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Home Cover Features Imbibing Heritage

Imbibing Heritage

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Imbibing Heritage

Citizens must come forward and utilise the facilities provided by the State Government to learn Music and Dance at nominal rates. One need not study to make a career out of it, but learn to increase knowledge. The three Govt. Music and Dance Colleges in the city offer four-year Certificate and two-year Diploma Courses. Learn to become a Cultural Envoy

Music and dance break all barriers. Children as young as five years are singing and dancing on reality shows. Parents are encouraging them to take part in these shows as it gives the little Masters to exhibit their talent. Who knows these Wonder Kids may become tomorrow’s Super Stars. To hone the talent of art lovers, the Telangana Government is doing yeoman service on this front.

In the City of Pearls, the Department of Language and Culture runs three colleges, namely Sri Thyagaraja Government College of Music and Dance at Ramkote, Sri Bhakta Ramdas Government College of Music and Dance at West Marredpally, and Sri Annamacharya College of Music and Dance at Gudimalkapur. The criteria to learn Music or Dance in these colleges is that a person should be 10 years old. Even a 70-year-old ‘young’ student can learn any art form. In short it satisfies one’s unfulfilled desires if any. If a person was busy with his job or academics and is keen to pursue art forms now, he/she can enroll.

According to Director Mamidi Hari Krishna, “In the State, there are four music and dance colleges and two schools that come under the Department of Language and Culture of Telangana. In schools, Certificate Course is taught by assistant lecturers, whereas, in colleges, Certificate is followed by Diploma course (equal to a graduate course), which is taught by senior lecturers. Every year, these colleges and schools conduct half yearly and annual examinations in the month of December and April respectively. Final Certificate and Diploma examination is conducted by the PS Telugu University every year,” the director said.

Imbibing Heritage

Since the formation of Telangana State, Music and Dance is being promoted. The State is hosting many international and national cultural events. Hari Krishna says that Sri Thyagaraja Government College of Music and Dance at Ramkote, is the only college, which has its own building.

“All other colleges are functioning from rented buildings. Plans are on to ensure that these colleges have their own buildings. For one of the Music and Dance colleges in Nizamabad, I have spoken to the collector to allocate land to build a music and dance college,” he says. To promote arts and drive away fear factor from the students, Hari Krishna has asked the colleges to hold monthly and annual programmes. He says for holding the monthly programmes, the Department pays Rs. 10,000 per month and for the annual Rs. 1,00,000 per annum. “The college can hold the annual event at any function hall near the college, so that the residents in the area know that such a college exists and many must come forward to join to learn,” he says. The Director believes that there should be knowledge expansion. “I have also asked the colleges to conduct guest and expert lectures,” Hari Krishna states.

Not to take a ‘NO’ for an answer, Hari Krishna did not rest till Sri Annamacharya College of Music and Dance was shifted from its old location in the Old City to Gudimalkapur. He began his efforts, since the State was formed, but it took three years to take  shape. “Shifting of the college to the new building in October 2016 has paid rich dividends. The college, which was established in 1996, in the Old City, did not have more than 101 students at any given point of time all these years as the surroundings were unhygienic. But with the shifting of the college, nearly 500 students have taken admission,” says Hari Krishna.

The director feels that every district must have a Cultural Complex spread over 1,000 acre land, with establishment of Music and Dance Colleges along with an auditorium in it. “In short, if the college wants it can hold its events there and art lovers can head to the place for enjoying cultural events. “The Cultural Complexes should come up in at least 10 districts,” he says.

Imbibing Heritage

Hari Krishna shares that there are 50 teachers in six colleges. He says that Syllabus is under revision according to the changed perspective. “A committee has been constituted to revise the Syllabus. There are many Vaagyakaars, who have written five to 800 keertans and some of them have been brought to the limelight and they need to be promoted. Selected Bhakta Ramdas keertans are sung, which can be expanded,” he says. The director says since he has assumed charge, he has ensured that cultural programmes are held at the Ravindra Bharathi regularly. “Today, Lalitkala Toranam has become a centre for Workshops, while Cinevaram, a platform for budding film directors/actors is held every Saturday, Theatre Workshops and light classical music sessions every Wednesday at Hall 1,” Hari Krishna says.

With Perini gaining importance as State dance, it has been introduced in Music and Dance Colleges from this academic year. “The government has recruited six Perini teachers to teach the students,” the director says.  One of the oldest colleges, Sri Thyagaraja Government College of Music and Dance was established in the year 1952.The college is spread over very large area with numerous classrooms. The college has completed 64 years of service successfully and offers both South Indian and North Indian styles of music and dance. The college has been served by great artists as principals.

Sri Thyagaraja Government College of Music and Dance, Principal C Munni Kumar says that the Certificate Course is for a period of four years, followed by Diploma course, which is two year course. Kumar says that students who have passed out from here are gainfully employed as lecturers/teachers, at AIR, Railways to name a few. He says that students studying here get an opportunity to showcase their talent at State Government functions.

“Carnatic Vocal is a popular course at Sri Thyagaraja Government College of Music and Dance, Ramkote. The others are Hindustani Vocal, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Violin and Veena. For all the six years, there are nearly 100 students for flute,” Kumar says. He quickly adds that there are not many students for Mridangam.

Speaking about stalwarts from the college, Kumar says that the first names that come to mind are Kuchipudi legends Raja & Radha Reddy, Alekhya Punjala, Saptapadi film fame Sabitha etc. “Our college has been part of shooting of many movies, one of them being ‘Sagara Sangamam’, directed by K. Viswanath. In this movie, some of our lecturers have also participated,” he says. Some of the famous artists who have worked as lecturers in the college are Akella Mallikarjuna Sarma, Nedunuri Krishna Murthy, Hyderabad Sisters Lalitha and Haripriya, Vasa Padmanabham and Dr. Uma Rama Rao.

The college offers Certificate course of four years and Diploma course of two years duration in 14 disciplines. They are Hindustani Vocal, Sitar, Tabla, Kathak Dance, Carnatic Vocal, Carnatic Violin, Veena, Mridangam, Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Perini, Dolu, Nadaswaram and Flute. “The academic year is from July to April. And admissions take place in July every year. During admission process, potential student is tested for basic aptitude in the discipline he or she is interested in such as vocal, instrument, and dance. Since music and dance is important to all age groups our college gives admissions to students from 10 years of age,” he says.

Imbibing Heritage

College staff participates every year in all important state government functions such as Batukamma Celebrations, Ugadi Celebrations, Independence Day, Telangana Formation Day celebrations, Gandhi Jayanti, Vardanthi, Late Prime Minister P.V. Narsimha Rao Jayanthi and Vardanthi Sri Kaloji Birthday, and Sri Dasarathi Rangacharya Jayanthi. Every year, the college celebrates its annual day. “Every year, we also perform Sri Thyagaraja Aradhana as our college is named after Sri Thyagaraja swamy. Recently, our staff visited Nelakondapally in Khammam district and participated in Sri Bhadrachala Ramadasu jayanthi celebrations,” Kumar says. The College Principal pleaded that the building needs fresh coat of paint and some urgent repairs.

The Govt. School of Music and Dance, Secunderabad was upgraded as Govt. College of Music and Dance, Secunderabad in 1966. Sri Nookala Chinna Satyanarayana was the Principal of the college. The Certificate and Diploma courses were introduced in the year 1970. The college has Carnatic Vocal, Carnatic Veena, Violin, Kuchipudi Dance, Perini, Mridangam, Hindustani Vocal, Sitar and Tabla courses. However, it is not offering Bhartanatyam.

Principal Kandukuri Varalakshmiamma says that the college shifted to new premises with independent building on rent at West Marredpally in the year 1980. “The college has been renamed Sri Bhaktha Ramadasu Govt. College of Music and Dance,” she says. Varalakshmiamma shares that for the convenience of all students, exams are held on a Sunday. Theory and Practical papers carry 100 marks each.  “The students are taught practical and theory lessons too. Before enrolling a student, we ask them to sing or perform just to assess the tone quality. But, one thing we keep in mind is that if a student has come to learn that means it is a blessing from his previous birth,” she says.

Currently, the strength in all six years is approximately 500 students across all art forms. Pawan Kumar, Perini dance teacher says that Perini Nrityam is Telangana dance form. “It originated and prospered In Telangana during Kakatiya Dynasty. It is believed that in ancient times this was performed before the soldiers set to war. “Nataraja Ramakrishna was the person who revived this art form recently. Perini dance form was developed at the time of Ganapathi deva, the king of Kakatiya Empire,” Pawan says.

Imbibing Heritage

The SBR College principal shares that they had a three-day performance at Sri Ram Dasu birth place at Nelakondapally in Khammam district on January 31, February 1 & 2 this year and in the college premises on February 3. This helps the college to pay respects to the saint as the college has been named after him.

Students, who have learnt in the Government Colleges  have been appointed as lecturers too. They are T. Sharada, Violin lecturer, S. Anaji Rao, Asst. Lecturer in Vocal, P Ramchandra Sarma, Asst. Lecturer in Mridangam, M. Panduranga Rao, Asst. Lecturer in Sitar, T.V. Ravikanth, Asst. Lecturer in Tabla. Anil Kumar, Asst. Lecturer in Carnatic Violin. P. Jayalakshmi, appointed as Asst. Lecturer in Veena. Sri Rama Chandra, who won the Indian Idol award, in 2010, was a student of B. Haripriya.

The Department of Language and Culture, Government of Telangana, has set a very nominal fee. Application forms are issued every year from June 15th. The cost of an application form is Rs. 25. Annual fee for Certificate Course for first year is Rs. 1050. Second year onwards it is Rs. 550. Annual fee for Diploma Course first year is Rs. 1400 and for second year is Rs. 700. One needs to take one hour class daily. The college functions from 2-7 pm.

The Music and Dance College was a branch of Sri Thyagaraja Govt. Music and Dance College, Ramkote, established by the Govt. in Old city region for the aspirants of art forms back in 1995 in Arya Samaj Mandir, Shalibanda area, Old city. “For about six years, the college was located in the Arya Samaj building, Shalibanda. The Govt. decided to shift the college into the vacant building of Quli Qutub Shah-e stadium, in July 2002,” recalls Hari Krishna.

Later, in 2006, the college was named as Sri Annamacharya Government Music and Dance College. After witnessing the conditions at this building, the Director of the Department of Language and Culture took an initiative towards venturing for a new college building. The present building in Gudimalkapur has been provided by a connoisseur of Indian music and fine art forms.

S.V. Ramana Murthy, who has been working as principal in this college, is a violinist and a disciple of his grandfather Sri Sistla Rajasekharam, who was one and only seven stringed violin artist.

Hari Krishna, Director, Dept. of Language and Culture, has asked all colleges to develop their own website and have details about its alumni and upload its activities from time-to-time.

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