“Aniruddha Knight is the direct inheritor of the traditional style of dance and music that was codified two hundred years ago at the Royal Court of Thanjavur in southern India. He is a ninth generation performer from southern India’s oldest continuous family style of music and dance. Ani was born in Madras in 1980, and has grown up living in both India and the US. He learned and began performing in a traditional environment, as a daily matter within the home. From his infancy, he was constantly surrounded by the singing of members of South India’s most honored and prestigious artistic family. Ani’s great-great grandmother, Vina Dhanammal, is still considered by many to be the most influential Indian musician of the 20th century, even though she died in 1938. His grandmother is the legendary exponent of Indian dance, T. Balasaraswati. Ani learned bharata natyam from his distinguished mother Lakshmi Knight. He studied the family musical repertoire with his mother; his great-uncle, Sangita Kalanidhi and National Heritage Fellow, T. Viswanathan; and his great-aunt T. Muktha. Currently he is learning singing with his mother’s cousin, T. Vegavahini, daughter of T. Brinda.
The traditional style Ani performs is distinctly different from the popular style of bharata natyam so well known today as India’s most recognizable cultural export. It follows principles of form and choreography, and is performed with music, that have been practiced and passed on within professional artistic families since its codification. Ani’s interpretation of the narrative aspect of the dance is guided by the same sensibilities that guided his grandmother. His elegant musicianship, the clarity and strength of his hands and footwork, and the power he brings to a physically understated style of dance have established him as the rightful heir to South India’s most distinguished family legacy.
Ani accompanied his mother as a musician from 1993 to 2000. After his dance debut at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in 1997, he was profiled by Newsweek magazine as one of sixteen “Daylight’s Children”, young Indians who excelled in various disciplines and were “expected to influence the course of culture, politics, and economics in India during the next fifty years”. Among other honors, in February of 2003 the title of “Natyam Kalamani”, the “Pearl of the Art of Dancing”, was conferred upon Ani by the Monastic order of the Sankaracharaya of Kanchipuram.
He will be inaugurating the Balasaraswathi-Scripps Institute of Performing Arts (B-SIPA) in Chennai on January 20,2008.
His institute welcomes students who are interested in learning Bharathanatyam from the Blaasaraswathi Parampara.
For More Information:
Aniruddha Knigt, Director, B-Sipa
Venue:Ragha Sudha,”Nada Inbam” Mylapore
- Tamil Magazine Kalki