The following Post was composed by BhavaniChowdhary@MullingTales on her site.
While ‘Jayaho Kuchipudi’, an initiative of AP govt to develop Kuchipudi as Smart village, is undertaken by Silicon Andhra, ‘Jayathe Kuchipudi‘ Europe Tour was conceived by UKTA in collaboration with ICCR1 and Europe partners to showcase the diverse classical and folk music of AP &Telangana.
Originated centuries ago in Kuchipudi village, the classical dance form of Kuchipudi has undergone many transformations since the 20th century. The solo and dance dramas have dominated the attention of practitioners and all connoisseurs of kuchipudi, overshadowing the traditional genre –Kuchipudi Yakshagaanams and Bhamakalapams. By including Yakshagaanams in Jayathe Kuchipudi, the tour has gained an historical significance for presenting ALL art forms of Kuchipudi, apart from the fact that it’s a Europe wide tour in 9 countries and 12 locations.
This article showcases the ‘Jayathe Kuchipudi’ artistes at the inaugural function on 12th Jun’16 at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, London, graced by eminent personalities2 from India(Dr.Yarlagadda Lakshmiprasad3, Jasti Chelameswar ) and UK (Srinivas Gotru).
Act 1-The Torch Bearers (The local UK Kuchipudi artists)
Ms. Avanthi Meduri, a distinguished Reader and grand-granddaughter of Tanguturi Prakasam panthulu garu (Andhra Kesari) anchored the event. Her skills as a Dancer/Actress/Playwriter/Curator of Jayate Kuchipudi is reflected in the array of programmes and workshops planned.
The disciples of danseuse Deepa Viswamohan presented Brahmanjali,a kuchipudi repertoire that offers puja to Lord Nataraj, to Guru, to all musicians, poets and connoisseurs of dance invoking their blessings. Deepa & Co performed self-choreographed Annamacharya keertana “Govinda Govinda ani koluvare” a melodious subtle dramatic recital glorifying Lord Vishnu in different names.
Danseuse Arunima Kumar’s little disciples of age 2-7 displayed their antics of dance learning with an innocent charm that won instant adulation from all. Arunima’s solo rendition of Ardhanariswara-depicting one half of Lord Shiva and other half of divine female grace Parvati through her riveting facial expressions (abhinaya), sculptural and precise foot work, and presentation of Shiva-Shakti principles, kept audience engaged and enthralled.
As the stage gets transformed for the 45 artistes from India, Ms.Avanthi befittingly sung “Maa Telugu Talliki Mallepoo danda” first sung by her great aunt Tanguturi Suryakumari. Supported by just a hand thaalam, the voice modulations in her impromptus singing evoked a nostalgic pride of Telugu heritage.
Homage to Paramaguru Siddhendra Yogi—the progenitor of kuchipudi art, the prime nattuvar and choreographer of 14th century CE—was presented by three multi-award and multi-title winning Dancers with their disciples. Foremost was Smt.Muddali Ushagayatri, honoured with AP Govt’s highest award “HAMSA” and ‘Nritya Ratana’ is disciple of Late Shri Vedantam Jagannadha Sarma and Y.S.Sarma. With her group “Nrutya kinnera” she performed a Ganapathi Stuthi called Jhem Jhem thanana depicting Lord Ganapati’s movements in intricate rhythmic footwork. We are transported from Son to Father’s world of dance-Shivathandavam -an intense, energetic, and scintillating pure dance by ‘Nritya Bharati’ Dr. Jwala Srikala & Co. We are glided beautifully into a Dashavataram recital by Kalaratna ,Sringara Mani, Dr.Vanaja Uday & Co., in elegant and graceful kuchipudi costumes that synergized the quicksilver narration of Lord Hari’s dramatic ten avatars.
Act 3: Debut of Yakshagaanam in Europe
One of the most dramatic and exuberant manifestations of Kuchipudi repertoire is Yakshagaanam,the oldest of the traditional Telugu formats. It is a dance ballet that involves singing, dancing, narrating dramatically with a well defined plot leading to Dharma and Success, involving many characters—an ensemble that steals the Show.
Usually performed over three days, the one hour narration was a condensed version with all the rasa (sentiment) intact. Dr.Vedantam Venkata Naga Chalapathi, from the illustrious Vedantam family of Kuchipudi, as Hiranyakasipu (Antagonist) in the Bhaktaprahlad ballet displayed his prowesss with masterful abhinaya, walk, voice, intensity and dramatic gestures. On par is 10yr old Ms.V Hasita as Bhakta Prahlada(Protagonist), who, with her innocence, dialogue modulation and on-stage improvisation won flash applauses all through the show. Keeping in tune with the Yakshagaana tradition, five musicians Kumara Suryanarayana (Vocal), Palaparthi Anjaneyulu (Violin), S Kumar(Flute), P. Haranatha Sastry(Mridungam) V.Satyaprasad (Sutradhari) conducted live music that accentuated the dance drama riding us on peaks and troughs of entertainment.
Other technical artists supported altering between multiple roles, which is why being an artiste of Kuchipudi Yakshagaana troupe is a testimony of an artist’s multidisciplinary skills and a privilege to watch. Rest of the Europe shows may have a surprise treat of Bhaamakalapam or Usha parinayam ballet too from this Natyaramam troupe of Kuchipudi village. Hope it doesn’t get curtailed due to time constraints.
Act 4: Entertaining Jaanapadam (Folk Songs)
With daruvu and dappu (traditional folk instruments) for common man (Jana) using common words (pada) the not-so-common, but famous Folksinger Vaddepalli Srinivas from Telangana with his dancing troupe invoked Mahankali (The rural mother Goddess). He then entertained and made the audience dance to his folk numbers from Jaalari (fishing) and Lambadi(tribal) community to few Tollywood numbers. What a better way to transcend from Classical feast to winding up with peppy Folk songs, JayaHo in one night.
“Telugu vaaru andharu idhi naadhi -na anukodagga
oke okka sampadha Kuchipudi nrityam4”
Jasti Chelameswar at Jayate Kuchipudi,London 12 Jun’16
It’s a matter of Pride to watch. Don’t miss, and do catch the next show…
- ICCR-Indian Council of Cultural Relations; UKTA-UK Telugu Association
- Padmabhushan Yarlagadda Lakshmiprasad-Indian Writer and Politician; Hon’ble Justice Jasti Chelameswar (Supreme court Judge, Former Chief Justice of Kerala High Court); Srinivas Gotru-India Minister (Culture), Director-Nehru Centre,London; Dr P Killy ; K.S.S.Prasad; UKTA organisers from UK, Germany, Northern Ireland and Switzerland.
- Audio speech of Padmabhushan Yarlagadda Lakshmiprasad https://soundcloud.com/bhavani-chowdhary/ylp-speech-jayatekuchipudi
- Translation: Kuchipudi Dance is the only wealth that every Telugu person can say it is mine.
- UK tours- July 5thNehru centre,London; 8th July-Balaji Temple,Birmingham
- Europe tour- Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, France, Ireland And Northern IrelandFor venue details- check uktas.org.uk
Disclaimer: This article represents the opinions of the Author, and should not be considered a reflection of the views of the Andhra Cultural Portal. The Author is responsible for ensuring the factual veracity of the content, herein.