Ajay Kumar captivates spectators with graceful movements

Connoisseurs were floored by a scintillating performance of ‘Bhama Kalapam’ by Hamsadhvani Kuchipudi Nrutyalaya.

Much to the disbelief of the aesthetics, the person who captivated them with graceful movements during the ‘Vasanta Nava Ratrulu’ celebrations here on Thursday night was none other than a six-foot man.

The Santhapeta Saibaba temple open air theatre provided the right ambience for Kuchupudi dancer Ajay Kumar to unfold the ancient Kuchupudi tradition of “Roopanu Rupam”, wherein a male dancer dons the role of female dancer, taking a cue from the ‘Mohini avatar’ of Lord Mahavishnu.

Going down the memory lane after the captivating performance, 32-year-old Ch. Ajay Kumar, who has received honorary doctorate from one of the U.K. Universities for his research on the genre, said he took to dancing at an early age after a surgery when doctors advised him to undergo physiotherapy. He recovered fast and there was no stopping in learning the nuances of Kuchipudi after his maiden stage performance at the age of four years.

With only a handful of dancers taking to this traditional art form, Ajay said while talking to The Hindu that ‘my aim is to create interest in boys to take to ‘Roopanu Rupam’ tradition to portray various mythological characters including Mohini, Girija, Lalitha and Padmavati.’

Ajay, a post-graduate in Kuchipudi dance from the Telugu University, drew inspiration from actor Manju Bhargavi in his childhood. He matured into a worthy performer taking Kuchipudi dance icon Vedantam Satyanarayana Sarma, who has carved a niche for himself with ‘stree-vesham’ performances, as role model. Ajay was trained on the tradition by his guru K.V.Satyanarayana.