Dance

The famed form of ‘Simhanandini’

Guru Voleti Rangamani (extreme left) takes a bow with her disciples against the image drawn with their drawing feet.  



HYDERABAD: About half a century ago, noted Kuchipudi guru C.R. Acharya found it worthy to highlight the ‘Simhanandini’ episode from Kuchipudi as was practiced by the devadasis. He taught this art form to his daughter Voleti Rangamani who expanded its repertoire and made it popular in India and also in the West. It appealed to the audience more because of the technical element involved in drawing with feet pictures of a ‘lion’ or a ‘peacock’ or a ‘lotus’ on a canvas after smearing the feet with coloured powder. These are called Simhanandini , Mayura Kautvam , and Mahalakshmi Udbhavam . These were part of ‘Alaya Nrityas’ (temple dances), presented by Devadasis.

Celebrating 50 years of its existence, Rangamani held a fest at Ravindra Bharati for two days, last week. The show on both days ended with giving a display of drawing these pictures with their dancing feet. The girls who took part in this special event were Mounika and Mridula for Simhanandini, Pratima and Sunidhi Mayurakatvam (picture of peacock) and K. Mounika (lotus). There were other traditional dances too presented by Manitha, Mounika, Mrudula, Pratima, Sinidhi, Vyshnavi and Abhigna.

The event began with traditional Vinayaka Stuti followed by popular jatiswaram in Athana. Most of these numbers need dancers to dramatise the themes. Jatiswaram indeed, is a mix of jatis for swaras and vice versa. This number also exercised these half a dozen member team to gain flexibility and timing that they displayed right in Narayana Teertha’s ‘Balagopala Tarangam’. It was a popular piece adjoined by traditional dances the girls standing on the rims of brass plates. The Jatis played by mridangam and matched by the footwork of the girls was thrilling.

‘Dasavatara Sabdam of Kuchipudi bears exclusive character, for, it has scope for dramatisation of each of the avatara matching comprehensive lyrical text written for each of the Avataras.

In avatara presentation the girls rightly shared the characters that occur in each incarnation.

Then there was a curious number narrating the experiences of Alamelu Manga when she was dreaming of her lord Venkateswara. The pallavi lines of three compositions of Annamacharya — Paluku Tenelatalli Pavalinchinadi, Ippuditu Kalaganti, Pidikita Talambralu and Alarulu Kuriyaga ending with Ksheerabdhi Kanyakaku -were brought together to support sensible dances to get the desired effect.

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 4:51:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/dance/The-famed-form-of-%E2%80%98Simhanandini%E2%80%99/article14380357.ece

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