Mangaluru: Accomplished Dance Guru Jayalakshmi Alva Passes away at 81

Mangaluru: She had been hailed as daughter of Tamil Nadu and daughter-in-law of Tulunadu.


‘Natya Kala Saraswati’ Jayalakshmi Alva, an accomplished dance guru who had been described as Saraswati incarnate by none other than Dr Padma Subramanyam herself, passed away in a private hospital in her adoptive city here on Tuesday, July 21.

Recipient of several awards like the prestigious ‘Shantala’ award, she was born in Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu into a family of artistes in 1933. She married an artiste par excellence and an extraordinary teacher the late Ramakrishna Alva and embarked on a glorious artistic journey.

She was trained by one of the greatest gurus of recent times, Dandayudhapani Pillai. She was his first and foremost disciple, destined to carry on his brilliance and command over intricate rhythm patterns and innovative interpretations of lyrics. She also trained with Swarnam Saraswati and Gowri Ammal on abhinaya aspects and Karunakar Panikar in Kathakali.

Founder of the Chitrambalam Dance Centre in Mumbai in 1959, she founded the Sridevi Nritya Kendra on relocating to Mangaluru in 1974. She was quick in learning two prominent language of her new domicile, Kannada and Tulu.

Among her celebrity disciples before arriving in Mangaluru were Waheeda Rehman, Sonal Man Singh, Shrilekha Mehta, Maya Kulkarni, Pratibha Shastri, Pooja Rao, Namita M and many others. Waheeda had, in deference to her guru’s wish, attended a function organized by Sridevi Nritya Kendra in Mangaluru a few years ago.

She is survived by daughter Dr Araty Shetty (former principal of Sandesh College of Fine Arts), son Amar Alva and granddaughter Satvika.

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