Dr. Sucheta Bhide – Chapekar

Born on 6th December 1948, to Shri.Vishwanath Bhide an artist of repute and Smt Veena a keen lover of music . Married in 1974, to Dr.Vijaykumar Chapekar an academician , who has supported and contributed to her work.

An artiste of rare individuality, Sucheta is acclaimed as one of the finest Bharat Natyam exponents. Trained in Guru Shishya tradition by such stalwarts as Acharya Parvatikumar of Bombay and Guru K.P.Kittappa of Tanjore. Sucheta considers Smt. Balasaraswati as her “Manasa Guru”.

Master of Fine Arts (Dance); Bombay University, Ph.D. (“Sangitacharya”) G.D.Art (Applied Art) ;J.J.School of Arts ,eight years training in Carnatic Music from Smt. Thailambal Krishnan of Chennai.

Known for the purity of technique as well as innovation. Grace and perfection in pure dance, restrain and subtlety in Abhinaya (expressional dance), lilting musicality and lucid explanations mark Sucheta’s performances.

During the active career span of the past more than fifty years, Sucheta has made a distinct mark and substantial contribution as a dancer, teacher, researcher and choreographer. She has also made dedicated and consistent efforts to create knowledgeable audiences at all the levels of society for Bharata Natyam in Maharashtra through lecture demonstrations.

Consistently performing since 1964 (about ten to twenty recitals per annum ). She has given innumerable solo performances all over India and abroad in Dance festivals as well as under the aegis of various well known organizations, the important ones of which include
Savai Gandharva Festival – Pune (having a distinction of performing four times in 1967 ,1992, 2002 & 2015),
Khajuraho Festival – Madhya Pradesh, (2000, 2008)
Ellora Festival – Aurangabad,
Sharadotsava- Agra,
Pongal Festival – Madras,
Kalidas Utsava – Nagpur,
Dharanikotsava – Cochin ,
Ganga Mahotsav ,Varanasi etc.
National Center for Performing Arts, Nehru Center – Mumbai, Shanmukhananda , Chembur fine Arts , Tamil Sangham Bhulabhai Institute and Bharatiya Music Sabha -Mumbai, Sangeet Natak Academy, India International Center , Habitat Centre , Ashoka Theatre – New Delhi, Kala Academy – Goa, Music Academy, Krishna Gana Sabha , Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan , Narada Gana Sabha , Chennai, Sangeet Research Academy – Calcutta, Prasiddha foundation Bangalore, World Marathi Congress – Hyderabad, and many more….

Her dance tours to foreign countries include
Kenya ’72,78 ; London ,Paris , Rotterdam ,Munich ’79 ,Berlin Cyprus ’88 ;France ,Germany , Italy ’89 ;Australia ,New Zealand ’97 ; USA ’98 & 2006; France 2000,02,04,06,10,&15, also Brasil 2015.
She commands special audiences in France , where she has four French disciples based in France, who are professional dancers and teachers . Her delicate style and subtle Abhinaya is very much appreciated by the French audiences.
Smt. Sucheta has a special distinction of having performed in number of towns and cities of Maharashtra like Satara, Nagar, Sangli, Miraj, Kolhapur, Latur, Aurangabad, Solapur, Nashik, Badlapur, Jalgaon, Nanded, Buldhana—-the list is endless . These performances with explanations in Marathi, have helped greatly in introducing and popularizing classical dance viz. Bharata Natyam among the music loving audiences of Maharashtra.

She is a top-grade artiste of *Doordarshan* (Indian Television) and has been featured in national and regional programs of Doordarshan several times.
She has written and presented special Marathi programmes on themes like inter-relationship of Arts and Nayika through performing arts as well as a popular series of thirteen programmes to introduce classical dance to children for Mumbai Doordarshan . Apart from this , she has written,directed and presented for Educational Media Research Centre, Pune University, four different TV serials viz. 1) Personality Development through Dance . 2) Pimpalpan ( on Tanjavur Maratha Rulers’ contribution to Bharat Natyam . 3) Language of gestures (on classical dance appreciation ) 4) Genesys of ‘NRITYA GANGA’ ( on her creative work –synthesis of Bharata Natyam and Hindustani Music ).

She is empanelled as “outstanding artiste” with ICCR, New Delhi .

With an urge to share her knowledge she started teaching since past twenty-five years. In order to systematize and expand this activity of dance training,“Kalavardhini Charitable Trust” with the motto of “Art for art ,Art for self and Art for life” was founded in 1988 . A five year basic certificate course, as well as two years of advance course with a written syllabus and an yearly examination structure was formulated and strictly implemented by Sucheta . Because of this, today Kalavardhini courses are being taught at thirty institutions all over Maharashtra and Goa . To ensure the quality , the working of all these branches is monitored regularly.

Sucheta is a teacher with a unique idea that teaching should not be a discourse but a dialogue. This not only ensures clarity about the various aspects but also encourages creativity among the students. This makes her a popular and accomplished teacher with a lively tradition. She is also a visiting professor at the faculty of Performing Arts, Pune University right from its inception. She has trained a number of talented young dancers, teachers and choreographers. Her daughter disciple Mrs. Arundhati Patwardhan has established her own identity as a performer, teacher and choreographer. Her disciples also include professional dancers from abroad for whom she conducts intensive residential courses in Pune as well as group workshops abroad. She and her accomplished disciples have formed “Kalavardhini Sankul”, a Dance Troupe . The institution also imparts training in all the aspects of dance presentation like make up, costumes, lighting, sound, and stage decor etc.
SUCHETA – THE RESEARCH SCHOLAR: has made a valuable contribution to Bharat Natyam repertoire through her research and presentation of the hereto unknown Marathi compositions of the Tanjore Maratha rulers (17th to 19th century). She was introduced to this area of research by her guru Acharya Parvatikumar , who had done exhaustive study of King Sarfoji’s contribution . Sucheta went furthering the same line of research and unearthed some rare Marathi, Hindi and Sanskrit compositions of King Shahaji from the hidden treasures of Saraswati Mahal Library of Tanjavur.In this research she was fortunate to get invaluable guidance from Dr.V.Raghavan and Guru Kittappa. For this work, she had received a special grant from Sangeet Natak Akadami . Her articles on this and other aspects of dance in English, Marathi and Hindi have been published in journals, periodicals & books. Her book ‘Nrityatmika’ which is a collection of essays on variety of all – encompassing aspects of classical dance is published by Continental publishers Pune. It is a first book of it’s kind in Marathi. She has also read papers and given lecture demonstrations in prestigious conferences. Aided by a grant from The council for historical research, New Delhi she has done extensive work on the dance sculptures of medieval period in Maharashtra in relation to the Natyashastra tradition.

Sucheta’s repertoire is vast. To the traditional compositions learned from her Gurus she has added a number of pieces in all the languages and types. In her new creative style ‘Nritya Ganga’ she has choreographed more than 75 compositions and is ever adding to it. With the additional insight obtained by the study of drawing, painting and sculpture Sucheta has developed a new style of group choreography and Kalavadhini Sankul productions like ‘Nayika’ and ‘Leeladaru’ are the result. Since 1997 Sucheta has successfully ventured into contemporary choreography. A full-fledged group production “From Darkness to Dawn” conceived and directed by her is based on Pt. Nehru’s famous book “Discovery of India” and the production accentuates the ancient Indian cultural values. Sucheta’s choreography and performance of two of the Rabindranath Tagore’s poems presented as part of “Battery dance company, New York’s production ‘Songs of Tagore’ have been praised for its beauty, grace and expression. She has choreographed and danced many of Rabindra Sangeet poems under the auspices of ” Sur-Zankar”,Pune.

“Maharashtra Gaurav” State Govt.’s top award for excellence in the field of dance.1993
“Nritya Vilas” – by Sur Singar Sansad, Mumbai.1993.

”S.L.Gadre’ award – Maharashtra Seva Sangh, Mulund, Mumbai.

‘Mahila-Jeevan Gourav’ award (Life time achievement award) by Stree Vimochan Trust – Pune’.
“Pune’s Pride” by Rotary Club, Pune.

National Award of Sangeet Natak Academy, New Delhi, for rare contribution & excellence in BharataNatyam.2007.
Shreshtha Kala Pracharak title from Ganesh Nrityalaya, New Delhi. 2015.
Pandita Rohini Bhate award from Pune city Corporation.2015