Chat After a brief tryst with banking and hospitality sectors, Shyama Sasidharan realised her heart yearned to master nuances of Kuchipudi dance
After gaining experience in banking and hospitality sectors, she compered a few shows back home in Kerala. “I toured parts of Middle East and the US to compere live shows and I even played host to Kerala’s first reality show ‘Super Star’ but a sense of lacking kept haunting me until I embraced my passion –the Kuchipudi dance,” says Shyama Sasidharan.
A native of Tripunithura in Kerala, Shyama is an alumnus of Mahatma Gandhi University, Kochi.
Her tryst with Kuchipudi started in 2011 when she managed to get a seat in Sri Siddhendra Kuchipudi Kalapeetham Telugu University, Kuchipudi for a Master of Performing Art in Kuchipudi dance form.
“I was apprehensive about my being non-Telugu and could foresee problems due to language barrier. But the locals in the village are very warm and affectionate and they have adopted me as their child,” she says with a smile.
It took only a few weeks for her to get accustomed to the local lifestyle.
“For outsiders, Kuchipudi is a dance form. But here in the village, Kuchipudi is a way of life for many who have dedicated their life to spread the art form” says Shyama.
“I am inspired by the way my gurus, including famous Kuchipudi exponent Vedantam Radhashyam, lead simple life. Lesser mortals like me don’t even deserve to sit beside them”, says Shyama, who has developed a strong bond with her dance teachers and the villagers.
Her teacher Radhasyam has words of praise for her: “Shyama is more like a daughter rather than a student. She is passionate about dance and she has performed roles of Leelavathi, Rathi Devi and the most difficult Gollakalapam in Kuchipudi, which are not part of her curriculum.”
Shyama has always been keen to perform in the surrounding villages on special occasions.
“Performing at the Ramalingeswara temple at Kuchipudi, where the dance form has evolved and touring the villages around has helped me to understand the glorious history of the Kuchipudi village,” says Shyama
With the help of her sister Seema, Shyama had learnt Bharathanatyam and Mohiniattam in her school days. She has completed here two-year-long course at Kuchipudi this month. “I wish I could prolong my stay here to mould myself into a complete Kuchipudi exponent” says she.
A keen sense of observation and her interest in listening to theory has helped her learn Gollakalapam, a solo performance in Kuchipudi, which is considered tough by the Gurus. It also demands the performer’s vocal talent.
“Of all my public performances, including that of the Satyabhama’s, the Gollakalapam performance at Yelakurru village on Sri Ramanavami day will always remain special to me. But I still have a long way to go to be able to present a two or three-hour mesmerising solo show. The best part of training in Kuchipudi here is that you have access to gurus all the time. Gifted with rare talent, this Kerala girl has tasted success regardless of the nature of the career she chose. This is precisely why her parents, K. Sasidharan and Kamala Sasidharan, allowed her to choose the path of her desire.
T. Appala Naidu