An evening of Kuchipudi dance organized by Sriranga Dance Academy at the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago on Saturday, September 12th 2015 was a visual treat for those who had gathered. ‘ Dancing Tales from India’ , a Kuchipudi dance feature conceptualized and choreographed by the renowned Kuchipudi danseuse Vyjayanthi Kashi knit in a series of short yet interesting stories glorifying Indian culture. This was presented by Vyjayanthi Kashi, her daughter & disciple Prateeksha Kashi and Srivani Vokkarane, Artistic director of Sriranga Dance Academy.
The invocation item itself was a winning one. ‘Deham – Body the temple’, presented by the mother-daughter duo laid emphasis on the spiritual aspects of dance and a dancer. The importance of every part of the body known as the Anga of a dancer, the emotions and the energies that need to be prevalent in a dancer were intelligently conveyed through the dance language. The majesty of Lord Shiva’s tandava got manifested through Vyjayanthi’s powerful movements. On the contrary the lasya or delicate aspects of Goddess Gowri were gracefully exhibited by Prateeksha .Also seen was Vyjayanthi’s philosophical introspection into famous verse ‘Deham Devalaya Proktam’ reached beyond just an outer description of the lines.
Next came in the finest presentation on the five elements titled ‘Shrushti- the creation’. A short and crisp description of the five elements intertwined with musical notations,rhythmic segments with rare syllables like Hum, Vam, and Rum threw light on the choreographer’s creative abilities. All the three dancers on stage brought alive the five elements through their technique and body language.
Ramayana Shabdam, a traditional item of the Kuchipudi repertoire was well executed by Srivani Vokkarane, disciple of Vyjayanthi Kashi. Her neat presentation of this piece reflected the years of training that has gone in. Apart from being a good organizer, she proved her mettle as a danseuse too.
Prateeksha Kashi chose for her solo piece ‘Shankara Srigiri’, a composition of the celebrated poet Swati Tirunal. The item was an elaborative description of the vigorous dance of Shankara. Prateeksha executed the item with vigor and perfection. In spite of the song being fast paced, the dancer’s technique was crisp with well-balanced poses and dynamism in covering the stage. The choreography by Guru Vyjayanthi Kashi was commendable.
The different tales that the dancers narrated during the course of the event was an ecstasy to behold. The evening concluded with a story unheard and unsung; thestory of the ugly hunched woman Kubje, a staunch devotee of Lord Krishna. Kubje also known as Trivakra was employed by the wicked king Kamsa to prepare fragrance as she had magic in her hands. Disfigured, disheartened and dejected Kubje was looked down upon by the people of Mathura and wondered what she ever did to receive such a treatment. But it was her untiring love and faith which brought Krishna to Mathura to transform her.With her versatile capabilities Vyjayanthi proved her ability as a dancer and an actress conveying a gamut of emotions. The three dancers got together to create magic on stage justifying the roles they chose to play.
The highlight of the evening with Srivani honoring her Guru with the ‘VyjayanthiVibhooshithe’ Award for her outstanding contribution to the field of dance. This was handed over to Guru Vyjayanthi Kashi by Dr Saradapurna Sonty, & Dr. Sriram Sonty , Founderof Sri Annamacharya Project of North America(SAPNA) .It was indeed a memorable evening!
Photographs and Press release by: Asian Media USA