Bharatanatyam exponent Sarasa passes away

Chennai: Noted Bharatanatyam exponent and `Guru` of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, KJ Sarasa, died here today following brief illness. Expressing grief over the death, Jayalalithaa said the 78-year-old exponent`s death was a big loss to those involved in the art of Bharatanatyam.

"She had contributed immensely in this field," Jayalalithaa, who described Sarasa as her `Guru`, said in a statement. Recalling her career spanning over 50 years, Jayalalithaa said Sarasa had trained many dancers, besides being `the first woman nattuvanar,` a key composition in a Bharatantyam recital.

A recipient of many awards including the state government`s `Kalaimamani` award, Sarasa hailed from the family of the legendary KN Dhandayuthapani Pillai and a disciple of another Bharatanatyam veteran, Vazhuvoor Ramaiah Pillai.