Kuchipudi Elegance

Vennapusala Ramya

HYDERABAD: Cherishing and celebrating Kuchipudi, the traditional dance form of the Telugu states for over six years, Natya Mayura recently marked its sixth anniversary with the event Natyanubhava 2023 at Ravindra Bharathi. The occasion showcased the emerging talents of young artistes accompanied by a live orchestra.

In a conversation with Maddali Soundarya Kaushik, Natyacharya, she explained, “Natyanubhava means the experience of art. That is the way it has been communicated for so many centuries-- in the form of an experience. That was the experience we wanted to give to the audience.”

The divine evening commenced with ‘Sabhavandanam-Slokabhinayam,’ featuring the young students of Natya Mayura, who presented a beautiful garland of slokas in Raagamalika, praising the gods. This was followed by ‘Bomma Bomma Tha,’ a Kannada Bhajana dedicated to ‘Nartana Ganapati’ and penned by M N Subramaniam. The next rendition was ‘Hasta Nritya,’ a creative choreography piece showcasing Asamyuta Hastas, which are hand gestures accompanied by music and dance.

Talking about the event and the organisation Mamidi Harikrishna, Director of the Telangana Department of Language and Culture, stated, “Naatya Mayura is an organisation that was established according to the new trends, I believe. This organisation follows the path of Kinnera Art Theatres, which has been known for representing traditional art forms in Delhi and internationally for more than four decades. I congratulate all the performers and audience for being a part of this wonderful event.”

The highlight of the event was the top-notch presentation of ‘Takku vemi manaku,’ a Bhakta Ramadasu Keerthana. The 30-minute performance portrayed the Dasavataaras, the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu, with 20 dancers gracefully enacting the elaborate stories associated with each incarnation. After that, a rendering was offered to Lord Shiva, who presides in the form of Linga; ‘Lingashtakam’was presented.

“I have been learning Kuchipudi for a year now. This is my first time performing on such a big platform. I feel very happy, and I’m thankful to my teacher, M Soundarya Kaushik, for this wonderful opportunity,” expressed Aashritha, a 12-year-old student at Natya Mayura Kuchipudi Dance Academy.

The final presentation of Natyanubhava featured a Tarangam performance composed by Narayana Theerthulu. It described the charming Krishna amidst his gopikas in the piece called ‘Krishnam Kalaya sakhi Sundaram.’ The dancers captivated the audience by showcasing traditional Jathis (rhythmic footwork) on brass plates, symbolising the traditional elements of Kuchipudi dance.

The performance concluded with a Krishna Bhajan, with all 40 students performing as ‘Managalam’ - Achyutam Keshavam. Commenting on the final performance of the event, ‘Managalam’, Maddali Soundarya Kaushik further stated, “The unique part about this event was the participation of all the 40 students and taking the stage to a very divine experience, especially in the last ‘Managalam’, when all the 40 students were on the stage, we received the standing ovation from the guests, whoever was invited for the event, from the parents, and also from the audience, whoever was present there. So that something encouraged the children a lot. So all 40 students coordinating so well and doing so together was really like a festival in Ravindra Bharathi, I can say.”

Distinguished guests of the event included Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary of the Industries & Commerce (I&C) and Information Technology (IT) Departments of the Telangana government; Dr G Padmaja Reddy, Kuchipudi exponent and Padma Shri awardee and Kala Krishna, Andhra Natyam exponent and Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee. The orchestra is led by Maddali Soundarya on Nattuvangam, Mantha Srinivas on vocals, Sridharacharya on Mridangam, Mahavadi Vasu Sastry on violin, and Bhavani Prakash on flute.

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