`Nritya' all the way


D-DAY A dance performance as part of the celebrations.

D-DAY A dance performance as part of the celebrations.  

Celebrating the golden jubilee of the noted Visakha Dance Academy, established in 1955 by Natyacharya Mahanthi Venkateswara Rao, its past and present students of Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam in association with the Visakha Valley Junior Chamber organised a three-day dance fete in Kalabharati last week.

Dances of the Kuchipudi format by sprightly children P.L. Harshita, B. Eeshitha, A.S.H. Samhitha, A.S.H. Harshitha, G. Aishwarya, R. Bhuvana, M. Gayathri.B, Vysakhi and K. Bhavya Amala marked the first day . Similarly dances in the Bharatanatyam style were presented, fulfilling all intricate aspects of nritha and nritya, by M. Neha, K. Ramya, S.P. Radhika and P. Sowmya adding grandeur on the second day.

Solos Poorvankam, a composition of Ramadas, Bho Sambho and Meera bhajan respectively by Tiruamala, Prasanna and Radhika, children of the natyacharya Sankar, along with Deepika Karnani as Krishna in Meera bhajan marked the beginning of the third day evening. Vocals by Dwaram Tyagaraju and the wife of the natyacharya, Lakshmi Mahanthi, who also expertly wielded the cymbals, with mridangam by Edukondalu, M. Neeladri Rao on the violin, Murty (clarionet) and T. Atchutha Rao (flute), constituted the evocative back drop of music.

The founder and his wife were profoundly felicitated next. A scion of a family of Harikatha and Yakshagana exponents, Venkateswara Rao born in 1935.

He had systematic training in Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam from his father Satyanarayana and later from the renowned guru Venugopala Rao of Madras of yesteryear. Married to Lakshmi in 1961, the husband-wife duo trained innumerable students in both the classical idioms.

The couple toured almost all over the country providing vocals and nattuvangam for the performances (solo and dance ballets like Kalyana Sakuntalam, Puttadibomma Purnamma, Mohini Bhasmasura and so on) given by their disciples for prestigious sabhas including the Bharateeya Vignana Bhavan, New Delhi, and attracted laurels from Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Dr. K.L. Rao, C.M. Trivedi, the Desmukh couple and others

Dance ballet Mohini Bhasmasura choreographed by them and presented by their children next took the audience into raptures. Sankar as the Demon King, Radhika as Siva, Tirumala as Parvathi and Mohini and Prasanna as Narthaki and Vishnu, danced their roles with arresting empathy.

Vocalist K. Suryanarayana from Vijayawada and A. Rambabu (electronic pads) lent able support.

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