Kuchipudi gets global

Classical moves

Kuchipudi gets global

The Kuchipudi dance school of Padmabhushan awardees Raja and Radha Reddy – Natya Tarangini – recently celebrated its 37th anniversary. On the momentous occasion, students of the dance school presented Kuchipudi on various musical pieces emphasising on the dance form’s adaptability to music in various languages. The programme at Kamani Auditorium was certainly a treatise on this ancient performing art from Andhra Pradesh.

Natya Tarangini was established in Delhi in 1976 with the aim of popularising Kuchipudi in North India as well. Today, it trains no less than 200 students including the physically and mentally challenged. Secretary, Natya Tarangini, Rani informed Metrolife, “It is a very happy occasion for us that our students, who have been undergoing rigorous training for years, are finally displaying their prowess before such a large audience. It not only gives them their first stage experience but also tremendously improves their confidence.”

All the performances at the festival were choreographed by Gurus Raja and Radha Reddy themselves. First in line came the youngest students of Natya Tarangini displaying the basic foot movements and hand gestures – mudras – as taught in Kuchipudi. The little girl also presented a beautiful piece on My heart is a temple – a poem from the Bible. A Kuchipudi performance on an English song is unusual but the girls not only did it perfectly but also looked absolutely adorable.

Middle-school students then rendered a piece on Chidambaranattam – a Tamil prayer in praise of Lord Shiva. Shiva is himself said to be a great dancer, originator and practitioner of many classical instruments. The students deftly portrayed the physical attributes of Shiva as well as his many qualities paying him a most befitting obeisance.

Then came the senior most students to render the most difficult and yet charming piece of a Kuchipudi performance – Tarangam. At least 18 students danced expertly standing on the edge of brass plates with earthen lamps (diya) in their hands and a vessel of water (kundi) on their heads. Rani explained, “Performing on a brass plate symbolises that you have severed all connections with this world and are now directly connected with the Lord.”

Lastly, a senior student Pernia Qureshi performed Kuchipudi on an Urdu song Jabse tune mujhe diwana bana rakha hai. This song has been penned by poet Nasir and rendered by songstress Abida Parveen often. A Kuchipudi performance on an Urdu song was probably rendered for the first time, but it didn’t look out of place at all. The elements of bhakti and rakti, i.e. devotion and romance – both came through the performance beautifully.  

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