Saturday, 8 March 2014

A Kuchipudi dancer's anguish . . .

Kuchipudi teacher and dancer B. Swarnalatha was slightly distraught after her group's performance at the Big Temple in Thanjavur on the final day of the festival.

An organizer had made a sharp comment on the recorded music midway through the recital and the dancer was displeased.

It took some time for Swarnalatha to make her peace. Her group, Kuchipudi Natyanilayam from Eluru in West Godavari in Andhra Pradesh had been invited and promised 45 minutes and to use recorded music.

"We had huge challenges here,"explained the young dancer very earnestly. Kuchipudi gurus do not encourage recorded music. They have a point; that will kill the careers of musicians and stunt the growth of the up and coming accompanists.
Also, a bhagavatam runs for many hours and trying to clip a production was just not possible if one stuck to tradition and the art.

Swarnalatha had with her a bunch of teens; they did what best they could but she insisted that her wards would perform for the best part of 2 hours if they were allowed to. "They have been learning dance for 2 years now," she assured us.

What irked her was the hosts' sensitivities to the dance form and what they should have expected from a group like hers.

Since the Natyanjali is more a tribute space than a performing fest, hosts may want to invite solo Kuchipudi performances since these will tie in well.

One must understand a dancer's anguish.

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