Kuchipudi Kalakshetra students paid tribute to the academy's founder.

The splendid spectacle of classical dance presented by students of the local Kuchipudi Kalakshetra, an off-shoot of Vempati Chinasatyam's institute (Kuchipudi Kalakendram) in Chennai, marked the Founder's Day celebration of Visakha Music and Dance Academy held last Wednesday.

VMDA founder secretary S. Gopala Sastry and former mayor D.V. Subba Rao, who were guests of honour, gave away the annual awards of the academy. Young artistes Amuktamalyada (Kuchipudi), T. Aparna (veena), D.L. Prachodan (vocal), Ch. JCSVS Pavan (violin) and S. Janardhan Rao (mridangam) were the recipients of the awards. Subba Rao and Sastry paid rich tributes to late Susarla Surya Bhagavat Sankara Sastry who worked single handed for 30 years raising funds and secured site to build a temple of Thyagaraja along with a concert hall before he died at the age of 88. Later, CSN Raju further pooled in funds and completed the project along with the likes of Gopala Sastry (son of SSBS Sastry). Raju speaking later, expressed his ambition of elevating the VMDA School of Music and Dance to college level.

All items of dance starting from the invocatory Jayamu Jayamu followed by Siva-Parvathi, Apsaras, Marakathamanimayachela, Paramapurushudithadu, Narayaneeyam (choreographed by Padma Bhushan Vempati) and Thillana by his disciple Hari Ramamurty, the principal of the Kalakshetra, turned out to be showpieces of expression of elite aesthetics. A.K. Smrithi, S.D. Choodamani, Y. Swetha, V.R. Subba Raju, B. Bharathi, R. Kalyani, A. Sruthi, Kiranmayee, K. Prathyusha, G.Y. Niveditha, V. Varshitha, S.S. Manjari and S.K. Sannidha presented them in groups. Each one of them exhibited clinically precise footwork and movements replete with grace coupled with empathically delectable mukhachabhinaya.

Professional touch

All kudos to Hari Rama Murty, who accomplished the job of training the students proficiently with soulful involvement and made his students execute all niceties of choreography not only of his guru but also his own with professional finish. He expertly wielded the cymbals while Kanakadurga and Savitri lent excellent vocal support in the conformable company of Phanikumar on mridangam, Satyavishal on violin and T. Atchutharao on flute. Make-up by Chiranjeevi was an asset. Present secretary of the VMDA, GRK Prasad (Rambabu) was the master of the ceremony.