Story behind an art form

Enlightening talk

Story behind an art form

Dance, being an interactive form of art, is often hard to explain in a limited time. But kuchipudi dancer Veena Murthy Vijay dancer tried just that with a lecture demonstration, held as a part of the ‘Academy of Music Chowdiah Awards’ and ‘K K Murthy Memorial Music Festival 2012’ at Chowdiah Hall recently.

Explaining the different adavus and the influences of yakshagana on kuchipudi, this dancer, who has been performing and teaching dance from 35 years, tried to explain the art form to the audience. “For some reason, people here in the City are not able to appreciate the art form, and this lecture was intended to clear that barrier,” said Veena. “Kuchipudi has the same kind of beauty that any dance form has and it is a universal art form,” she added.She further explained, “Kuchipudi is one of the only dance formats, unlike bharatanatyam or kathak, that allows speech, dance and drama in it.

There are no strict rules to this art form, and the artiste can explore various dimensions and mould the dance to his or her own body kinetics.” Explaining about the
dance format, she said, “The dance form in the tenth century AD was performed as
bhagwathamelas, and represented contemporary issues where performers went from
village to village.

They would pick up an issue and very subtly hint it. The dance thus had a social responsibility to it.”Kuchipudi slowly progressed to its solo format, when gurus took excerpts, and changed them into solo performances. “For a solo, the different features included are purvaranga vidhi, jathiswaram, shabdam, tharangam, kalapam, and
the act ends with tillana,” elaborated Veena. She also tried to explain the connectionbetween yakshagana and kuchipudi, and with the help of her
students who performed certain pieces on the stage, explained the different adavus.

A few restructured adavus by Veena, like Dhigidudinna as Jaaru, and Ekataala and Thiruvadatala, where eye, foot and hand movements have been codified, were also depicted on the stage.In response to the lecture, Seeba Vinoy, a member of the audience, said, “My daughter is a dance student, and it is wonderful to be able to
attend such lectures, where the history of an art form is explained.

It’s always important to know the story behind an art form, how it came into being and what it originally was.”Ragini Umesh, a dance teacher, said, “There is a great need to understand any dance form, from its basics. It is really hard to explain any art form in words, and Veena’s presentation has just proved that it is possible. It is very
important to know the context of a performance and dance form, rather than just see it
as sheer movements put
together.”

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