Mathura Alladi: Spirit of Gainesville nominee
Published: Monday, August 27, 2012 at 3:49 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 27, 2012 at 3:49 p.m.
Mathura Alladi, Director of the Jathiswara School of Dance and Music, is a highly accomplished Bharathanatyam (Indian classical dance) dancer and Carnatic (South Indian Classical) vocalist, who has been performing and teaching in Gainesville since 1988. Bharathanatyam is one of the premier classical dance forms of India and Carnatic music is one of the two classical music forms of India the other being Hindustani (North Indian Classical) Music. The music for Bharathanatyam is Carnatic Music. Through her own performances as a dancer and musician, and by her teaching, Mathura has made a deep impact on North Central Florida, and especially in Gainesville. It is extremely important for children and adults to be introduced to the rich cultural heritage of the East, especially India.
About Mathura Alladi
Occupation: Dancer, Vocalist, Dance & Music Teacher
Years in Gainesville: 25
Spouse: Prof. Krishnaswami Alladi, Math Dept, UF
Children: Lalitha (age 30) and Amritha (age 23)
Every year Mathura trains about fifty students from Gainesville and Jacksonvile and not all are Indian American. Mathura's students not only learn the art forms from her, but through this gain an understanding of Indian culture as well. Equally important is to inform the American public of the traditions and heritage of India. Mathura and her students perform regularly at various forums throughout North Central Florida and thereby the public at large in these communities are exposed to the culture of India through these art forms. Mathura's students perform at every cultural event organized by the India Cultural and Education Center (ICEC) Gainesville, and indeed for the IndiaFest of the ICEC, which attracts a few thousand members of the Gainesville and neighboring communities annually. Likewise, Mathura's students in Jacksonville perform frequently at the events organized there including those of the India Cultural Society, Jacksonville.
Most recently (in March 2011), Mathura and her students performed a dance drama for the Annual Festival of the Center for the Study of Hindu Traditions (CHiTra) of the University of Florida - an event, although open to public, was specifically organized for the benefit of the students of the University. Some of Mathura's students, pursue Bharathanatyam at great depth, and eventually perform an Arangetram - where the student does a full solo graduation dance program for two hours. The training for this is intense and Mathura is one of the most dedicated dance teachers, ideally suited to train students for this culmination. For these events although live music is necessary, it is often difficult to provide such live orchestra of south Indian music in the US. Mathura being an outstanding musician, provides the vocal music herself and assembles the intrumental orchestra from all parts of North Central Florida. The dancers who complete the Arangetram then move on to become noted performers on their own. Several of Mathura's students have impacted dance troupes at the college level such as the popular Gator Natyam group at the University of Florida. In addition to her dance and music lessons, Mathura also has taught Indian devotional songs to a group called Prarthana, which performs regularly at festivals organized by various Hindu temples in North Central Florida.
In summary, Mathura Alladi is a very valuable member of our community, who by her dance and music performces and those of her students, and by her teaching of these classical art forms, has made a deep and lasting impact throughout North Central Florida. The JATHISWARA School of Dance and Music directed by her is vibrant, and she will continue to be a strong positive influence on our community for many more years. For more details see http://www.jathiswara.com and click on dance to view slides of different programs
Short biography of MATHURA ALLADI:
Mathura Alladi is the Director of the Jathiswara School of Dance and Music, Gainesville. She has been teaching Bharathanatyam (Indian Classical Dance) and Carnatic music (South Indian Classical Music) in Florida since 1988. She has over 50 students in Gainesville and Jacksonville who perform regularly at numerous cultural programs in their communities. Mathura is a highly accomplished Bharathanatyam dancer, having received her training under Srimathi Kausalya, who herself was a disciple of Vazhuvoor Ramiah Pillai, one of the foremost Bharathanatyam teachers. In India Mathura has performed for several noted cultural organizations and for the television in New Delhi and Chennai (Madras). Some of her most notable overseas performances are for the East-West Center and the Lotus Society in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1993, and for the Indo-Japanese Cultural Society in Tokyo, Japan in 1996 for the 50-th Anniversary Year of India's Independence. Mathura is an equally proficient Carnatic vocalist and has performed in many forums all over North Central Florida. She was the main vocalist for the Triveni Sangam Program in 2009 blending the Bharathanatyam, Kuchipudi, and Odissi dance forms, as well as the dancer and choreographer for a major dance drama she and her students performed in 2011; both these events were for the Center for the Study of Hindu Traditions of the University of Florida. Some of Mathura's students who have pursued Bharathanatyam deeply, have done an Arangetram (full two hour solo graduation performance) under her supervision. Mathura has conducted the Arangetrams of nine of her students in Gainesville and Jacksonville. In addition to her music and dance lessons, Mathura also teaches devotional music to a group called Prarthana which performs regularly at festivals at Hindu temples in North Central Florida.
Submitted by S. Balachandar
I have known Mathura Alladi for perhaps 25 or more years now - since she and her family moved to Gainesville. She has an enormous amount of talent, energy, and enthusiasm for her work, and her work will continue to impact and enhance our community for years to come. These performances bring the beautiful and artistic sights, sounds, and energy of Indian culture to our region, and we are indeed fortunate to have such talent among us. It is a privilege and pleasure for me to support the nomination of Mathura Alladi for the Spirit of Gainesville 2012 Award.
Comment from Beverly Brechner
I have known Mathura for the last 25 years. Classical south Indian dance, Bharathanatyam and classical south Indian music, Carnatic music are two of Mathura’s passions. She is professionally trained in this traditional dance form in one of the foremost dance schools in Chennai, India.
Mathura’s dedication to dance and music motivated her to teach these two art forms to a few students of Indian origin initially. Mathura’s teaching techniques and the individual attention she showed towards each student made her a very popular teacher and the interest in Bharathanatyam grew in leaps and bounds both in Gainesville and Jacksonville. She is a very sought after teacher among young Indian women. As a result Mathura has her own school of Dance and Music, Jathiswara School of Dance and Music, in Gainesville. She conducts classes both in Gainesville and Jacksonville. A number of these students have reached a level of professional skills that they are deemed to have graduated in dance ( Arangetram).
I had the pleasure of attending the 5th Annual Recital of Jathiswara School this past Saturday in Gainesville. A group of twenty four students participated in this well rehearsed dance performance. It was a real treat to the eyes and it brought home the point that Mathura’s teaching skills and dedication has added a new dimension to the cultural and art scene of Gainesville. I truly believe that Mathura deserves your award.
Comment by Kunisi S. Venkatasubban, Professor Emeritus University of North Florida, Jacksonville
Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.