Vipanchee Natyalaya is a cultural organistion that is dedicated in training young artistes in the field of music and dance. Kalaimamani Dr. Saraswati came down from the North of India after having acquired the distinction of not only a renowned dancer but also the Director of UDCO in Delhi, she wanted to institutionalize her favourite profession “dance”. This idea was translated into the establishment of a dance school by name Ramana Sudha Natyalaya.
When she started looking for a musician to set the musical score for her dance drama “Annamayya”, she approached Dr. Balamuralikrishna and to her pleasant surprise the veteran artiste readily agreed to help, thus began their association. Subsequently, took over the natyalaya and renamed it as Vipanchee Natyalaya. Naturally, Saraswati took over as the Artistic Director of Vipanchee.
Vipanchee has established branches across the world and Vipanchee workshops are being conducted in Canada, USA, Australia, U.K. and South Africa. Many research students and dancers sponsored by American Institute of Indian Studies have had vigorous training under Saraswati, notable among them is Aridoram, who did research in interpreting Bharatanatyam through Saiva Siddantam and Mimi Jaisalwanki a renowned teacher of Bharatanatyam from San Francisco, who did her research in choreographing dance ballets, temple rituals in dance forms and Kavuthvams.
There are many students from Australia, South Africa, Tanzania and England who have had training under Saraswati. Starting from the Panchatantra story, “A mouse is a mouse is a mouse”, Vipanchee has done over 60 dance features for the Doordarshan Kendra including “Shakthi Leela” the first colour dance drama produced for Chennai Doordarshan, “Narakasuran” and “Neela Madhava”. Vipanchee has worked on themes like National integration and social themes like family planning. Special mention must be made about the dance features done on Ramana Maharshi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Balasaraswati and Jayalalita. Rare themes like “Kurunkali” a 200 year old dance form and a feature about metals have also been dealt with by Vipanchee.
To crown all these comes the production on Pada Kavitha Pitamaha “Annamayya” Dr. Balamuralikrishna himself playing the role of Annamacharya. This dance drama has been performed by Vipanchee troupe and has received encomiums from all over the world.
Vipanchee conducts music and dance festivals every year and confers awards and titles to artistes for their contribution to music and dance, the top most honour every year being the ‘Kala Vipanchee’.
Vipanchee has taken up a very important task of restoring over 700 rare kritis of the Saint Composer Thyagaraja and have now recorded 100 kritis all sung by Dr. Balamuralikrisha.
Vipanchee ventured to give training to several aspirants, notable among them being Mala Bharath, Kalaimamani Dr. Priya Jayaraman, Hemalatha Ramachandran and Sowmya Kumaran who are associated with the institution for over 30 years. They have brought laurels to the institution with their outstanding performances and working in this field.
There are many others who have subsequently joined Vipanchee- Sreelatha Balaraj, Priya Raghavendra, Dr. Lalita Subramanian to name a few. Vipanhcee is like home to all of them and they carry wonderful memories.