Raja and Radha Reddy give an impressive presentation of Kuchipudi to school children.
A chill winter night ushered in the five-day SPICMACAY fest with the traditional nadaswaram by Venugopal and Shiva. The auspicious notes of nagumomu ganaleni… in Abheri and Annamacharya's Govindashrita Gokulabrinda… to the accompaniment of ‘dolu' by Sri Ramulu and Venkata Narasimhulu was enchanting. The government school environs at Bolarum with its vast tract of open land and trees was the right beginning to spread an awareness of our culture among schoolchildren.
Introducing the art of Kuchipudi dance, Delhi-based veteran dancer couple Raja and Radha Reddy gave a crisp, impressive presentation prefacing it with Ganapathi vandanam, a Dikshitar kriti. In perfect sync and a chemistry that seems so visible between them, the couple made a profound impact (despite mike constraints) with steady footwork, sancharis, excellent postures and moves and expressive (both in gestures and countenance) abhinaya.
The stance itself, prior to the commencement of the dance proper, is something to write home about. While Raja Reddy takes on a posture with a well-drawn, full length, stiff positioning of the spine, with the feet and hands in the mandatory, aesthetic position, his better-half taking the same stance lends her air of grace which is so evident in every nerve that together gives one the impression of tandava and lasya personified. To a discerning eye, he symbolizes the male principle and she the female.
Launching into a lecdem, the veteran guru gave a brief exposition of padavinyasam, the most essential ingredient of dance, through his students. Beginning with the basic adavus, he went on to angikabhinaya, etc with Radha chipping in to finish the daruvu.
The Ganapathi Atharvasheersham was a lovely piece, done to pre-recorded music (the mikes failed leaving the orchestra high and dry) by the quartet (pupils) was a marvellous piece of artistic translation of the Sanskrit sloka/mantras. The footwork was strong, never repetitive with karmas to lend a finishing touch that was aesthetic to the core. The hasthabhinaya showed Ganapathi in myriad ways with a matching facial expression that was uniformly distributed across all the four pupils. Every move and stance was strictly in coordination with each other, never letting a moment's slip. For once, we had a feeling of watching ‘real' Kuchipudi!
The Ashtapadi by Radha and Raja Reddy was an abhinaya-oriented piece which was not devoid of dance element as is the case with many a present day dancer. Fine sancharis with apt footwork and varied expressions which ran like sangathees to the lyric marked this piece.
It is indeed a delight and worthy of emulation that given the stature of this dancing couple, Raja Reddy reached out to an audience that comprised mainly children and teachers of government school with love and patience that was visible at every step of the lecdem.