Saride Manikyamma

Born in Ballipodu in the West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, Shrimati Saride Manikyamma belongs to the Andhra temple-dance tradition. She had her initial training in dance from Shrimati Dasari Mahalakshamma. Later, under the tutelage of Shri Purghella Subbayya, she received specialized training in rendering the Adhyatma Ramayana keertanas of the 17th-century poet Munipalli Subramanyam. Early in life she was dedicated to the temple of Madanagopala Swamy, where she served for 30 years, performing ritual dances. Shrimati Saride Manikyamma represents a vital link in our dance heritage. One of the few surviving devadasis of the early period, she is also perhaps the only living exponent of the art of singing and rendering abhinaya to the keertanas of the Adhyatma Ramayana. Upon a request from the Andhra Pradesh Sangeet Natak Akademi, she came out of her retirement in 1972 to teach these rare compositions and abhinaya to a number of students, thus contributing to the preservation of the art. Now about 80, she still teaches a few select students at Hyderabad. She has also been associated with the Sarojini Naidu School of Performing Arts, University of Hyderabad, as a visiting faculty member. Shrimati Saride Manikyamma receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for her contri- bution to the traditional art of Adhyatma Ramayana.