Vanaja Dasika, neice of Padma Bhushan Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam is the second daughter of Dasika Jagannadha Rao and Vempati Savithri (younger sister of Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam).
Having been part of Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam’s household, Vanaja, no wonder has become an accomplished Kuchipudi Classical dance performer, Choreographer, vocalist and a teacher of both music and dance.
Vanaja has done her Masters in Music from Madras University, where she has also done a thesis on music aspects of Kuchipudi dance form apart from holding a Bachelors degree in Economics.
She began dance training under the watchful and appreciative eyes of her Uncle, the legendary Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam from a very young age and has undergone intensive training in the sprawling Kuchipudi Arts Academy, Chennai. She had toured all the world along with Guru Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam’s entourage with the honour of performing key roles in most of the ballets and dance dramas of Kuchipudi Arts Academy, Chennai.
She has performed at major dance festivals, stages like Kennedy Center, Washington DC, USA, Paris Quartier D’ete Festival, Indo-Australian Convention, Chennai, Music Academy, Chennai, Kuchipudi Mahotsav, Mumbai, Sangeeta Natak Academy, Mumbai, Surya Festival & Swati Tirunal Festival, Trivandrum, Chidambaram Festival, Siddhendra yogi Mahotsav, Kuchipuid, Dept of Culture, Hyderabad among others.
Vanaja learnt music from Guru Bhagavatula Sitarama Sarma at Kala Peetham, Chennai and quickly became proficient at it.
Being a talented dancer and a trained musician, she became an integral part of almost of all the productions of Kuchipudi Arts Academy, Chennai. Her experience in being a vocalist for dance performance landed her various opportunities to accompany many a leading artists of the time and became one of the most sought after vocalist. This can be seen from the fact that she has provided lead vocal support in the prestigious Festivals like Konark & Khajuraho apart from having bagged recording projects from Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam and others.
She trains students in both dance and music and conducts workshops for providing insights to be a complete artist with her unique style of expression and teaching technique. Vanaja has been seen conducting workshops both in India and abroad over the years for both dancers and vocalists.
Among her choreographies, her creation based on the compositions of Samavedam Shunmukha Sarma called Sivapadam received wide acceptance and rapturous reviews.
Vanaja is a commendable performer, choreographer, teacher and one of the torch bearers of Kuchipudi Art form with a bent of mind to blend both tradition and innovation and appease to taste of purists and novices alike.
She sincerely believes that fine arts like dance and music are very much interrelated and it is very much imperative that a dance student should also necessarily gain adequate knowledge in music. This will help particularly Kudhipudi dancers where specific emphasis is given on vachika abhinayam and the additional knowledge of theory of dance and music will enable the students to appreciate traditional approach and easily improvise as per requirements.
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