SUCHETA CHAPEKAR: Born on 6th December 1948, to Shri.Vishwanath Bhide an artist of repute and Smt Veena a keen lover of music . Married in 1974, to Dr.Vijaykumar Chapekar an academician , who has supported and contributed to her work .
An artiste of rare individuality, Sucheta is acclaimed as one of the finest Bharat Natyam exponents. Trained in Guru Shishya tradition by such stalwarts as Acharya Parvatikumar of Bombay and Guru K.P.Kittappa of Tanjore. Sucheta considers Smt. Balasaraswati as her “Manasa Guru”.
ACADEMICS: Master of Fine Arts (Dance); Bombay University, Ph.D. ("Sangitacharya") G.D.Art (Applied Art) ;J.J.School of Arts ,eight years training in Carnatic Music from Smt. Thailambal Krishnan of Chennai.
PERFORMANCE ATTRIBUTES: Known for the purity of technique as well as innovation. Grace and perfection in pure dance, restrain and subtlety in Abhinaya (expressional dance), lilting musicality and lucid explanations mark Sucheta's performances.
SPECIAL QUALITY: During the active career span of the past forty years, Sucheta has made a distinct mark and substantial contribution as a dancer, teacher, researcher and choreographer. She has also made dedicated and consistent efforts to create knowledgeable audiences at all the levels of society for Bharata Natyam in Maharashtra through lecture demonstrations.
- THE DANCER: Consistently performing since 1964 (about ten to twenty recitals per annum ). She has given innumerable solo performances all over India and abroad in Dance festivals as well as under the aegis of various well known organizations, the important ones of which include Savai Gandharva Festival – Pune (having a distinction of performing three times in 1967 ,1992 and 2002 ), Khajuraho Festival - Madhya Pradesh, Ellora Festival - Aurangabad, Sharadotsava- Agra, Pongal Festival - Madras, Kalidas Utsava - Nagpur, Dharanikotsava – Cochin ,Ganga Mahotsav ,Varanasi etc. and National Center for Performing Arts, Nehru Center - Mumbai, Shanmukhananda , Chembur fine Arts , Tamil Sangham Bhulabhai Institute and Bharatiya Music Sabha -Mumbai, Sangeet Natak Academy, India International Center , Habitat Centre , Ashoka Theatre - New Delhi, Kala Academy - Goa, Music Academy, Krishna Gana Sabha , Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan , Narada Gana Sabha , Chennai, Sangeet Research Academy - Calcutta, Prasiddha foundation Bangalore, World Marathi Congress - Hyderabad, etc.
Her dance tours to foreign countries include Kenya ’72,78 ; London ,Paris , Rotterdam ,Munich ’79 ,Berlin Cyprus ’88 ;France ,Germany , Italy ’89 ;Australia ,New Zealand ’97 ; USA ’98 ; France 2000,02,04,06 . She commands special audiences in France , where she has four French disciples based in Paris ,Aix and Grenoble , who are professional dancers and teachers . Her delicate style and subtle Abhinaya is very much appreciated by the French audiences.
Smt. Sucheta has a special distinction of having performed in number of towns and cities of Maharashtra like Satara, Nagar, Sangli, Miraj, Kolhapur, Latur, Aurangabad, Solapur, Nashik, Badlapur, Jalgaon, Nanded, Buldhana----the list is endless . These performances with explanations in Marathi, have helped greatly in introducing and popularizing classical dance viz. Bharata Natyam among the music loving audiences of Maharashtra.
She is a top-grade artiste of Doordarshan (Indian Television) and has been featured in national and regional programs of Doordarshan several times. She has written and presented special Marathi programmes on themes like inter-relationship of Arts and Nayika through performing arts as well as a popular series of thirteen programmes to introduce classical dance to children for Mumbai Doordarshan . Apart from this , she has written ,directed and presented for Educational Media Research Centre ,Pune University ,four different TV serials viz. 1) Personality Development through Dance . 2) Pimpalpan ( on Tanjavur Maratha Rulers’ contribution to Bharat Natyam . 3) Language of gestures (on classical dance appreciation ) 4) Genesys of ‘NRITYA GANGA’ ( on her creative work –synthesis of Bharata Natyam and Hindustani Music ).
She is empanelled as “outstanding artiste” with ICCR, New Delhi .
SUCHETA - THE TEACHER: With an urge to share her knowledge she started teaching since past twenty-five years. In order to systematize and expand this activity of dance training, “Kalavardhini Charitable Trust” with the motto of “Art for art ,Art for self and Art for life” was founded in 1988 . A five year basic certificate course, as well as two years of advance course with a written syllabus and an yearly examination structure was formulated and strictly implemented by Sucheta . Because of this, today Kalavardhini courses are being taught at thirty institutions all over Maharashtra and Goa . To ensure the quality , the working of all these branches is monitored regularly.
Sucheta is a teacher with a unique idea that teaching should not be a discourse but a dialogue. This not only ensures clarity about the various aspects but also encourages creativity among the students. This makes her a popular and accomplished teacher with a lively tradition. She is also a visiting professor at the faculty of Performing Arts, Pune University right from its inception. She has trained a number of talented young dancers, teachers and choreographers, like Mrs Smita Mahajan and Ms. Nilima Kadhe. Her daughter disciple Mrs. Arundhati Patwardhan has established her own identity as a performer, teacher and choreographer. Her disciples also include professional dancers from abroad for whom she conducts intensive residential courses in Pune as well as group workshops abroad. She and her accomplished disciples have formed “Kalavardhini Sankul”, a Dance Troupe . The institution also imparts training in all the aspects of dance presentation like make up, costumes, lighting, sound, and stage decor etc.
- THE RESEARCH SCHOLAR: has made a valuable contribution to Bharat Natyam repertoire through her research and presentation of the hereto unknown Marathi compositions of the Tanjore Maratha rulers (17th to 19th century). She was introduced to this area of research by her guru Acharya Parvatikumar , who had done exhaustive study of King Sarfoji's contribution . Sucheta went furthering the same line of research and unearthed some rare Marathi, Hindi and Sanskrit compositions of King Shahaji from the hidden treasures of Saraswati Mahal Library of Tanjavur.In this research she was fortunate to get invaluable guidance from Dr.V.Raghavan and Guru Kittappa. For this work, she had received a special grant from Sangeet Natak Akadami . Her articles on this and other aspects of dance in English, Marathi and Hindi have been published in journals, periodicals & books. Her book ‘Nrityatmika' which is a collection of essays on variety of all - encompassing aspects of classical dance is published by Continental publishers Pune. It is a first book of it's kind in Marathi. She has also read papers and given lecture demonstrations in prestigious conferences. Aided by a grant from The council for historical research, New Delhi she has done extensive work on the dance sculptures of medieval period in Maharashtra in relation to the Natyashastra tradition.
SUCHETA: THE CHOREOGRAPHER: Sucheta's repertoire is vast. To the traditional compositions learned from her Gurus she has added a number of pieces in all the languages and types. In her new creative style 'Nritya Ganga' she has choreographed more than 75 compositions and is ever adding new to it. With the additional insight obtained by the study of drawing, painting and sculpture Sucheta has developed a new style of group choreography and Kalavadhini Sankul productions like ‘Nayika’and ‘Leeladaru’ are the result. Since 1997 Sucheta has successfully ventured into contemporary choreography. A full-fledged group production "From Darkness to Dawn" conceived and directed by her is based on Pt. Nehru's famous book "Discovery of India" and the production accentuates the ancient Indian cultural values. Sucheta's choreography and performance of two of the Rabindranath Tagore's poems presented as part of "Battery dance company, New York's production 'Songs of Tagore' have been praised for its beauty, grace and expression. The year 2005, saw Sucheta break a new ground as a choreographer through “An Ode to Nature”. This 70 minute production, under the aegies of Alliance France du Poona, brought together three different dance techniques viz. the classical ballet, the contemporary and classical Indian . This turned out to be a rewarding experience for everybody.
WON BY SUCHETA INCLUDE: "Maharashtra Gaurav" State
Govt.'s top award for excellence in the field of dance.
"Nritya Vilas" - by Sur Singar Sansad, Mumbai.
''S.L.Gadre' award - Maharashtra Seva Sangh, Mulund, Mumbai.
'Mahila-Jeevan Gourav' award (Life time achievement award) by Stree
Vimochan Trust - Pune'.
“Pune’s Pride” by Rotary Club, Pune.
National Award of Sangeet Natak Academy, New Delhi, 2007, for rare contribution & excellence in BharataNatyam.
SUCHETA'S NEW CREATION - "NRITYA GANGA”:
(A Synthesis of Bharat Natyam and Hindustani Classical Music)
Bharat Natyam has always been synonymous with Carnatic (South Indian) music and Tamil, Telugu and Kannada languages. Sucheta was always enamoured by the beauty of Bharata Natyam. However she was also aware that she was not able to get the audiences in other parts of India involved and relish the beauty of this style. She therefore took the first step of giving performances of Bharat Natyam with Marathi compositions in Maharashtra. No doubt, the fact that the compositions were in Marathi did bring some awareness among the Maharashtrian people regarding Bharata Natyam. It was then that the realization came to her that just a change in language was not adequate for the purpose she had in mind. The inspiration for blending Bharat Natyam with Hindustani Classical Music came from Sucheta's understanding of this fact. It made her aware that the synthesis of Bharat Natyam and Hindustani Classical Music was the need of the present times, when Bharat Natyam is emerging as an all India style.
It was a colossal task, but she took up this challenge. She started the study and practical experiments on this project since 1980. While achieving this synthesis, she wanted to keep intact the purity and original values of the dance form as well as music. She did not want it to be a translation or a transplant. She wanted the soul of Bharat Natyam to take roots in the system of Hindustani Classical Music so that the newly sown seed and its sapling would have it's own identity and individuality while assimilating the important and beautiful aspects of the Bharat Natyam dance and the Hindustani music system. To achieve this, the soul of Bharat Natyam needed to be redefined and a new format of Hindustani music compositions evolved to present it in a proper manner.
Realising that there can not be Parampara without Shastra she has compiled it in the form an exhaustive treatise .She has analysed her work in the form of a thesis , which is rewarded with a Ph.D . In this work she has received guidance from stalwarts like late Dr.vasantrao Deshpande , Dr.Prabha Atre , late shri Madhukar Khadilkar and late Pt Arjun shejwal as well as Dr.Vijaykumar Chapekar.
She has conceived the recital format of NRITYA-GANGA parallel to the traditional Bharat Natyam recital. It begins with NAMAN - an invocation followed by PRASTAR - a pure dance composition in slow tempo. SARGAM emphasizes various patterns of musical notes while ABHINAYA constitutes elaborate treatment of interpretative as well as pure dance. ASHTAMANGAL is a novel pure dance piece paying tribute to the guardians of eight directions while traditional TARANA offers a joyous bouquet of pure dance patterns. Apart from this the recital also includes some typical forms of Hindustani music like CHATRANG, THUMRI, DADRA AND BHAJAN. The themes of the compositions are chosen in such a way that it gives experience of the emotion of love through all it's facets of Vatsalya (motherly love), Rati (sensuous love) and Bhakti (devotion) and creates tranquility of mind. The musical instruments chosen for accompaniment are Pakhawaj, Sarangi and Basuri along with the vocal music. Nritya-Ganga repertoire today includes over seventy-five compositions of various types and Sucheta is constantly adding more to them.
In the new nomenclature of Nritya-Ganga given to this dance form by Sucheta, the word signifies the flow of tradition that is never stagnant. Ganga is the holy river revered by all Indians, which symbolizes the North-South integration achieved through this recital.
Smt. Sucheta performed the inaugural performances of Nritya-Ganga in Bombay and Pune way back in April 1985. There have been improvements, additions and modifications over last two decades to achieve fine tuning and perfection. Since then, she has staged over 150 performances of Nritya-Ganga, both in India and abroad.
The knowledgeable feel that Nritya-Ganga has certainly added a new dimension to Bharat Natyam and has made it more enjoyable for the lay as well as the discerning audiences all over India, without compromising on it's highly artistic values.
Maharashtra has been a cultural bridge between north and south. Sucheta feels that by creating Nritya-Ganga, she has strengthened this bridge through dance! Now that her disciples of three generations have learned this dance style and more and more students are learning it, and this combined with the fact that audiences including those in Southern states are enjoying it with involvement, one can say with all humility that a sister style of Bharata Natyam is born .
THE PRESS SAYS :
THE INDIAN EXPRESS, MUMBAI
“FOR YEARS TOGETHER SUCHETA HAS NOT ONLY PRESERVED A LITHE FIGURE AND A LOVELY , EXPRESSIVE CONTENANCE , BUT ALSO THAT SPIRIT OF EAGER ENQUIRY , WHICH KEEPS HER EVOLVING AS A CREATIVE DANCER ………………”
THE TIMES OF INDIA , PUNE
“THIS UNIQUE EXPERIMENT, NRITYA GANGA, HAS OVER THE YEARS, MATURED INTO A DANCE STYLE, HAVING ITS OWN INDIVIDUALITY, WAS MORE THAN EVIDENT IN SUCHETA’S DELIGHTFUL RECITAL……………..”
TIMES SUNDAY REVIEW, NEW DELHI
“THE ONE DANCER WHO MOVED ME MOST WAS SUCHETA. SHE IS SO SOFT, PASSIONATE AND HONEST ……………” BY SUSANNE LINKE, CONTMPORARY DANCER FROM GERMANY ABOUT EAST WEST DANCE ENCOUNTER.”
SRUTI MAGAZINE , CHENNAI
“SUCHETA’S BHARATA NATYAM TO HINDUSTNI MUSIC HAS ONE EXCEPTIONALLY GOOD QUALITY. THE DANCE AND MUSIC SEEM INSEPARABLE LIKE A FLOWER AND ITS FRAGRANCE…….. . IT IS AN ALCHEMY BEYOND ART ARTIFICE . IT IS SOMETHING THAT SPRINGS FROM WITHIN .”
FIRST CITY MAGAZINE , CALCUTTA
“ NRITYA GANGA PRESENTATION BY SUCHETA HELD THE AUDIENCE IN RAPT ATTENTION . UNLIKE OTHER DANCERS, WHO BUILD A LOT OF HYPE OVER MINOR “CREATIONS, SUCHETA SIMPLY LET HER DANCE SPEAK FOR ITSELF MOST EFFECTIVELY.”
SHRAD SATHE presents the quintessence of a musical tradition
Sharad Sathe, born February 18,1932, began his rigorous formal musical training in the hallowed guru-shishya tradition with Pandit D.V. Paluskar, son of the famous missionary-musician Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar. He had the opportunity to travel extensively and perform with his guru at several concerts.
After Pandit Paluskar's premature death in October 1955 Sharad Sathe's quest for a guru brought him to Bombay in 1956, where he continued his studentship under the well-known musicologist, Prof. B.R. Deodhar for nearly a decade. A recipient of a Government of India scholarship, Sharad Sathe graduated with the
Sangeet Visharad degree of the 'Gandharva Mahavidyalaya in 1961 with honors. He learnt from Prof. Deodhar a variety of compositions in several lesser- known ragas.
It was after 1966, when he became a disciple of Pandit Sharadchandra Arolkar, a veteran vocalist of the Gwalior school, that Sharad Sathe's talent and musicianship acquired depth, maturity and anew dimension. Pandit Arolkar gave him a new insight into the ideological base of the Gwalior gayaki and handed down to him several rare compositions in khayals in siddha ragas as well as tappas and taranas. The polished grace and depth of expression evident in Sharad Sathe's musicianship are the result of his advanced training and refinement under Pandit Arolkar.
Today, Sharad Sathe is a vocalist who has made a mark on the contemporary musical scene through diligent practice, informed study and assimilation. Although a follower of the Gwalior gayaki, Sharad Sathe is an eclectic musician who has kept his mind and ears open to the best that other schools have to offer. Besides khayals, his repertoire includes tappas, taranas and bhajans. A regular performer over the All India Radio and Television networks, Sharad Sathe has been participating in various sangeet sammelans and concerts allover the country. It was a rare honor for him when, in 1972, he was specially invited to sing for the Films Division documentary on Vishnu Digambar Paluskar.
After a successful concert tour of USA in 1985, he was appointed as a resident professor of vocal music at the London center of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in 1986-87. He toured UK again in 1989,1993 and Dubai, Bahrain in 1993 for his concerts.
Sangeet Research Academy, Calcutta and National Center for the Performing Arts, Bombay have recorded Sharad Sathe for their archives. Recording companies like Magnasound and Swarashri have published Sathe's recording on cassettes.
In 1996, Pandit Sathe was invited by University of Washington, Seattle, USA for archival recordings of rare and soon to be extinct variety. This was followed by another successful tour of USA.
Sharad Sathe is a keen organizer dedicated to the cause of music and arts. He is currently the President of Dadar Matunga Cultural Center ( DMCC), a premier institution dedicated to the promotion of culture.
A Science graduate of the Pune University, Sharad Sathe is an accomplished commercial artist as well