VISAKHAPATNAM: It might come as a jolt to the Kuchipudi dancers to know that the once illustrious Kuchipudi Kalakshetram, founded by the legendary classical dancer Vempati Chinna Satyam, is now in a sorry state and has become a drinking hub for youth in late nights.
Founded in 1985, the dance academy near the Visakha Valley Road has been the witness of Arangetrams of many renowned dancers. The building which still holds a strong sentimental value among Kuchipudi dancers is now in a dilapidated condition and the lack of adequate transport facility to the place has become a hindrance for students to attend the academy regularly, said Jagan, a Kuchipudi artiste.
It’s been five years since any activity was taken up at the Kalakshetram and with no student attending the classes, the administration had arranged an alternative place within the city for the purpose.
Explaining about the future of the academy, Jagan said:”We need proper equipment and a good stage. The administration is now putting efforts to renovate it, apart from taking up road expansion activity nearby. It might help the academy.”
However, it looks like the Academy would need more than that to regain its past glory. “While our master Vempati Chinna Satyam was there, the academy was abuzz with continuous programmes and classes. But after his demise, not many programmes were taken up. Though, many old artistes wish to protect the place, there is dearth of good teachers who can conduct classes here regularly,” said Lalith Kumar Gupta, an old student of the Kalakshetram.
Provision of tight security for girl students too is essential, if the Academy has to run successfully, he added.
Saying the protection of the rich heritage of the Kalakshetra is every art lover’s responsibility, A Rukumaji Rao, a Kuchipudi dancer from the city, said that it was essential to protect it, not only for encouraging the art form but also to provide an alternate venue for artistes to perform free of cost.
“The available indoor auditoriums in the city are collecting huge amounts for performances and avenues like this Kalakshetram can be of great help for budding artistes,” he said.