Classical Dance: Kuchipudi Dance

Alekhya Punjala:The Rudrama of dance

Alekhya Punjala

Alekhya Punjala  

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Alekhya Punjala’s repertoire is an enriching and empowering one

By now, in dance circles, the portrayal of Rudrama Devi has become synonymous with senior Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam dancer Alekhya Punjala. A performer, teacher and a researcher, her choreographies have always been innovative, specially in the ballets that have roles like Draupadi, Satyabhama, Rukmini, Radha, Parvathi, Durga, Kali, Rudrama and many more challenging roles. She earned the title ‘Abhinava Tapaswini’ from the ‘Sahitya Peetham’ of Andhra Pradesh at a very young age. She was awarded Ph.D. for her work on ‘Kshetrayya Padams’.

Alekhya is the Registrar of Telugu University, where she had taught Kuchipudi to innumerable students.

Her vigour is reflected in the fresh challenges that she takes up as seen in her production ‘Rudrama’, the 11th Century queen of the Kakatiya dynasty. Recently she gave a performance at Ravindra Bharathi , and the audience lapped up her portrayal of Rudrama Devi with lot sof appreciation.

The state government and central Government honoured her bestowing the Hamsa Award and Sangeet Natak Akademy award respectively.

Alekhya is well known for Satvikabhinaya. She choreographed Annamacharya kirtanas, Kshetrayya padams and even experimented with the compositions of Rabindranatha Tagore.She earned doctorate for her research on the subject of ‘Kshetrayya Padams'.

“I was invited by organisers of major festivals held at Khajuraho, Konark Haridas Samaroh Chidambaram and so on. I chose some challenging subjects like ‘Lakuma Swanthanam’, a story of Lakuma Devi a courtesan in the court of Komaragiri Reddy, a rare and big production that gave me lot of satisfaction,” says Alekhya who’s a top-ranking artiste of Doordarshan and a panel member of ICCR.

Giving a brief of her career as dancer, Alekhya says she began learning dance asa child under the late Deen Dayal Sharan and later under the tutelage of Uma Rama Rao. She did her post graduation in Culture and Archaeology. “I took the subjects like ‘Nagarjuna sagaram’ of C Narayana Reddy and many other poetic works of other authors as my themes for Kuchipudi dance. I took Kuchipudi to International audience especially of Europe, USA, Canada and Middle East.”

Another production that was much talked about was ‘Maheswari –Mahakali’ of the poet Balantrapu Rajani Kantha Rao Though this was originally choreographed by Alekhya’s guru Uma Rama Rao, the way we notice some exorbitant niceties and nuances and mood changing skills could be achieved only by the performer. This gave scope to the artiste to go for extreme emotional display. No dance of her goes sans this number that speaks of Alekhya’s talent.

Alekhya simialrly created ballets based on the compositions of Thyagaraja, Annamacharya, Sreenadha and Narayana Teertha and on rare subjects like 'Bhakti Movement in Dance’, conscious of not repeating the same subject.

From her dance institute ‘Trishna’, Alekhya trained many young dancers and she groomed herself into a good teacher, researcher and choreographer. Her Lec-Dems are always looked forward to and, with them, she keeps the spirit, passion and tradition of dance alive.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 12:28:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/dance/the-hindu-friday-review-telangana/article30535281.ece

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