Dr. Vedantam Ramalinga Sastry


Dr. Vedantam Ramalinga Sastry, a respected teacher, performer, choreographer and theorist, was born in Kuchipudi, the village in Andhra Pradesh after which this classical-dance form is named. His father was dancer-teacher Vedantam Suryanarayana, and his uncle was Nritya Vachaspati Vedantam Parvatheesham, who wrote treatises on dance. Another uncle was the great dancer, Vedantam Sathyanarayana Sharma, famed for his superb female-impersonation. Sastry learnt abhinaya from him. The legendary Vempatti Chinna Sathyam had a deep influence on their family.

Dr. Vedantam Ramalinga Sastry, composed his own first dance ballet, “Bhookailasam” –– lyrics, music, choreography and all, at age 13. He studied five-year Bhasha Praveena course in Telugu as he had realized that command of the language and knowledge of its literature was essential to good scripting of ballets and for effective teaching. Dr. Vedantam Ramalinga Sastry began teaching dance from the age of 20, and set up a dance school in Vijayawada. Later, he relocated to Hyderabad, accepting a job in Indian Railways, and studied M.A. and Ph.d. in Telugu at Osmania University. He continued composing ballets, writing, teaching and performing. Today, he has a record number of over 60 ballets to his credit, covering all Kuchipudi elements, and also theme-songs for many cultural organizations in India and abroad.

Dr. Vedantam Ramalinga Sastry spearheaded the Guinness-World-Record creating ‘Largest Kuchipudi Dance' event of 2008 organised by Silicon Andhra in USA which featured over 300 dancers spanning five generations. He regularly gives lecture-demonstrations and conducts workshops across India and abroad. He has also helped formulate dance-related syllabi. His first book (doctoral thesis) was “Telugulo Kuchipudi Nataka Vikasam”, while the second one “Kuchipudi Vyaasa Manjari” examines the grammar of this art-form, its evolution, social elements, relation with Yakshagana, etc. He has also part-authored “Brahmana Sarvasvam” on dance.

Dr. Vedantam Ramalinga Sastry was awarded with " Ugadi Puraskar" from the State Government, recieved fellowship from Human Resource Development (Govt of India), awarded with Doctorate from Osmania University of Hyderabad, honored with Natya Ratna, Natya Samrat and other awards by various cultural organizations. Recently, he had been conferred with the most prestigious awards of all, the Sangeet Natak Academy award in the field of Kuchipudi dance, for the year of 2012. Today, Dr. Vedantam Ramalinga Sastry serves as the Principal of Sidhendra Kuchipudi Natyakalapeetham in Kuchipudi.