The young disciples of Kuchipudi dancer Bhagavatula Sethuram displayed their dancing skills.
In keeping with Children's day, Kuchipudi guru Bhagavatula Sethuram presented his young disciples in a group choreography, Ashtalakshmi Vaibhavam. The theme was culled out of Adi Sankara's Ashtalakshmi stotram and partly out of Tantric Devi Suktam's ‘Devi Mahatmya' which extols the all-mighty mother goddess.
A group of 10 dancers with one young boy among them took to the stage with Lakshmeem ksheera samudra raja tanayam with apt bhava and laya to the nattuvangam by their guru Sethuram.
They dispersed only to enter in fours and threes for each of the verses of Ashtalakshmi stotram with vibrant footwork- the jati series that never got repeated at any point of time throughout the recital- beautiful sanchari bhava, apt abhinaya going by their age and experience and never out of step. At the end of each verse they formed into a single file with the mudra that upheld the devi that was praised in the prayer. Thus we had the eight varied manifestations of Madhusudhana gamini (Goddess Lakshmi) like Adi Lakshmi, Dhanyalakshmi, Dhairyalakshmi, Gajalakshmi, Santhanalakshmi, Dhanalakshmi, Vidyalakshmi and Vijayalakshmi- was brought out through the dance that had a neat balance of nritta and abhinaya and all other elements that endorse a classical dance form. Each verse was preceded by an entry through pure dance (footwork), then went on to depicting and delineating the verse in full through the three cycles of speed plus the required moves on the stage enacting the appropriate bhava (sanchari), that it was a pleasure to watch genuine Kuchipudi style for once. Kudos to Guru Bhagavatula Sethuram for imparting authentic training to his disciples. It remains for them to take it forward in future in precisely the form and fitness he has bestowed upon them and cut out a name for them and their guru.
For some of the verses, the younger brigade (below 12) outreached their seniors in footwork precision, the right stance and energetic movements which is quintessential to this genre, while abhinaya is the underlying factor for any dance style. Of these, two little ones need a mention, Abhinav and Vaishnavi- despite being a part of the smaller group, these two showed a potential of innate talent that set them a little apart from the rest. While all the young dancers displayed strong footwork and hasthabhinaya, a discerning viewer could easily notice that Abhinav and Vaishnavi excelled the others in facial expression that changed according to the mood of the verse/song, which is marvellous in one so young.
The hymn to the mother goddess was a fitting finale to the presentation that lifted the theme to an imposing level. Vocalist Lavanya Latha's Sanskrit diction and rendition left much to be desired. Nageswara Rao on the mridangam and Subbalakshmi on the violin and ghatam effects by Durga Kumar were complemented the performance which was a part of Adyatmika Samskrutotsavam at Thyagaraya Gana Sabha under the aegis of TTD, AP Department of Culture and Kinnera Art Theatres.