Hyderabad, June 7: Guru Nataraja Ramakrishna, noted exponent of classical dance forms of Andhra Pradesh, today passed away following a prolonged illness at a hospital here.
88-year-old Ramakrishna, a doyen of Andhra Natyam and Kuchipudi, born in a family of artistes and developed ‘Perini', one of the popular styles of Kuchipudi dance while reviving and popularising ‘Andhra Natyam' in his lifetime. He toured United States, Russia, France among other countries to not only popularise Kuchipudi but to study numerous other dance forms.
Ramakrishna won several awards and honours, including Padmabhushan, for his outstanding contribution to the classical dance in general and Kuchipudi and Andhra Natyam in particular.
The gifted dancer authored about 40 books on different classical dance forms and also served as chairman of Andhra Pradesh Sangeet Natak Academy.
Condoling the maestro's death, Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, described him as the most respected dance guru, scholar, writer and musicologist.
Recalling Ramakrishna's services as the chairman of AP Sangeet Natak Academy, Reddy said “He has been propagating classical dances for over 60 years. He revived the forgotten art and dance forms like Andhra Natyam and Perini Sivatandavam.”
TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu and Praja Rajyam Party chief Chiranjeevi expressed deep grief over the passing away of Nataraja Ramakrishna. Among those who condoled his death included his disciples Uma Rama Rao and Alekhya Punjala. Scores of current generation Kuchipudi gurus and dancers visited Ramakrishna's house at Begumpet here to pay their last respects.
Ramakrishna's body has been shifted to his house and the final rites would be performed tomorrow. PTI