Vedantam Venkata Naga Chalapathi Rao
Vedantam Venkata Naga Chalapathi Rao hails from the illustrious Vedantam family of Kuchipudi which is known for its ‘Natya Parampara’ (Dance inheritance). He was initiated into dance at the tender age of five by his father Vedantam Rattayya Sarma who had carved a niche for himself in enacting formidable roles in traditional Kuchipudi Yakshaganas.
Chalapathi took to dance like a fish to water. His precision to footwork, his agility and his ability to emote expressions has earned him admiration from stalwarts like paternal uncles Vedantam Raghavayya, Vedantam Radhesyam, the legendary gurus Vempati Chinnna Satyam and Vedantam Satyanarayana Sarma who envisaged a career in dance for this talented young boy.
Vedantam Chalapathi wore the mantle of his ancestors with ease. He mastered the quintessential female impersonation (Stri Vesham) of Kuchipudi natyam with an élan that won him kudos from his gurus as well as scholars. Not to be typecast into singularly female roles, Chalapathi took to other male roles with equal comfort. His portrayals of ‘Hiranyakashipa’ in Bhakta Prahalada ballet, ‘Bali Chakravarthy’ in Ksheerasagara Madanam bear testimonial to his prowess.
Chalapathi is not just a professional dancer carrying forward his fore father’s vocation. Armed with a Post Graduate degree in dance from Potti Sriramulu Telugu University, he has brought the much required stamp of scholarship to the art form.
Chalapathi has performed extensively in prestigious dance festivals throughout India and abroad. Some of them include
- Khajuraho Dance Festival
- Ananya Dance Festival
- Siddhendra Yogi Festivals at Kuchipudi
- Times of India Festival, Hyderabad etc
He has also performed at India Habitat Centre – New Delhi, Krishna Gana Sabha, IDA – Chennai, etc. He has toured the US as part of Vempati’s troupe and has performed in over 70 shows. He has also given solo performances and conducted workshops in the United States.
Vedantam Venkata Naga Chalapathi Rao as Usha in Kuchipudi Yakshaganam – Usha Parinayam.
He has also toured China and Japan on an ICCR sponsored tour as a nattuvannar. He has taken part in lecture demonstrations conducted by Dr. Papua Venugopal Rao. Venkata Chalapathi got Govt Of India award in the field of Kuchipudi Dance year 2006.
He is currently a lecturer in Siddhendra College of Dance at Kuchipudi and is also pursuing his PhD from Telugu University. He is training young dancers in Kuchipudi through his dance institute ‘Kuchipudi Kalaniketan’. He is a Government of India Awardee – ‘Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar – 2006’ from Central Sangeet Natak Akademi.
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