Practising endocrinologist Dr. Jayanthy Ramesh performs Kuchipudi to highlight health issues
Ever had hormones like oxytocin, glucagon or thyroid strike a mudra and introduce themselves to you? Or have someone represent the rhythm and balance that different organs and hormones strike in order to keep you going like a well-oiled machine? Just one misstep or imbalance could cause this machine to come to a crashing halt. This is exactly what Dr Jayanthy Ramesh tried to present through his Kuchipudi dance ballet on the eve of World Health Day.
Organised by Sai Institute of Endrocrinology in association with Cisne for Arts, this dance ballet presented various health issues in a creative manner. The blend of medical science and Kuchipudi dance was conceptualised and scripted by Dr Jayanthy Ramesh, a practising endocrinologist. “Though it is a Kuchipudi dance ballet, it was a way to express the importance of hormones in the body, lifestyle ailments and create awareness about health issues. I basically wanted to use a platform to drive home the point to the common man in a language understands,” he says, adding , “Each hormone has a specific action and there is pulse style release, rhythmic action, amplitude, target action etc.
Endocrinology is a dynamic equilibrium. Dance too has similar factors – pace, rhythm, action. That is why we thought of blending the two.”
The entire dance ballet was choreographed by Kuchipudi exponent Bhagavathula Sethuram, who also heads the department of dance at Telugu University. “I’ve been training under Guruji for some time now and after I penned the script he choreographed the ballet. This was no mean feat given that he had to express various hormones, their functions and lifestyle ailments through dance. I don’t think anyone else could have choreographed the ballet as beautifully as he has,” says the doctor, who also performed a portion of the ballet. Thirteen of Sethuram’s students also performed the ballet. Vocal support was lent by Mantha Srinivas, a software employee.
The ballet, which began with an ode to India, a country of cultural and religious diversity, soon progressed to introducing the various hormones in the human body and their importance before moving on to throw light upon the various lifestyle ailments like obesity, diabetes and cardiac issues that plague young Indians. “We as a nation are genetically predisposed to diabetes and heart ailment. But our current lifestyle habits that involve barely any exercise and changing dietary habits are only worsening the situation and are responsible for even youngsters falling prey to dreaded diseases. Through my dance I wanted to highlight these issues and create awareness among the general public on the importance of staying fit,” says Dr Ramesh, who often has youngsters walking into his clinic with such ailments.
Dr Ramesh, who first performed this ballet in February for an international medical conference, improvised upon the script for his recent performance. The medical practitioner who is also interested in poetry and creative arts says that penning the script happened in bursts. “Inspiration can strike any time. So I didn’t write the entire script in one go. Lines would come to me while I’d interact with patients or when watching a music performance. I would make notes on my smartphone and then put it all together later. While I wrote the script in Telugu, my wife Dr. Srivalli translated it into English to cater to a wider audience,” he says. Incidentally, the performance included various audio-visual elements in the backdrop to heighten the entire experience.
Interestingly, Dr Ramesh is not a trained dancer. “I learnt dance for a couple of years before I joined medical school out of pure interest. But with medical school and subsequent practice, dance took a back seat. I’ve attempted this performance after a gap of nearly 25 years,” he grins.