About Us...
Vazhuvoorar as he was known popularly later in his life, Vazhuvoor Ramaiyah Pillai was born in the year 1910 to Parthiban & Bagyathammal. He learnt the art of Nattuvangam & Bharathanatyam from his Guru & Maternal Uncle Manikka Nattuvanar. He was a visionary and an excellent choreographer. He believed in the theory of “Enriching Values & New generation thinking”. He never compromised on traditional values, but introduced a lot of newer thoughts into dancing. He probably was the first one to adapt Rama Nataka Krithis, Thyagaraya Swamy Krithis, Bharathiar songs, Kutrala Kuravanji, Arunachala Kavirayar Songs, Uthukadu Songs & other Tamil popular padams into dance form and taught his students. A patriot by heart, he boldly made his students perform Bharathiar songs on stage when the then British Rule abandoned those songs. Post Independence, the Cong Govt decided to honor him for the same and he was conferred with a Title “Natya Kala Chakravarthy” which he denied to accept with all modesty claiming that when the Lord Nataraja who gave this form of art to mankind himself is being addressed as Nata – Raja (King) how an ordinary human being can accept a title conveying a meaning Chakravarthy (Emperor). This gesture was well appreciated and the award was re-coined as “Natya Kala Kesari” (Lion) and presented to him. Kalai Mamani, Isai Perarignar, Natya Kala Kesari, Sangeetha Nataka Academy Award, National Award and Padmasri are key titles that Vazhuvoorar had received among many others.
“Vazhuvoorar School of Classical Dance & Music” is an endeavor to revive the fame & charisma this Pani is known for and to ensure the thousand year old lineage continues for more decades to come. The desire is to promote this well known pani among current generation and also impart other forms of Music & fine arts. Vazhuvoor Manikka Vinayakam the only living son of Padmasri Vazhuvoor Ramaiah Pillai has started this school with able support from his children. Manikkavinayakam is a leading Play-back singer in Tamil Film Industry and also a character artiste in movies. Having born as the youngest son to vazhuvoorar in the year 1949, he had his formal training on classical singing from Kalakkad Narayanan, Tamil Music from his guru & maternal Uncle C.S. Jayarama Pillai, Mridangam from Harihara Sharma (T.H. Vinayakaram’s father) and Nattuvangam from his father & guru Vazhuvoorar. He had travelled across Europe and other parts of the globe and given nattuvangam performances for bharathanatyam concerts. Started his career as an A-Grade composer with Doordharshan & AIR, he had composed music for 15000 songs (Devotional / Folk) and took a second innings @ the age of 50 as playback singer & actor and going strong till date. He had so far sung more than 1000 songs in Tamil/Telugu films and had acted in more than 25 movies. He is a recipient of “Kalaimamani” award from Govt of Tamil Nadu, “Kala Ratna” award from World Peace Organization, “Isai Chelvam” award from Muthamizh Peravai.
Senthil Kumar, elder son of Manikka Vinayakam is a Master in Business Administration by qualification and currently employed as General Manager with a British Multi-National Insurance Organization head quartered @ Chennai. He had a passion for music & fine arts right from his child-hood and got himself trained for Mridangam initially under guru T.H.Vinayakaram and later under his bro-in-law and guru Thiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam. He also learnt the art of Nattuvangam from his father Manikka Vinayakam and specializes in rendering the rare Jathis’s of his grandfather Vazhuvoorar. He would continue supporting his father in administering this school in all perfection and taking this to greater heights.
Gayathri Baskar, the only daughter of Manikka Vinayakam, is a M.A. in Public Administration and she learnt classical bharathanatyam dance from her grandfather Vazhuvoor Ramaiah Pillai and her uncle Vazhuvoor Samaraja Pillai. She had further nurtured her skills under tutelage & able guidance from Acharya Choodamani Smt. Radha (Kamala) who again is an Ace student of vazhuvoorar. Gayathri also learnt Veena from Suseela Ammal Mylapore. She would be extending her support for this school in teaching the Vazhuvoor style of dance.
Venkatasubramaniam, the younger son of Manikka Vinayakam, is again a Master in Business Administration by qualification and currently employed as Chief Manager with a Leading Financial Services Organization in Chennai. He had his training in Piano from Master Patrick Saldana (Santhome). He is also a natural dancer (folk / western). He would continue supporting his father in administering this school in all perfection and taking this to greater heights.
Dance Teacher...
Meera Srikant, a freelance writer and editor, has been learning and performing Bharatnatyam since she was six years old. After training under Gurus SB Pillai, Aruna Subramaniam and Tara Balagopal in Delhi, she moved to Kolkatta where Kalamandalam Venkat shaped her further.

In 1990, she moved to Chennai and was the disciple of Kalaimamani SK Kameswaran. Since 2005, Meera has been training under Kalaimamani Rhadha, a scion of the Vazhuvoorar tradition.

Meera has given several solo and group performances. She has also been teaching Bharatnatyam for several years and has experience choreographing classical, semi classical and folk dance.
Dance Teacher...
With 18 years of experience in
Bharathanatiyam, Shreya is one of Guru Smt. Rhadha's senior disciples.

As a member of “Pushpanjali” (Guru Rhadha's dance school), she has participated in group programs in Bangalore, Mayapur (West Bengal), Chidambaram, New Delhi (whilst representing Tamil Nadu) and, on numerous other occasions, in Chennai. She has also performed solo on multiple occasions in Tamil Nadu (India), USA, Switzerland, Indonesia, Cambodia and Myanmar. Shreya is currently working in Chennai as an art and cultural development consultant and regularly trains students on behalf of Guru Smt Rhadha.
 
Music Teacher...
Smt Meenakshi Srinivasan a professional artiste for almost 25 years plus now, learnt vocal classical music in her childhood from Sri M.A. Krishnan, followed by Tamil Music from Papanasam Rukmani Ramani. She had her advanced learning in classical singing from Padma Vibushan Dr. Balamurali Krishna and also learnt Devaram & Thiruvasagam Thirumuraigal from Sri Ktilingam. She also had the privilege of being tutored under Padmasri Vazhuvoor Ramaiah Pillai for rendering Bharathanatyam songs.

She has traveled across the globe for concerts that include Asian countries, UK, Canada & USA. She is a recipient of various titles such as:

Sangeetha Kala Ratna , Madura Gayaki , Isai Perarasi , Isai Vani , Tamizh Isai Thendral, Kannadasan Award, Pattukottai Sundaranar Makkal Kavignar Award etc

She is a performing artiste in the field of Classical Music, Light Music, Devotional, Bharathanatyam Concerts, Bhajans. She also has to her credit of having sung & released a couple of private albums.
 
We thank "Acharya Choodamani" Smt Radha - Guru Pushpanjali, scion student of Vazhuvoorar for her guidance in this journey of ours and also for encouraging her Ace students Meera & Shreya to teach in our School