Monday 21 August 2023

Dance in the old mould and in new directions - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman

It was a week projecting two faces of classical dance - in the time -honoured mould and in work showing new directions. Amongst traditional dance forms, Kuchipudi, an all-male form even as late as the fifties, has been largely taken over today by female dancers, with even the male Gurus from its traditional families getting to be fewer - with female teachers now running schools. Male dancers presenting Stree Vesham is rare now, and under the circumstances, it was a change to be greeted by a male solo dancer of Kuchipudi presenting a one man ballet, at the Habitat Centre, Delhi. The artiste D.Dilip, trained under Sailaja at Saila Sudha Academy since 2012, presented his own choreography of Kamakshim Kalayami proving himself to be a refined performer, with full control over all aspects of the dance form. Growing up with an awareness of tradition and culture infused in him, one is told, by his late grandmother V. Shantha Bai, his Kuchipudi training has been strengthened by acquiring knowhow on the allied disciplines of nattuvangam, music under Rajeswari and others, with percussion lessons under Bakthan.

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