Visakhapatnam saw the celebration of World Dance Day.

Last Thursday, World Dance Day was celebrated with fervour in the port city. Visakha District Cultural Council organised a function at Kalabharathi. Kuchipudi maestro Vempati China Satyam was honoured with the State government's Natyacharya Award comprising a citation, shawl and Rs.50,000 in cash by the Tribal Welfare Minister P. Balaraju. His disciples offered Swarna Pooja to their illustrious guru, who has made the tradition find a prominent place in the international arena of classical dance.

More prominent was the day-long celebration organised by members of the Nataraj Music and Dance Academy, founded and provided with a Kuchipudi teaching and training institute by Vikram Goud Bathina. It was launched with a two-hour workshop conducted by noted exponent Manju Bhargavi of Sankarabharanam fame. After this, tens of dozens of dancers in glittering costume representing fifteen forms of folk dance traditions gathered in the afternoon at R.K. Beach. They were all brought in procession to Gurajada Kalakshetram at which the main function was held in the evening.

After a solo (Kuchipudi) performed by Sai Jyothi, leaders of folk forms of dances – Chekka bhajana, Tappetagullu, Kolatam, Dappu nrityam, Garaga nrityam, Burrakadha, Jalari nrityam, Veeranatyam, Jamukula Kadha and Chitikela kolatam – were honoured with mementos and cash awards. The chief guest for the evening, P. Balaraju, honoured Manju Bhargavi and conferred the title of Navarasa Natyakalamanjari on her.

Next, a Kuchipudi dance ballet Sri Lalitha Nrityarchanam was presented by her disciples Veena, Dhanya, Kirthi, Hari, Vasanth, Madhav and others with herself in the lead. It was a translated version of Sri Lalithaashtottara Satha Nama Stuti in Sanskrit into Telugu by Rallabandi Kavitha Prasad. The ballet was set to evocative music by D.S. Sastry in nine ragas – Aarabhi, Kamavardhini, Hindolam, Sahana, Punnagavarali, Mohana, Kanada, Ranjani and Suddhasaveri – and the choreography by Manju Bhargavi was excellent. However, lack of briskness in execution could not uniformly sustain audience interest.