Renowned Kuchipudi dancer and guru A.B. Bala Kondala Rao and her troupe returned to the city recently after completing a successful month-long tour of the USA.

Giving details to the media, Ms. Bala Kondala Rao said she was overwhelmed by the keen interest of the audiences in knowing about Kuchipudi and its origin apart from enjoying and appreciating the performances. “It is a great honour for me that the organisers of the Cleveland Tyagaraja Aradhana festival, that is being conducted by V.V. Sundaram annually for the past 33 years, has chosen me to perform an exclusive Kuchipudi workshop for the first time,” she said.

“Only Bharatanatyam was being performed at the annual festival for the last 33 years. Many students had joined the 10-day workshop at Cleveland.” The tour had started off with a programme under the auspices of GWTCS in Maryland on March 27. Ms. Bala Kondala Rao's younger son Aditya Bulli Brahmam and daughter-in-law Maalyada Anand presented some of Ms. Bala's choreographies. They were supported by Ms. Bala herself on the Nattuvangam, her elder son Anand Srihari on the Mridangam, Ms. Saraswathi Chaitanya on vocal and Mr. Vinjamuri on the violin.

The second performance was at the famous Sri Venkateswara Temple at Pittsburg on the next day. Bindu Gutti and Suvarna Pappu, two of the senior most disciples of Ms. Bala had performed along with Maalyada Anand and Aditya. The performance at the Rochester University at Rochester in New York was on the theme ‘Transition of Kuchipudi' from the olden days to the present generation. It showcased items like ‘Sivastakam', ‘Vedalera Vayyalaru', ‘Vachenu Alamelumanga' and ‘Gayati Vanamali'. Ms. Bala's senior most disciples Vidya Aluri and Suvarna Pappu also participated. Roxanne Gupta, an American citizen, performed ‘Bhama Kalapam'. The performance was followed by a question and answer session.

“I thought that only a few persons would stay back to clarify their doubts but I was amazed to see not even a single person leaving the packed venue. They asked questions on the art of dance, various styles and Kuchipudi,” said Ms. Bala. The troupe toured 10 states and gave performances and lecture demonstrations. Earlier, president of Rotary Club Elite M.A. Ali recalled the contribution of Ms. Bala Kondala Rao to the promotion of Kuchipudi for which the club had chosen her for the prestigious ‘Award for Professional Excellence'.

Keywords: Dance maestro

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