Sunday 24 May 2020

Inspiring week showing indomitable spirit of dancers - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman

Dancers would seem to have been busier than ever on the internet. For over two weeks is Kuchipudi dancer settled in Bangalore, Vyjayanthi Kashi's Herculean effort of an Online International Seminar on Kuchipudi hosted under the aegis of her institution Shambhavi School of Dance, attempting to feature in one sweeping canvas, artistes representing both traditional and contemporary versions of an art form, which passing through the corridor of time, from its Yakshagana avatar to the solo Kuchipudi of today, has met with more changes than many others. I enjoyed watching and listening to the cogency of Dr. Vedantam Ramalinga Sastry with his additional Kalakshetra experience, as he dilated on the differences between the Kuchipudi Yakshagana and the dance drama that Rukmini Devi pioneered. I noted his strong response when the usual explanation of music having taken the place of 'Vachika abhinaya' of Yakshagana was offered in the discussions, that trying to make what was a 'convenience', a substitute was no answer. With the support systems for Yakshagana troupes no longer available, and with the solo form emerging with dancers from different areas taking to Kuchipudi, the first casualty was bound to be the language, the main repository of the identity of cultural traditions.

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