Sampath Kumar D.Y.
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Dr. Dasari Yethiraja Sampath Kumar shortly D. Y. Sampath Kumar (20 November 1927 – 21 May 1999), popularly referred to as "Andhra Jalari" or Fisherman of Andhra Pradesh, was an acclaimed Indian classical and folk dancer and choreographer. He thoroughly assimilated the ancient traditions of dance and music of South India under the tutelage of various gurus like Sri Peri Narasimha Shastry who taught him Veena and Duvvuri Jagannadha Sarma who taught him Bharatanatyam. With deep study and indepth investigation into various dance forms he improvised on their teachings and became a distinguished exponent of various dance styles like Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Yakshagana and folk dances. He gave thousands of performances with brilliant embellishments in several states and in many countries. From between 1954 and 1999 for 45 years, 60 renowned artistes under the able guidance and expert direction of Dr.Sampath Kumar through his famous dance institute Sri Geetha Nrithya Kalasala, Vizianagaram, (Andhra Pradesh) have given over 3000 dance performances on National and International stages and won many honors and awards.
Awards and laurels
1957 - First Prize among 1400 artists for the ‘Andhra Jalari’ (Fisher Man) dance item in the All India Dance competitions held at New Delhi.
1960 - First Prize in the International Agricultural Exhibition held at Delhi for the Folk dance item ‘Sankranti’ (Harvest Festival)
1961 - First Prize among 17 states for Tagore’s dance drama “Kabuliwala” during Tagore’s Centenary Birthday Celebrations held at Calcutta.
1962 - First Prize ‘Swarna Kalasam’ among 18 states for the dance drama “Abhijñānaśākuntalam” in the National Sanskrit Drama Competitions held at Ujjain.
1962 - “Abhijñānaśākuntalam” Sanskrit dance drama, performed before several Governors and Chief Minister at Ravindra Bharati, Hyderabad drew the special acclaim of President Dr. Radakrishnan and Prime Minister Pandit Nehru.
1965 – Received President's commendation memento.
1973 – Gold Medal for the dance theme “Andhra Jalari” which was adjudged First among 143 countries at the International Dance Competitions held at East German’s Capital Berlin City.
1974 – Citation for the ballet ‘Shiva Parvati’ Urdhva Thandava Sampradaya in Moscow Cultural Competitions.
1980 – First Prize for ‘Tillana’ in the All India Bharatanatyam Competitions at Hyderabad.
1982 – First Prize for the dance drama ‘Ksheerasagaramadhanam’ among 56 participants at the state level dance drama competitions at Hyderabad.
1994 - He received the prestigious Ugadi Puraskar from Madras Telugu Academy.
“Andhra Jalari, Natya Visarada, Viswaprajanarthakudu, Nrithya Chaitanya, Natyakaladhara, Natya Bhushana, Abhyudaya Natya Kala Srasta” were some of the titles, apart from hundreds of felicitations, bestowed on him. At Pitapuram (Andhra Pradesh) he received Gajarohanam (literally 'Elephant Ride', taken on a ceremonial procession on an elephant) from the art lovers. In 1982 the A.P. State Government showed recognition and presented him a Silver Medal and an official certificate. Rajahmundry Municipality honored him with a civic address. The Central Government nominated him as the honorary member of Telecom Advisory Committee of the Department of Telecommunications (DOT). He is the Associate Editor of ‘Ganakala’ a monthly Magazine devoted to music and dance published from Kakinada (Andhra Pradesh). He was the State Vice-President of Praja Natya Mandali and worked in it since the days of its inception by founding members like Garikapati Raja Rao.
A brief synopsis of his famous compositions
"ANDHRA JALARI" literally means fisherman of Andhra Pradesh is the most famous of all the dance compositions by Sampath Kumar. In fact, "Andhra Jalari" has become a synonym to Sampath Kumar and over the time it has become a famous prefix to his name. The story behind this composition goes like this. In the year 1957, Sri Sampath Kumar, then a budding dancer and choreographer was approached by Sri Garikapati Raja Rao, a famous film director and patron of art forms of Andhra Pradesh with an invite to perform at All India Dance Competitions which is being held under the auspices of IPTA in New Delhi. In those days considering the distance and travel expenses and owing to his own financial limitations, Sri Raja Rao agreed to get some state sponsorship for Sampath Kumar's trip but restricted his troup to only two persons as a part of the delegation from Andhra Pradesh. It was left to Sampath Kumar's discretion as to what should be performed. Around that time, Sri Sampath Kumar happened to go to Bheemunipatnam on a personal visit where he came across a group of fishermen involved in their daily routine. On witnessing this, he conceptualized a mime and presented his ideas to Sri Raja Rao who in turn presented him a copy of "Coromandal Fishers" by Sarojini Naidu and instructed him to base and improvise his ideas on this poem. Sampath Kumar worked on this concept for just 15 days with the help of a Tabala exponent by name Tabala Raju and presented it to Raja Rao who encouraged him to present it in the All India Dance Competition in New Delhi. It is a very rare composition with no songs and lyrics or any accompanying musical instruments. It entirely depends on Tabala rhythms. This dance showcases the daily travails and risks in the life of a fisherman in Andhra Pradesh. This dance item brought Sampath Kumar immense name and fame and won him many laurels. It received commendation from the then Vice-President of India Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan when it was presented for the first time and won first prize at the All India Dance Competitions held at New Delhi in the year 1957 among 1400 contestants in the Solo folk dance category. It also won the International Gold Medal in the world Youth Festival held at Berlin in 1973 where 143 countries participated. In 1974 it was presented at Kabul in Afghanistan and at Tashkent, Samarkhand, Almaty, Riga, Kiev, Odessa, Sochi and Moscow, where it was televised. In the later times, this dance item also brought fame to Sri T.V.Ramana Murthy who is a student of Sri Tabala Raju and played the Tabala and accompanied Sri Sampath Kumar in all his tours around the world.
Sampath Kumar's personal life is as colorful as his professional life. He was married twice and is survived by his second wife Smt. Uma Sampath, three sons and a daughter. His first wife Smt. Narasayyamma died in the year 2000. Smt. Uma Sampath is also an accomplished dancer in her own right. She assisted Sri Sampath Kumar in his myriad dance compositions.
- "Perseverance personified". The Hindu. May 14, 2005.
- D.Radhika Rani in Vijaya Vani on Vijayanagar Utsav-2002.s
- K.Manoj Khanna