Rediscovering Their Love for Kuchipudi

Meet two friends who left their jobs as HR professionals to pursue dance

Published: 29th September 2015 04:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th September 2015 04:18 AM   |  A+A-

WHITEFIELD:Ekaatma, a Kuchipudi recital by Rekha Satish and Deepa Sashindran to be held at Jagriti Theatre on Tuesday, will present various interpretations of Krishna and Vishnu.

Rekha and Deepa, who trained under actress-danseuse Manju Bhargavi, have been practising the dance form for over three decades now. The two friends worked for a few years as HR professionals and took up Kuchipudi with renewed vigour about five years ago. “Even while we were working, we performed and practised dance, but that was mostly for shows for our companies and sometimes for others during weekends,” says Rekha.

Deepa.jpgDeepa, who co-founded Kuchipudi Parampara Foundation with Rekha, chimes in, “We were sitting next to each other at a performance by Manju Bhargavi five years ago when our eyes met and we realised that we had to immerse ourselves in dance once more.”

Both of them felt they had a legacy to protect and pass on. “We had watched scores of performances by others that didn’t really conform to the rich traditions of Kuchipudi,” says Deepa, who travelled with her guru when she was just a teenager and gradually transitioned to performing alongside her.

The two friends have also learnt Bharatanatyam, which they feel has helped lay a strong foundation for dance in them. “The mudras and the base in Bharatanatyam call for perfection,” says Rekha. “In many ways, Kuchipudi is similar. Of course, it is more about the expressions and grace and the tempo of the footwork is rather reminiscent of Kathak.”

Rekha first learnt Bharatanatyam from Lakshmi Rajamani and switched to Kuchipudi when she was 12. She trained under Vempati Chinna Satyam at Kuchipudi Art Academy in Chennai. “When I was around 15 and got a scholarship from the academy, I began learning from Manju Bhargavi who was in Bengaluru so that I wouldn’t miss too many classes in college as I travelled back and forth,” she says.

Apart from conducting classes, the two women also conduct workshops for Spic Macay. This took them to Rajasthan earlier this month. In addition, Rekha teaches at a school in the city while Deepa takes classes at Swati Tirunal Kala Kendram in Kozhikode.

They employ different methods of teaching. At schools and workshops, they try to liken the dance gestures and movements to scientific concepts so that students can relate to them. But with the more serious students, they take the traditional approach. The duo, now in their early 40s, continue to learn — they make it a point to go to the Kuchipudi Art Academy, where they are mentored by Vempati Chinna Satyam’s son Vempati Ravi Shankar, at least once a month.


Kuchipudi duet Ekaatma will be held at Jagriti at 8 pm on Tuesday. Tickets are available on Bookmyshow.

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