'Want traditions to remain intact'

'Want traditions to remain intact'

Kuchipudi maestro

Renowned Kuchipudi dancer Raja Reddy feels that unlike general perception that the interest in classical dance forms is diminishing, Kuchipudi is growing. “Youngsters are passionate about this dance form and are keen to learn it,” says Raja, who runs ‘Natya Tarangini Performing Arts Centre’ along with his two wives, Radha and Kaushalya.

“Also dance is a fabulous way of connecting the younger generation with our roots and traditions,” adds Raja, whose institute trains students in classical dance, music, yoga and Sanskrit.

Ahead of the 20th edition of his conceptualised ‘Parampara Series – National Festival of Music and Dance’ in the city, he says, “We want traditions to remain intact.

Despite all the changes that dances have undergone over the years, dance has more or less maintained its vocabulary. It prompted us to conceptualise a festival like Parampara.” Conducted right after monsoon and just before the withering autumn, Parampara Series has created a name for itself in the past 19 years. “Our approach has been to present traditional dances. But we also ensure that contemporary art forms are also included,” mentions the dancer who has been conferred the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan.

So what’s new this time? “Most successful dance productions of recent times including Manipuri recital and contemporary dance will be staged in addition to musical concerts by legendary artistes. With two concerts each evening, there will be performances by artistes like Lokendrajit Singh (Manipuri dance), Ronu Mazumdar (Hindustani flute), D Srinivas, D Sesha Chary and D Raghava Chary (veena and Carnatic vocal), among others,” he points out.

Changing gears, he tells Metrolife that the turning point in his life was when he saw yesteryear actor Vyjayanthimala’s dance in the film Nagin. “I was so enamoured with the song and dance sequence that I practised its movements for days thereafter. I admired Vyjayanthimala and used to copy her by wearing a kurta and dancing to Man dole mera tan dole, mere dil ka gaya qaraar re,” he laughs as he recalls the song.

As somebody whose entire family, including his daughters Yamini and Bhavana ,are dedicated to propogating Kuchipudi, ask him how he would like to be remembered, and pat comes the reply, “As someone who has done service for Kuchipudi and has dedicated his whole life to this dance form.”

Catch Natya Tarangini’s ‘Parampara Series’ from September 30 to October 2, from 7 pm to 9.30 pm, at Kamani Auditorium.

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