Rajashree Warrier

Rajashree Warrier
Rajashree Warrier

Noted for her extraordinary vision in conceptualization and choreography, Dr. Rajashree Warrier is one of India's foremost Bharatanatyam dancers. Her journey as a self-reliant choreographer and dancer started long ago. Acclaimed as a renowned Guru, she is much sought after for her impeccable abhinaya and sensitive choreographies adhering to classical norms and beyond. Her in-depth musical knowledge and intuitive writing skills add immense beauty to her creative works. She keeps spreading the classical aesthetic of Bharatanatyam through her interactions and workshops conducted across the globe.

Unparalleled as a visionary, her distinct ability to infuse a musical quality into the choreography has enabled her to be a prominent name in the competitive world of Bharatanatyam despite being a permanent resident of Kerala. Her contributions towards the art form have undoubtedly instilled inspiration to many an upcoming dancer in her field. Owing to her immense dedication towards Bharatanatyam as a dancer, teacher, and choreographer for over three decades, Rajashree has received numerous accolades to vouch for her mastery over the craft. She is a shining cultural beacon who inspires the world with her passion for dance and its many ways of articulation. Her creativity and thirst for excellence are a celebration of art and have transformed her into the defining voice of Bharatanatyam in this era.

Beginnings in Music

Her affair with Indian classical dance began with Bharatanatyam, where her mentors were Guru V Mythili, and Guru Jayanthi Subramaniam, who earmarked her as a once-in-a-generation talent. Her lifelong love for Carnatic music is a product of the tutelage of Sri Mullamudu Harihara Iyer, Sri Perumbavoor G. Raveendranath, Padmashri Vidushi Parassala Ponnammal, and Guru B. Sasikumar. These maestros honed her superlative skills, imbibing a love for teaching, studying, and disseminating Indian Classical music to the masses. Her extraordinary aptitude and passion for the arts have led to her groundbreaking career success.

Style and Appeal

Renowned for her peerless histrionic skills and intuitive musical ideas, her rigorous training sessions are highly sought after. Her versatility and creativity are evident in her Sampradayam, which draws from both the Vazhavoor and Pandanallur styles, as she believes Bharatanatyam has no fixed boundaries. She strives to reinvent the art form by drawing comparisons between social issues of the past and modern-day ills. Her source material is never constrained or stagnant; instead, she has leapfrogged many of her contemporaries by constantly evolving and drawing inspiration from a wide range of material.

She believes in concentrating solely on the artform and rejects the tendency to stick to exclusively standardized renditions. Her unique approach embodies a stronger bond with the Sahrudyas via their art. She masterfully melds the worlds of dance and music into an amalgamation that epitomizes a true artisan's powerful will.

Achievements

Her performances are odes to the simple pleasure of pursuing your heart's desire. She draws on her audiences' needs, providing them with a reprieve from the rigors of routine. She introduced Nattumozhi, which added regional or colloquial words into the performance. This act helped her build a deeper bond with her viewers, who have followed her career with dedication and reverence for decades.

A ' TOP Grade' artist of Dooradarshan in Bharatanatyam, Dr. Rajashree Warrier is an empaneled artist of ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations). She is also a writer on arts and musician. She holds PhD in Music for her study of Varnas in Dual Forms: Tana Varnas and Pada Varnas from Department of music, Faculty of fine arts, Kerala University. She is the founder director of UTTARIKA, Centre for Performing Arts focusing on Research and training in Bharatanatyam, Carnatic Music and Experimental Theatre. Rajashree has written two books, 'Narthaki' published by DC Books on Nov 2013 and 'Nruthakala' compiled by Chintha Publications (2011). She is also a post graduate diploma holder in Journalism from The Institute of Journalism, Press Club, Thiruvananthapuram.

Rajashree has given performances in many major venues in India and abroad. Her dance productions holds testimony to her in depth knowledge in dance,music and literature . Acclaimed as a creative artist whose work reveals the infinite spaces within the traditional form, Rajashree Warrier bases her dance on the principle that Bharatanatyam is a superbly evocative language where the dancer who has mastered and internalised the idiom can write her personal dance poetry. She has enriched her dance vocabulary and extended the frontiers of her dance tradition to evolve her own distinctive style . Her work, while remaining within the framework of classical Indian Dance, is contemporary in its interpretation, dynamics and continuously evolving. Initiated into classical dance and music at a tender age, Rajashree is lucky to learn under teachers who inspired her. Training under Guru V Maithili laid the early design to a splendid vocation. Later the erudite Jayanthi Subramaniam inspired the sublimities of Bharatanatyam in her formative years. She holds a brilliant and varied body of choreographic master pieces. She has scripted and directed several  documentaries for malayalam television. 

Major Choreographies

Aparajitha the ever - enduring (On the hyphenated lives of women)

Vatavruksha : On beings - the life - cycle of seasons - birth and death

Bhagothi chinthu : as part of ' naattu mozhi - Vernacular ' series

Kauthwams Shikhandi kauthwam - a commentary on the first gender

Navarasa kauthwam - depicting moments from epic Mahabharata

Compositions of Sree narayana Guru:
Kali natakam, Pinda nandi, Darshana mala, Padams of Muthu thandavar, Ghanam Krishnayyer, Annamacharanya, Sadasiva bramendra, Purandaradasa, Kshetrajna

Interpretations :

Poems of - Lal ded, Kabir

Lankalaksmi - Adaptation of Malayalam play by C N Sreekantan Nair.

ABHIJNA - a Retro ,is an adaptation of poet Prabha Varma's 'CHITRANGANA.Sakuntala Sairandhri and Yashoda revisit their past.They voice the life they lived .But disown the projected image.


TESS - Based on Thomas Hardy's celebrated novel Tess of the Durbervilles.Drawing parallels between womanhood in the victorian era and in the 21st century,the production was premiered at India Habitat Centre ,Newdelhi.

GREAT INDIAN STORIES- A sixty part video series recounting fables from The Panchatantra and Jataka tales thru nrutta nrutya and natya.

Neela Varnam - Eight compositions of Lord Kirshna in Bharatanatyam.
Vocal, Choreography and presentation.

Ashtaiswaryam elaborates the eight equalities that can be achieved through deep meditation and is associated with the life of Lord Krishna.

Ashtapatni is based on the concept of Ashtau vallabha as depicted in Bhagavatam Dasama Scandam Uttarardham.

Transforming lives : Based on the trilogy Fire, Water and Earth.

Swathi Smrithi, a margam on the compositions of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal.

Raas : An excerpt from Narayaneeyam.

Madhavam : On Madhavan or Lord Vishnu, the preserver among the trinity. It tries to detail the celebration of life in its distinctive modes of evolution.

Shades of Love : A thematic production on the romantic sojourn of a woman (nayika or heroine).

Compositions of Tyagaraja, Muthuswami Deekshithar, Syamasastri, Bharatiyar

Bharatanatyam productions based on the musical compositions of Dr. M Balamurali Krishna.

Bharatanatyam productions based on the rare padams of Irayimman Thampi.

Bharatanatyam productions based on Ravanakruta Shivatandava Stotram.

Awards and Honours

Dr. Rajashree Warrier's journey has received recognition from many quarters. During her tenure at Kerala University in the early '90s, she swept all major dance titles. As she progressed into the professional sphere, her productions attracted widespread respect and acknowledgment. These include the Devdasi National Award (2014), Kalasree Title and Kerala Sangita Nataka Academy award (2013), and the Mahila Tilak Title and Award conferred by the Social Welfare Department, Government of Kerala (2012). She also won the prestigious VS Sharma Endowment Award from Kerala Kalamandalam in 2013. She is the founder-director of 'UTTARIKA, Centre for Performing Arts,' where Bharatanatyam training and research are prioritized.  She is supervisor to research scholars in dance at the prestigious Kerala Kalamandalam


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