In Indian terms Tradition is understood as lines of transmission Para-Para ’from one to the other’. This is a very delicate balance of practice, sentiment and taste that is struck between two lifetimes. Paramparai was founded in 1994 by Saskia Kersenboom, to support and foster the ’Karnatik tradition’ of music and dance of Tamilnadu, South India, now known as ’Bharata Natyam’. Twenty years earlier she started her apprenticeship in dance with Smt. Nandini Ramani in Chennai. Classes in vocal and instrumental music with Shri B.Krishnamoorthy and Smt.R.(Veena) Ramani followed in 1977.

Around 1950, Nandini and her elder sister Priyamvada were among the first students of choreographer Shri K.Ganesan and the legendary dancer Smt.T.Balasaraswati, outside the direct family of these hereditary artists.


Paramparai offers an integrated course of South Indian dance, poetry and vocal/ instrumental music, called DASI ATTAM ’Dance of the Devadasis’, certified by the International Dance Council – Unesco, Paris. Its graded Marapu curriculum combines rigorous practice with theory to achieve artistic mastery coupled to conceptual strength and aesthetic finesse.

Summer Residencies are held in the village of Legénd, Northern Hungary, not far from Budapest. An outdoor dance floor under the plum trees and an indoor studio accommodate all classes as well as the final solo Dance Concert.

Eventually this course takes the student to Tamilnadu. The YATRA Residency takes place in the Tamil countryside along the Kaveri delta. An intensive curriculum contextualises DASI ATTAM in contemporary Hinduism and its continuing music and dance traditions.

Book & Multimedial Publications

Nityasumangali. Devadasi Tradition in South India (1984), (1987, 1998, 2002, 2011 Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass);

Word, Sound, Image, the Life of the Tamil Text, with interactive CD Bhairavi Varnam (1995, Oxford, Washington, Berg Publishers);

CD-ROM 'Devadasi Murai', Remembering Devadasis , 1997 a co-production between IGNCA (New Delhi) and Paramparai (Legénd (Hungary));

Interactive DVD 'Eye to Eye with Goddess Kamakshi', 2008, Paramparai Foundation commissioned by Museum Rietberg, Zuerich

Dort wo Shiva tanzt, DVD enclosed in Catalogue 'Shiva Nataraja, Der kosmische Taenzer' ed. Johannes Beltz, 2008, Zuerich: Museum Rietberg

The Smile of Tyagaraja, a Journey into Bharata Natyam, 2003. Documentary by Anine de Grood


For a selection of essays by Saskia Kersenboom access http://amsterdam.academia.edu/SaskiaKersenboom


» MURAI - The Right to Perform:

Intangible Cultural Heritage Project to research, document and develop music and dance performed by the hereditary community of Melakkarar musicians and dancers in and outside of Hindu temples of Tamilnadu. A joint project of Paramparai Foundation, Legend, Hungary; Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi, to be followed up with UNESCO, Paris .


» EXHIBITION on goddess KALI:
Guest-Curator for major (travelling) Exhibition on the Indian goddess KALI, Museum Rietberg (www.rietbeg.ch): research, design, sound and video installation, parallel artistic programs, catalogue with DVD. Working title: The Power of KALI


» The FACULTY of the VOICE - Intercultural explorations into Performance:
an ongoing praxis based study of the synergy, analysis and representation of the Performing arts of Music, Dance and Drama. The first phase of this project was a comparison of South Indian performing arts with the work of contemporary dance company Emio Greco/ PC (www.ickamsterdam.com). This collaboration was rounded up in June 2014 in a Seminar on Dance Notation by dancer-scholar Bertha Bermudez.

The ’FACULTY of the VOICE’ continues as a travelling, international workshop to music, dance and drama platforms: to London, Workshop at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, April, 2014, and to Chennai, India at its annual festivals for music and dance.

Contact: info@paramparai.eu