The extravaganza of Kuchipudi goes global - Hindustan Times
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The extravaganza of Kuchipudi goes global

By, New Delhi
Jul 22, 2022 06:10 PM IST

American dancer-choreographer Fred Astaire’s words — ‘Do it big, do it right and do it with style’ — came to the mind of those who were present at Sunnyvale Theatre in California, US

American dancer-choreographer Fred Astaire’s words — ‘Do it big, do it right and do it with style’ — came to the mind of those who were present at Sunnyvale Theatre in California, US. The place was lit up to celebrate the legacy of Indian classical dance form, Kuchipudi. The vibrant performances were part a two-hour concert by Natya Tarangini International, a Kuchipudi dance institute in the US. The occasion was to celebrate the second anniversary of this dance establishment, which witnessed its disciples joining from across the world, including UK, Oman, Singapore and Australia.

The two-hour concert by Natya Tarangini International, a Kuchipudi dance institute in the US, witnessed disciples joining from across the world, including UK, Oman, Singapore and Australia.
The two-hour concert by Natya Tarangini International, a Kuchipudi dance institute in the US, witnessed disciples joining from across the world, including UK, Oman, Singapore and Australia.

Danseuse Bhavana Reddy and Kuchipudi exponent Raja Reddy.
Danseuse Bhavana Reddy and Kuchipudi exponent Raja Reddy.

The concert, which took place in the presence of Kuchipudi exponent Raja Reddy, was inaugurated by Dr TV Nagendra Prasad (consul general of India, San Francisco). The august gathering also saw the presence of eminent personalities, including G Kishan Reddy, Union Minister for Culture; Arjun Ram Meghwal, Minister of State for Culture; and Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, president of Indian Council for Cultural Relations.

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Bhavana Reddy, who initiated the foundation of the international branch in 2020, as an online school, wanted people to understand what it means to be in the performing arts. “There was a lot of interest among people [following me on Instagram] to learn [Kuchipudi]. We had sessions with lectures, demonstrations and theories. We wanted to introduce people to what it means to be a dancer, to learn Kuchipudi, and what kind of commitment a person puts into learning it,” says the danseuse.

The event saw an invocation to Lord Ganesha, performed by students from Michigan and New York. This was followed by dance pieces featuring mudras, hastabhinaya, and introductory pieces such as Manduka Shabdam. Meeting students she couldn’t meet earlier because of the pandemic was nothing short of an adventurous feeling for Bhavana. “Everybody was just so happy. I was in tears watching them. So many of them wanted to perform, and had been preparing for this for the last two years. More than 20 students participated physically, and some 10 students participated virtually. And my father came all the way from India,” she adds.

Overcoming the challenges of a pandemic-stricken world, the dancers came together for in-person rehearsals, for the first time in two years. Bhavana says, “Last year, we had an online function due to Covid-19. This year, I told them that if they want to perform, they have to attend a 10-day camp... We had only met online for the last two years. So when all of us got together, the students from US with everybody else from outside present virtually, it was quite an overwhelming moment!”

Author Tweets @Nainaarora8

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