Music & Dance Season in Chennai

Chennai stages one of the World's largest cultural events, the Madras Music Season in December of every year. Over 2000 music and dance performances, mostly Carnatic Music and Bharata Natyam,take place in Chennai during December. Over 200,000 rasikas attend these performances. Carnatic Music is considered one of the oldest systems of music in the world. The origin of Carnatic music or the South Indian classical music can be traced back to the age of vedas . Bharata's Natya Sastra, from around the 5th century A.D. and Saranga Deva's Sangita Ratnakara, from the early13th century A.D., are considered the to be the earliest recorded documents available on the theory and performance of Indian classical music. Carnatic Music became very popular in South India through the great compositions of the "Trinity", Thyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Shastri, the three saint composers of the 19th century . Several thousands of Krithis composed by these Composers dominate the Carnatic Music scene even today. Carnatic Music has a rich heritage that is perfectly attuned with Indian culture and religion. The concept of the compositions are set mostly against a devotional outline.

Bharata Natyam, like Carnatic Music, is the most popular dance form in South India. It is one of the oldest classical dance forms of India. It is traditional and known for its grace, purity and tenderness. It uplifts the dancer and the beholder to a higher level of spiritual consciousness. The dancer is considered as a worshiper of the Divine, an embodiment of beauty, charm and gracefulness. Bharata Natyam is the essence of Bhava(expression),Raga (music), Tala (rhythm) and Natyam (dance).

Alarmel Valli is one of India's best classical dancers. She is the foremost exponent of the Pandanallur style of Bharatnatyam and also her own distinctive style. She is the founder of 'Dipashikha', a centre for fine arts in Chennai, established in 1984, where she teaches Bharatnatyam. She has trained several dancers who are in the forefront today. In 1991, Alarmel Valli was the second youngest dancer to be conferred the President's award of Padmashri after Vyjayanthimala. She received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2001, followed by Padma Bhushan by Govt. of India in 2004. She has performed in all the leading festivals around the world and she can be truly described as India's Cultural Ambassador.

Murali Raghavan
Convenor, Trinity Arts Festival of India 2015
23rd November 2012