Kuchipudi dancer and the force behind Prerna Pratibha, Amy Kumar along with four of her senior disciples – Tanushri Pemberthi, Nayonika Talari, Shloka Ale and Shivani Gullakota presented an evening of Kuchipudi dance recital at Chaurah Auditorium, Secunderabad on the fourth Saturday of June. The Guru and her students presented a mesmerising evening consisting of two group and five solo traditional Kuchipudi dance pieces. The majority of the solo pieces for the evening were of Late Padma Bhushan Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam garu.
Braving the monsoon rains, a strong 200 audience lauded the dancers’ style of presentation with focus on bringing out their individual personalities with the traditional Kuchipudi dance basics, while exhibiting their Guru’s hard work.
Amy, who has been dancing since the last 25 years can’t imagine life without dance. A scientist by qualification, Amy believes that dance is an integral part of life that has helped her become the individual she is. It has given her wings to fly while setting her feet firmly grounded. She believes that art is the most effective form of expression and tries her best to spread socially relevant messages through dance. Her goal is to build a community of like minded dancers and strengthen the dancing community in the city.
The evening began with an aesthetically presented Ganesh Shloka by Amy and her students. Shloka Ale, an 8th grader, who has been learning Kuchipudi since the age of three, presented Brahmanjali set to Raagam Ananda Bhairavi and Adi Talam, a piece that has been choreographed by Padma Bhushan Vempati Chinna Satyam. This was followed by Mallikarjuna Koutwam by Nayonika Talari, set to Raagam Mallika and Taalamalika choreographed by Dr. Anupama Kylash.
Next was Koluvaitiva Rangasai a famous Vempati Chinna Satyam choreography set to Raagam Ramapriya and Adi Talam presented by Tanushri Pemberthi, who performed her Rangapravesham in 2021. Shivani Gullakota, presented the very popular Krishna Shabdam, once again a Vempati master garu piece set to Raagam Mohana and Adi Talam. Next was the final solo piece by Amy Kumar – Palluku tenela talli set to Raagam Abheri and Talam Khanda Chaapu, choreographed by Padma Bhushan Vempati Chinna Satyam.
As the finale of the evening, the dancers presented Amy’s popular choreography – The Dance of Joy depicting the Panchabhutas set to a music track by Anushka Shankar followed by Mangalam. The chief guest for the evening Sridevi Jasti – Founder, Vibrant Living as Chief Guest and Nayantara Nanda Kumar – Founder of Our sacred space as Guest of Honour, lauded the dancers’ presentation. Amy’s senior student Kruthika Varada compered the evening’s show.
Speaking after the event the proud guru shared that each of her senior students, apart from learning dance with dedication were also doing well in their careers. Amy shares that Shivani began learning dance at the age of six and currently, she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business management from St. Francis College for Women. Shivani says: “Dance provides both healing and a safe haven. I look forward to attending dance classes from week to week and I have made some good friends in my dance class.”
On the other hand, Nayonika, who is also pursuing BBA, began learning dance, when she was nine years old. “Dance is something extremely close to my heart and it makes my soul fly on my feet,” she says and quickly adds that she enjoys learning the dance-drama tradition of Kuchipudi, which is strongly rooted in ancient Hindu culture.
Shloka states that she loves dance as it helps her to take up challenges, opening a whole new world of learning. “I love the grace which is the foundation of this dance format,” she says. Tanushri, who made her Rangapravesham in 2021, says that dance makes her feel content. “Dance is my safe place and it truly allows me to open up, and this wouldn’t have been possible anywhere else. Kuchipudi as an art form has taught me balance,” she says. Tanushri, who will be beginning a Bachelor’s course in Psychology from Christ University, Bengaluru, says that she wouldn’t be the person she is without dance in her life.
Kruthika, who has been learning dance since 2017, will be pursuing a five-year-law degree this year. She says that dance has not only helped her progress mentally and physically but has also helped her get through some very hard times. Kruthika claims that dance class is her second family and dance shapes her creative nature.
Photos captured by Indu Vishwanath, professional photographer and student of Amy Kumar.