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Pudukkottai Collector Checkmates With Her Dance Choreography

A chess dance video choreographed by Pudukkottai Collector Kavitha Ramu is creating a lot of buzz on social media The dance video was made for the inaugural ceremony of the 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad The dance showcased classical, folk and martial artists becoming chess characters and playing the game through their performances
Indian Masterminds Stories

As the 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad was flagged off in Chennai, Tamil Nadu on 28 July, many districts of the state portrayed chess in different ways to promote the Olympiad. But one act stood out for its innovative presentation. It was a dance video choreographed by the Pudukkottai District Collector Kavitha Ramu, who is a classical dancer of repute herself. The video went viral in no time and created a buzz on social media for its beautiful dance recital of the chess game.

CHATURANGAM: A DANCE DEPICTION

IAS officer Kavitha Ramu, who is a trained Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi dancer, presented a 3-minute dance video named Chatarungam: A Dance Depiction, showing classical and folk dancers and martial artists becoming chess characters themselves and playing the game through their dance performances. It was a visual treat for the viewers and spectators.

“We were conducting various awareness programmes for the Olympiad. I wanted to do something different. Being an artist, I naturally thought of using performers and composing a visual treat. Characters like the knight, rook, and pawn lend themselves naturally to picturisation,” Ms. Kavitha Ramu told media.

The chess dance showcased the black queen’s triumph over the white king in the end. “The project was about colour, gender and power, besides being a tribute to the game that has made Chennai its home in the country,” Ms. Ramu said.

RECORDED IN 24 HRS

The entire dance programme was choreographed by the officer herself. As she couldn’t reach Chennai, she handled everything via her mobile phone. She conducted the auditions and selected the performers for each character in Pudukkottai.

“What made the video more special was that the team did the rehearsal for two days, the recording started on July 20 and we finished the recording the very next day, within 24 hours time span,” the officer said.

The art forms in the video dance include Bharatanatyam, Therukoothu (street theatre), Poikal Kudhirai (a folk dance), Mal Yudham (martial art) and Silambam (martial art).

Hers was not the only presentation that attracted attention. The city’s Napier Bridge, which was painted as a chessboard; an illustration of Thambi, the Mascot of the chess Olympiad in Chennai, and a music video by A R Rahman also attracted much attention and appreciation.

JOURNEY OF A CLASSICAL DANCER

IAS officer Kavitha Ramu was born in Madurai. At the age of four, she started her training for Bharatnatyam under Guru Neela. In just one year she became adept in most of the ‘Bhav and Bhangimas’ of this classical dance. She was eight years old when she got an opportunity to dance at the Fifth World Tamil Conference, held in Chidambaram.

Later, in Chennai, Ms. Ramu came in touch with the famous Guru KJ Sarasa. She learned many techniques of dancing under him for around 15 years. He also taught her the Vazhuvoor style of Bharathanatyam. Simultaneously, she was performing in the festivals in school, college and other programmes held by cultural clubs. Meanwhile, she also learnt Nattuvangam from the famous Guru Indira Rajan. Nattuvangam is a separate style in Bharathnatyam, which deals with the rhythmic sound play of cymbals. She has held over 600 solo performances.

Ms. Ramu is also an `A grade’ artist of Doordarshan, and has been part of many of its programmes. She also coordinated cultural events for the opening and closing ceremonies of the South Asian Games, held in Chennai in 1995. 


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