: The “National Women Excellence Award” for her outstanding contribution to Culture, Tradition & Art Promotion. • 2004: The “Top Cultural Ambassador Award for Excellence” was awarded to Devayani by the Institute of Marketing & Management in New Delhi. This honour was conferred on her in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the internationalisation of Bharata Natyam. • 2001: Classified as Eminent Artist, by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, New Delhi. • 1998:“Award for Achievement of Excellence” conferred on Devayani by the Andhra Cultural & Welfare Society, New Delhi. • 1991: Assisted by the Deptt. of Culture, Ministry of Human Resource and Development, New Delhi for the production 'Devadasi'. • 1988:“Award for Exemplary contribution to the Art and Tradition of Bharata Natyam”, North Central Zonal Cultural Centre (N.C.Z.C.C.), India. • 1987:“Award for exemplary contribution to the Art and Tradition of Bharata Natyam”, South Central Zonal Cultural Centre (S.C.Z.C.C.), India. • 1983: Award at International Choreography Contest, Nyon, Switzerland.