Bharatanatyam Margam

A classical Margam is the traditional Bharatanatyam sequence of Bharatanatyam choreography set to Carnatic music, following a progression of complexity in music, rhythm and expression. It usually begins with an offering of flowers to the Gods, or an Allaripu and then continues into pure rhythmic pieces. Facial expression (Abhinaya) is then introduced. The Varnam, is the central piece of a Margam, a beautiful mix of pure dance (nritta), with intricate footwork, and Abhinaya. The second half of the performance has expressive pieces, with the stress laid on Abhinaya. The performance concludes with a lively movement piece, a Tillana.

1 hr 30 min
Solo or Group
Music: Live or Recorded


A group project by the Raadha Kalpa dance company. A dynamic Nritta based piece that strives to exemplify the theme of Ishwara through pure physicality. The choreography is inspired by the theme, but the audience may see pure physical movement that they choose to interpret according to their own personal experiences.


“Prabhavati” is a classical dance theater production, by Raadha Kalpa dance company. The story is adapted from the 16th century telugu novel, “Prabhavati Pradyumnam” by Pingali Suranna.

The love story of Prabhavati and Pradyumna is told, using Bharatanatyam and Indian classical dance theater.

Prabhavati, like her name suggested, had luminous beauty. Born to the powerful asura, Vajranabha, she grew up amidst the asuras. But Prabhavati was different from her clan. She didn’t approve of asuraic ways and had a kind heart. When the time came for her to find a suitor, she turned down all that came to her.

One night, in her dream, Parvati devi appears and hands her a picture of a man, and foretells her marriage to the man in the painting. When Prabhavati awakes and finds the scroll next to her, she is confused as to whether the Devi really appeared or if it was just a dream. She falls in love with the beautiful painting of the handsome man depicted in the scroll, without ever seeing him.

Prabhavati’s father, Vajranabha, through immense penance obtains a boon from Brahma that makes his city impenetrable. His grows drunk with power and attacks Indra the king of the Gods. Indra seeks Krishna’s help to overthrow Vajranabha, and Krishna comes up with a witty plan.

Pradyumna the son of Krishna had grown strong and valorous and was a handsome prince. Prabhavati on the other hand was destined to marry Pradyumna. They just had to be joined together, and the defeat of Vajranabha would be inevitable at the hands of Pradyumna. So Krishna and Indra conspire to send the celestial geese, led by the witty Suchimukhi into Vajrapuri, the kingdom of Vajranabha, to facilitate this plan.

The Story unfolds to tell how this union happened and the tale of the victory of Pradyumna over the evil Vajranabha.

Script, Choreography, Direction, Costumes
Rukmini Vijayakumar

Tirumale Srinivas

Shataavadani Dr. R Ganesh

90 min
Raadha Kalpa company
Music: Recorded
(please e-mail for technical specifications)

Download Prabhavati PDF


Many years ago, when the Gods still roamed the earth, and humans had a direct connect to the makers of the universe, they called upon Shiva to save them from the wrath of Tripurasura. Shiva took the form of a powerful archer and destroyed the floating kingdom of Tripurasura with one arrow of his bow. As the kingdom went up in flames, and ashes came to rest, Shiva smeared the ashes upon his body. Some of the ash found its way to the earth. Wherever the ash touched mother earth, a lingam arose. The forests of Amarkantak became home to many such Shiva lingas.

Many years later, the Gods ceased to traverse the earth as freely. The forests became extremely dense and the Shiva lingas were forgotten. The story of the destruction of Tripurasura was remembered only as a myth.

A peaceful tribe came to live in the forests. They killed the animals in the forest for food, and lived harmoniously, making the forest their home. One day the tribal chief found an abandoned child in the forest and took her home to bring her up as his own. She was strange in many ways, but the tribe attributed it to the fact that she was adopted. As time passed Nayani began to hear and see things that the others did not understand. She heard the sound of the “Aum” in the wind, in the water. She began offering flowers to an oddly shaped rock in the ground. She would wander off with her own thoughts for many hours. And she asked peculiar questions. Finally her parents think that she has become more of a nuisance and decide to punish her. Will the tribe finally understand that she was in her search for Shiva? Will they make her leave Him forever?

Choreography, Script, Direction:
Rukmini Vijayakumar

Tirumale Srinivas

VIjayalakshmi V

Arun Murthy

Sanskrit Lyrics:
Shankar Rajaraman

75 min
Raadha Kalpa company
Music: Recorded
(please e-mail for technical specifications)

Download Nayani PDF


Shankarabharanam is a Bharatanatyam production that is choreographed in the classical tradition of Bharatanatyam movement techniques. This production is themed on lord Shankara, the god of dance, the destroyer of evil, the saint, and the meditator. It explores the varied perceptions that a Bhakta has of Shankara.

The production starts with an offering to the stage with flowers followed by a prayer to Lord Ganesha and Saraswati, goddess of knowledge, woven with a mix of rhythms and footwork.

In the second piece, Gandharvas (Celestial Beings) that are enamored by the beauty of Shankara tell you the story of the ornaments of Shiva. The ornaments that Shankara wears all have a story behind them. Ganga was brought down by the prayers of Bhageeratha, and later came to be in Shiva’s matted locks, the snakes that are scared of Garuda seek refuge in him and adorn him, the arrogant sages of Daarukavana are humbled when shiva takes the form of a handsome mendicant that steals the hearts of the women, and subdues all the evil forces that are sent by the sages to defeat him, thus acquiring the fire, damaru, tiger skin, and deer as other ornaments. At the very end, the Gandharvas realize that Shankara is the epitome of union and separation in love, and describe his feminine and masculine aspects.

The third piece shows how youthful Parvati won the heart of Shiva, though Shiva had renounced “love” after the death of his wife Sati. This is followed by a duet that depicts the difficulties of marital life. Parvati has several complaints against Shiva, and she tells him of his inadequacies. The piece is a comical look into how wives complain and husbands always have excuses. The last piece of “Shankarabharanam” is a rhythmic exploration into the various Rhythm cycles of Classical Carnatic music. It is called a “Tani avartanam” and is dedicated to lord Ardhanareeshwara, a form of lord Shankara that depicts the beauty of the Masculine and feminine aspects in our being.

Concept and Choreography:
Rukmini Vijayakumar

Dr Shataavadani R Ganesh, Dr Shankar

D Srivatsa

Jathis Composition:
G Gurumurthy


“Krishnaa” is a traditional bharatanatyam performance that expresses the different kinds of love that people feel toward the Lord. The fist piece expresses the feelings of Yashoda as she calls out to little Krishna. The devotion of Kanakadasa, the warm friendship and awe of Arjuna toward Krishna, the pure and undeniable love of Radha for Krishna are all shown in this performance.

It is a calling out to “Krishnaa” that supreme being, who manifests in us, in our lives, as our friend, child, lover and finally becomes the “Brahman”, consciousness that we become one with.

1 hr 30 min

Solo dance

Music: Live

Kanhaaa (2010)

A Raadha Kalpa Production

A modern piece that is a beckoning to ‘you’. It is also the playful way in which Radha calls out to Krishna as a child. A site specific modern piece that is choreographed in the interpretative context of Radha, utilizing the unique surroundings of the venue of performance and drawing inspiration from the performance area, to influence our theme. Performed in NGMA as part of Raadha Festival 2010.

The Lady Of Burma

Play: The Lady of Burma
Author: Richard Shannon
Actor: Rukmini Vijayakumar
Sound Design: Pallavi Arun
Director: Prakash Belawadi

Richard Shannon’s THE LADY OF BURMA is a play set in the aftermath of the Depayin attack in Burma in 2003, an assassination attempt aimed to remove one of the greatest surviving champions of democracy in the world – Aung San Suu Kyi. As Desmond Tutu says of her: “She is my pin-up! She inspires me with her gentle determination… Men, armed to the teeth, are running scared of her… She has already won and they know they have lost.”

The Burmese leader survived the attack in which 100 of her followers were beaten to death, apparently with the full support of one of the most brutal military dictatorships in the world. Burma was ruled by fear with over 1,000 political prisoners, child soldiers, slave labour and suppression of minorities with intimidation, rape and ethnic cleansing.

Aung San Suu Kyi was put under house arrest in Rangoon in 1989, when her party NLD won a landslide victory, against all odds, in the elections. In over 20 years of detention, she lived in solitary confinement. She was not allowed to see family or friends. Her phone line was cut and her post is intercepted.

The play itself is designed as a one-actor performance and set in the hospital wing of Insein, Rangoon’s largest prison and is a journey into her memories.

Sound design for the play is by Pallavi Arun. Design and direction, by Prakash Belawadi. The play is presented by Raadha Kalpa and LshVa.

An Experimental Bharatanatyam Solo

Unrequited is inspired by the relationship between Shiva and Sati. A relationship that reflects the human complexities of love and marriage.

Web-8098 The performance utilizes the classical vocabulary of Bharatanatyam throughout the performance, but the context of usage is very different in the two halves. The same topic is explored through two very different and often opposing ideas of creation and presentation.

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Concept & Choreography: Rukmini Vijayakumar Music: Dr Rajkumar Bharathi Talattu addresses two very strong bonds of love that we share in our lives. The bond between a mother and child and the bond with a lover. The two bonds are very different and we are seen differently by these two very important people in our lives. The role of a parent is immense in the growth of a child and the emotional attachment that parents have to their offspring is incomparable. This relationship of caregiver and child is immortalised as Yashoda and Krishna in Indian mythology. Their relationship is nuanced with the complexity of Yashoda being Krishna’s adoptive parent. Yashoda’s sense of ownership is questioned when she realises that Krishna is not her own son. Talattu, addresses the complexity of this relationship and the love that permeates through this confusion. The relationship of romantic love is immortalised in the form of Radha and Krishna. Krishna leaves Vrindavan, and Radha knows that he must leave. She also knows that she will never love another again. Their love will remain forever and no matter where he goes, he will always remain with her. When Krishna leaves, he is only a child to Yashoda, and to Radha he is her pillar of strength.  


The quadruple bill explores several aspects of the traditional form of Bharatanatyam and move them into a contemporary context while shifting perspectives on approach to space, dynamics and emotive flow. The show retains the original context and vocabulary of the form, while pushing boundaries.

Bharatanatyam, has two aspects to the form. The physical movement of the body as well as a stylised theatrical story telling emotive element. The two elements often exist side by side without having anything to do with one another. The pieces in the evening’s performance will attempt to bring physicality to the otherwise purely emotive, theatrical aspects and bring raw emotion into the movements themselves. The physical vocabulary that otherwise often serves as ornamentation interspersed with theatrical expression will then become a part of the emotive narrative.

In Bharatanatyam, the physicality is developed by the creation of a series of angular shapes within space. The movement quality that is dominant is the idea of cutting through space in linear direct motion while creating these shapes within the body. The idea of momentum and movement that arises through the shifting of weight are less explored. The ancient movement system in India, with its roots in the Natyashastra, an ancient text of dramaturgy was far more curvilinear and lent itself more to the idea of playing with body weight and momentum.

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The choreographer attempts to work with the current vocabulary of Bharatanatyam and draw upon the ancient movement systems as well as contemporary thought processes to introduce the the ideas of body weight and momentum. The idea of fall and release and connecting movement through shifting weight will be explored. Thus allowing concepts in the Natyashastra as well as modern contemporary dance to shift the perspective of the initiation of movement in Bharatanatyam.

Musically and rhythmically the pieces use Carnatic music and utilize it’s rhythmic complexities to inform movement choices as is done traditionally in Bharatanatyam. The solo instrument will be explored as opposed to the constant use of an ensemble in all pieces.

Rukmini Vijayakumar

Lighting Design:
Pritham Kumar

Dr. Rajkumar Bharathi