Jayaprabha Menon is one of the most accomplished dancers of the new generation. Her pleasing stage presence and graceful exposition have brought a new aesthetics to Mohiniyattam. Even as she is rooted in tradition, her themes are contemporary and interpretation is bold and novel. She blends in her dance a refreshing originality with traditional discipline. Years of experience as an exponent of Mohiniyattam with an abiding quest for perfection makes her different.
Initiated to Indian classical dance by Smt Kalamandalam Saraswathi, Nrityalaya Kerala, She had advanced training in Mohiniyattam under Padmashree Guru Bharthi Shivaji besides training in Bharatnatyam under Smt & Sri C. V. Chandrasekhar, Chennai.
Currently researching on the Regional Taala patterns of Kerala under the guidance of Padmabhushan Shri Kavalam Narayana Panikker.
Jayaprabha has widely performed in India and abroad and has won innumerable recognations for her dedication.
Jayaprabha Menon, disciple of guru Bharathi Shivaji-the name synonymous with Mohiniyatam, is one of the most accomplished dancers of the present generation. Endowed with a pleasing stage presence, Mohiniyatam has found in Jayaprabha a dancer dedicated and committed to its cause.
Jayaprabha brings to her audience a refreshing presentation of Mohiniyatam, owing to her long years of experience as a performer and her deep understanding of the aesthetics of the dance form. At the age of four, she was initiated to dance by Smt .Kalamandalam Saraswathi. The tutelage continued for 15 years.
She says she is fortunate to work under Prof. Chandra Sekaran for two years from 1990. Jayaprabha Menon used to be a Bharatanatyam dancer until she saw Bharati Shivaji perform in Kozhikode in 1996.
"I was enchanted when I saw Mohiniyattom in its splendour. I was completely into Bharatanatyam those days and had been performing too. Though I had also learnt Mohiniyattom, it had never appealed to me then," she recalls.
Now her life revolves around Mohiniyattom. "My husband Prakash Menon, a Hindustani vocalist, and I used to perform in North India, and our friends used to suggest that we stay back at least a couple of months at a time in Delhi instead of shuttling between Kozhikode and Delhi," she recounts.
She thought it was a good idea and decided to rent a place in Delhi. Then, when she started getting a lot of opportunities, Jayaprabha decided to settle down in Delhi. Like many children, Jayaprabha learnt dance because her parents wanted her to. "I was taught by Kalamandalam Saraswathy and, like others, I too took part in youth festivals in school and college, but unlike most of them, I did not want to sacrifice dance for academics," she recalls.
The only time dance took a back seat was when her children were very young. "Then, I saw that performance by Bharati Shivaji, and I wanted to be a Mohiniyattom dancer; I wanted to be her disciple. But she turned me down, saying my body had become too stiff, as I had stopped dancing. I was, however, not willing to give up. So I worked hard on my dance, and she agreed to teach me," she says.
Before long, she became a member in Bharati's group and performed with her in major festivals in India, and abroad. Jayaprabha did her first solo in 2001, and hasn't looked back since.
She says she loves experimenting in Mohiniyattom, without deviating from the basics.
"Choreography gives you a lot of gratification as an artiste. I am happy that my experiments have been well received. I have choreographed Kavalam's `Mazha' and have performed along with Kathakali artiste Manoj. Right now I am working on an interesting project - a fusion of Mohiniyattom and Kalaraipayattu."
She feels Mohiniyattom has not got its due yet.
"I think the State Government ought to promote Mohiniyattom. Its costumes, movements and accompanying music, all reflect the simplicity of our living. "
Recent Major Performances & Workshops
Unbound beats of India - Utsav- Habitat Centre - New Delhi -2009
Natyavriksha World Dance Day Festivlal India International Centre- New Delhi 2009.
Kalaikoodam Festival - Sai International - New Delhi
Chandrayaan a choregraphic presentataion - N.C.U.I - New Delhi
LUKNOW Festival: Dec 2008, U P Tourism Lucknow.
Vande Mataram : Delhi International Arts Festival, December 2008,Meghdoot Theatre, Rabindra Bhawan-New Delhi.
North Zone Culture Centre, Allahabad: Nov 2008
Ved Vyas Sangeet Nrutyotsav:Rourkela, Orissa, 2008
ICCR Horizon Series: Mohiniyattam workshop, Kerala Kalamandalam, Kerala, Nov 2008
Soorya Festival 2008-Trivandrum
ANANYA Dance Festival 2008, Purana Quila ,Oct, New Delhi.
RAJ BHAWAN,Luknow,President of India Visiting-Lucknow,Sept-2008.
SRINGAR 2008 ,India Habitat centre,Sept,New Delhi
HORIZON-ICCR –Jaipur and Lucknow –August 2008.
SPICAMACAY convention 2008, Kota –Rajasthan.
Tribute to Maharajah Swathi Thirunal 2008 -India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.
Niravu: Kanakakunnu Palace, Trivandrum, April 2008.
Rhythm – Soorya, Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi.
Taj Mahotsav –February 2008 - U P Tourism –Agra.
Nishagandhi Festival 2008, Kerala Tourism – Trivandrum.
Mamallapuram Festival 2008 -Tamilnadu Tourism,Chennai.
Delhi International Arts Festival 2007–Meghdoot Theatre , – New Delhi-December 2007.
Natyaveda –Mohini Festival 2007- Sanskriti Bhawan-Trivandrum, 2007.
Music and Dance Festival, Sahitya Kala Parishad, New Delhi- Nov 2007.
Tridhara – A Composition with three styles – Mumbai, October, 2007.
India International Centre, New Delhi- 2007.
Kerala Food and Culture Festival 2007-New Delhi .
IRCEN- Chattisgarh- September 2007.
Chinamaya Mission 101 day Yagna, Calicut, 2007.
Kalidas Samaroah ,UJJAIN.
Bharat Bhawan ,Bhopal.Madhya Pradesh.
Khajurahoo Dance Festival, Khajurahoo.
Naveen Sanskritik Kala Kendra,Hyderbad.
HCL Concert series-Habitat Centre , New delhi.
India International Centre ,New Delhi – 2004&2008.
Onam Celebrations ,kerala &New Delhi.
Shadkala Govinda Marar Smriti ,SNA.Trissur,KERALA.
Layalayam-Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi.
Swathi Smrithi, Chennai.
ICCR sponsored tour to Tanzania and Mauritius 2006.
Mahatma Gandhi Institute ,Mauritius.
Inauguration of Zanzibar film festival 06-Tanzania .
Rabindranath Tagore Institute ,Mauritius .
Lecture demonstration at Mahatma Gandhi institute ,Mauritius .
Work shop on Movements and technique of Indian Classical Dances, at the University of Darussalam.
IGCIC , Mauritius.2006.
CEPSI 2006,shanghai ,CHINA.
Work shop in Mohiniyattam ,Cite d’la Musique ,Marsielle.
Nights of India Festival-Marseille,France 2004.
Cite’d la musique –Marseille, France 2004.
ICCR tour to Indonesia,Cambodia and Tailand with Guru Bharthi Shivaji.
Festival of India in USSR -1987, Representing Kerala.
Seniors Scholarship-Deportment of Culture Govt.of India.
A-Grade artiste Doordarshan Kendra.
Junior Fellowship Dept of Culture Govt.of India.
Lecture Demonstration Events:
Sree Kalalayam, Chelannur.
Malayala Kala Gramam, Mahe.
Baharatheeyam, Wynad Dist.
Spicmacay at Medical College, Calicut.
Sringaramani- Sursingar Sansad,Mumbai.
Centre in-charge, Centre for Mohiniyattam, Kozikode.
Dance Teacher at St.Judes
Teaching at Public Schools in Kotagiri, Ooty.
Director, Sanskriti-The Centre for Performing Arts.
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