Dance guru, nattuvanar K. J. Sarasa passes away

Senior Bharatnatyam guru and nattuvanar K J Sarasa passed away on January 2 morning at a hospital in Chennai. Sarasa had been ailing for some time and was hospitalised recently. She was 78.

She is survived by her sisters. She lived in Rani Annadurai Street, Mandaveli, south Chennai. Dance gurus and artistes visited her home and paid their respects.

Sarasa followed the Vazhuvoor style of Bharatanatyam. She was responsible for the arangetrams of over 1000 dance students, a rare record.

Many stalwarts in dance like Vyjayanthimala Bali, Urmila Satyanarayana, the Travancore Sisters and Baby Kamala performed under her or learnt from her.

She was said to be the first woman nattuvanar. Sarasa, who hailed from Karaikal came under the tutelage of Vazhuvoor Ramaiah Pillai and joined him when he shifted base to Madras.

Though she was keen to dance in her youth days, she was advised to master the art of nattuvangam and went on to be one of the best gurus and nattuvanars of her time.

Her students say that she was simple and straight and enjoyed what she did till the end.

She was decorated with the TN state’s Kalaimamani award and the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi award given by the India government.