Vaslav Nijinsky | The greatest male dancer of the early 20th century


It was his last dance. Vaslav Nijinsky,the Russian dancer and choregrapher of Polish descent encountered a group of Russian soldiers decamped outside of Vienna,during the last days of the World War 2,playing traditional folk tunes. Inspired by the music and his reunion with his ountrymen,Nijinsky leapt into an exquisite dance,astounding the men with the complexity and grace of his figures.

Vaslsv Nijinsky was born in 1889 or 1890 in Kiev,Ukraine,a part of Russian Empire as Waclaw Nizynski,to ethnic Polish parents,dancers Tomasz Nizynski and Eleonora Bereda.Nijinsky was christened in Warsaw,and considered himself to be a Pole despite difficulties in properly speaking the language as a result of his childhood in Russian's interior where his parents worked.


Sara Baras| An outstanding Flanmenco exponent

 She stood motionless and free of expression for the few moments of the song. As she began to feel the music,began a steady beat of loud hand clapping. As emotions began to build she started a passionate dance.The dance involved fierce stomping,sometimes got louder with percussion attachments on her shoes and graceful arm movements. It was Sara Pereyra Baras performing the flamenco dance which UNESCO has declared in 2010 as one of the "masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity".

Sara Baras is one of the internationally famous exponents of flamenco dance form which is a genre of Spanish music,song and dance form from Andalusia.


Margot Fonteyn| One of the greatest classical dancers of all time

 Her entire career was spent as a dancer with Royal Ballet and was eventually appointed "Prima Ballerina Assoluta" of the company by HM Queen Elizabeth 2.Dame Margot Fonteyn de Arias,DBE,was an English ballerina of the 20th century.She is widely regarded as one of the greatest classical ballet dancers of all time.

        
          Fonteyn was born Margaret Hookham on 18 May 1919 in Reigate,Surrey,to an English father and a half-Irish half-Brazilian mother;her mother's father was the industrialist Antonio Fontes of Brazil. Very early in her career,Margaret transformed the Fontes into Fonteyn (a surname her bother adopted as well) and Margaret into Margot:thus her stage name.


Rudolf Nureyev| Creator of a new role for male ballet dancers

One of the most celebrated ballet dancers of the 20th century,Rudolf Khametovich Nureyev's artistic skills explored the expressive areas of the dance form,providing a new role to the male ballet dancer who once served only as the support the woman.


          Nureyev was born on 17th March,19,1938 on a Trans-siberin train near Irkutsk,Siberia,Soviet Union,while his mother Feride was travelling to Vladivostok,where his father Hamit,a Red Army political commissar,was stationed.When his mother took him and his sisters into a performance of the ballet "Song of the Cranes",he fell in love with dance. Nureyev was auditioned for the bolshoi ballet company and was accepted.

Michael Jackson| American Superstar

 A musical prodigy, Michael Jackson's singing and dancing talents were amazingly mature,and focus of The Jackson 5 comprising his brothers Jackie,Tito,Jermaine and Marlon..

          An opening act for such soul groups as the O-Jays and James Brown,it was Gladys Kight who officially brought the group to Berry Gordy;s attention,and by 1969,the boys were producing back-to-back chartbusting hits as Motown artists ("I Want You Back","ABC"."Never can Say Goodbye","Got to Be There,"etc.). As a product of the 1970s,the boys emerged as one of the most accomplished black pop/soul vocal groups in music history,successfully evoliving from a group like The Temptations to a disco phenomenon.


            Michael Jackson was born in Gary,Indiana,on August 29,1958,and entertained audiences nearly his entire life.His father,Joe Jackson,had been a guitarist but was forced to give up his musical interests at home.

Rukmini Devi Arundale| Important revivalist of Bharata Natyam

When Bharata Natyam was considered a low and vulgar art in the 1930s Rukmini Devi espoused the cause of this classical dance form despite strong public protests. Recognizing the beauty and the spiritual value of this art form,she not only learned the dance,but also presented it on stage despite strong public protests.

Rukmini Devi was considered as the most important revivalist in the Indian classical dance form of Bharat Natyam from its original 'sadhir' style,prevalent amongst the temple dancers,Devadasis,she also worked for the re-establishment of traditional Indian arts and crafts.

Rukmini Devi features in India Today's list of '100 People who shaped India' She was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1956,and sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship in 1967.


Isadora Duncan| creator of modern dance

Isadora Duncan's philosophy of dance moved away from rigid ballet technique and towards what she perceived as natural movement. To restore dance to a high art form instead of entertainment,she sought the connection between emotions and movement.


       She wanted the dance to be the divine expression of the human spirit through the medium of the body's movement.Duncan was inspired by ancient Greece and combined it with an American love of freedom.This is exemplified in her revolutionary costume of a white Grecian tunic and bare feet.Inspired by Grecian forms,her tunice also allowed a freedom of movement corseted ballet costumes were not the only inspiration Duncan took from Greece.Both in her professional and private lives,Duncan flouted traditional mores and morality.


Fred Astaire| Fifth greatest male star of all time


 Gene Kelly,a major innovator in filmed dance, said,'The history of dance on film begins with Astaire".Beyond film and television,many classical dancers and choreographers,Rudolf Nureyev,Sammy Davis,Jr.,Michael Jackson,Gregory Hines,Milkhail Baryshnikov,George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins among them,also acknowledged Astaire's importance and influence.


           Fred Astaire born Fredeck Austerlitz,on May 10,1899 was an American film and Broadway stage dancer,choreographer,singer,musician and actor.His stage and subsequent film career spanned a total of 6 years,during which he made 31 musical films.He was named the fifth Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute.He was particularly associated with Ginger Rogers,with whom he made ten films.


Uday Shankar| Pioneer of modern dance in India

World renowned Indian dancer and choreographer,Uday Shankasr was most known for adapting Western theatrical techniques to traditional Indian classical dance,imbued with elements of Indian classical,folk,and tribal dance,thus laying the roots of modern Indian dance,which he later popularized in India,Europe,and the United States in 1920s and 1930s and effectively placed Indian dance on the world map.

  Uday Shankar Chowdhury was born on 8 December,1900,in Udaipur,Rajasthan,to a Bengali family with origins in Narail (present Bangladesh).His father Shyam Shankar Chowdhury,a noted barrister,was employed with the Maharaja of Jhalawar in Rajasthan at the time of his eldest son's birth,while his mother Hemangini Davi,descended from a bengali zamindari family.His father was conferred the title,'Harchowdhury'by the Nawabs,but he preferred to use surname'Chowdhury'minus 'Har'.Uday's younger brothers were Rajendra Shankar,Debendra Shankar,Bhuqendra Shankar and Ravi Shankar,born in 1920,out of them Bhupendra died young in 1926.

Mikhail Baryshnikov |Widely recognized contemporary ballet dancer

Often cited alingside Vaslav Nijinsky and Rudolf Nureyev as one of the greatest ballet dancers in history Mikhail Nikolaevich Baryshnikov,born January 27,1948 nicknamed "Misha",is a Russian American dancer,choreographer,and actor.


       After a promising start in the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad,he defected to Canada in 1974 for more opportunities in western dance. after freelancing with many companies,he joined the New York City Ballet as a principal dancer to learn George Balanchine's style of movement. He then danced with the American Ballet Theatre,where he later became artistic director.


       Born to Russian parents in Riga,then part of the Soviet Union,Baryshnikov began his ballet studies there in 1960. In 1964,he entered the Vaganova School,in what was then Leningrad (now St.Petersburg). Baryshnikov soon won the top prize in the junior division of the varna International Ballet Competition. He joined the Kirov Ballet and Mariinsky Theater in 1967,dancing the "Peasant" pas de deux in Giselle.

Nittawela Gunaya|Simple and humble peasant from the Kandyan Kingdom

 Renowned exponent of Kandyan dancing Kalaguru Nittawela Gunaya,bore in 1907,led the dancers at the Esala Perahera [pageant] in Kandy for many years. He had toured foreign countries 47 times and helped to establish the Kandyan dance form internationally. He was bestowed the President award and also a stamp in his honour was issued in 1976.

He earned international repute as a Kandyan dancer,without professional training of any sort,and his 'guru'was his father who was a village cultivator engaged in Kandyan dancing.

Ram Gopal | Blender of Indian classical dance with balletic choreography


An Indian classical dancer with a modernist creative flair Ram Gopal was able to find niche in the international dance arena. His portrayal of Hindu mytholical hero,Krishna with the famous British ballerina Dame Alicia Markova in London was mon of the important milestones in his dancing career as well as in the cultural history of India.

Bissano Ram Gopal OBE,was born on 20th November 1912 in Bangalore,India. He had a Burmuse and a Rajput father who was a barrister. They lived in a mansion called Torquay Castle. Drawn to dance early on in his life,he learned Kathakali from Guru Kunju Kurup and chandu Panickar.

Chitrasena | Doyen of modern Sri Lankan dance


At the young age of 15 he played the lead role of Siri Sangabo,the first Sinhala ballet produced and directed by his father Seebert Dias,the well_known actor,producer of the 20s and 30s and a luminary in the theatrical circles of the day.The talented youth was Amaratunga Arachige Maurice Dias and later known as Chitrasena,the doyen of modern sri Lankan dancing tradition.


      A pioneering dancer and choreographer Chitrasena,born on 28,January,1921,was internationally known for his work in establishing a modern Sri Lankan tradition of dance and popularizing traditional Sri Lankan dance forms worldwide.

Anna pavlova |One of the finest classical Ballet dancers in history

Arms folded,on tiptoe,she dreamily and slowly circled the stage. By even,gliding motions of the hands, returning to the background from whence she emerged, she seemed to strive toward the horizon,as though a moment more and she would fly__ exploring the confines of space with her soul.

      It was the most poignant scene from the popular ballet,portrayed by Anna pavlova,the Russian ballerina of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.