Kuchipudi dancer Himansee Katragadda at such a young age has a lot of dreams and aspirations. Not one to give up on dreams, Himansee has got back on her two feet after three major surgeries to both her legs. The dimpled dancer with an indomitable spirit is taking the Ravindra Bharathi stage on 11 September 2022 to present ‘Antharunmesha Manasi’, a special dance show. Speaking exclusively to Natyahasini, Himansee Katragadda says that this will be her first solo major performance after recovery from three surgeries. “Thanks to the support of my parents – K Srinivas Rao and Srilaxmi, and Guru B Sudheer Rao, I am up on my two feet and going to present my dream project – Antharunmesha Manasi, inner emotions of a dancer,” she says.
Himansee says that the special dance show is the culmination of her 16 years of learning dance under her Guru Sudheer Sir, who has chiselled her to what she is today. She also acknowledges that under him she has won many laurels and participated in various dance festivals across the two Telugu speaking states and the country. “I had planned for this dance show a couple of years back, but it didn’t happen. In 2019, I met with an accident, while dancing. Then COVID happened and the following year, while practicing, I was injured again. But, by the grace of God, I have recovered and this year in 2022, I am here to present my pet project,” says the Garuda Awardee from Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams.
Unique Compositions: Enlightening on the dance show, Himansee says that the lyrics and compositions are unique. “The show begins with the queen of Kakatiya dynasty, the hero of Warangal, Rudramma Devi called Rudramma Devi Pravesa Daruvu, which is approximately 12 minutes,” she says, quickly adding that another highlight of the dance show is Astavidha Nayika Vilasam. The Kuchipudi artist says that many dancers have presented one character of the nayika at a time, be it in Chennai or Hyderabad. “I will be presenting it differently,” she says.
Sharing more details about the Astavidha Nayika Vilasam, Himansee says that she will be bringing on stage eight different characters of a women in one song. “These characters of a women are present in our society even today. For example, the Swadinapatika and Virhata Kantika characters. Many dancers have presented each one of them as a Padam or Javalli. My interpretation is different,” says the final year CSE student.
Himansee for the special show learnt Simha Nandini and will be performing it as the last item of the day. “I learnt Simha Nandini three years ago under Guru Voleti Rangamani garu, daughter of Guru late Sreeman C. R. Acharya,” she says. Himansee reveals that for this show, Mahesh Patrudu garu has written lyrics for Rudrama Pravesa Daruvu and Astavidha Nayika Vilasam and vocalist Smt Swetha Prasad garu has composed music for Pushpanjali, Rudrama Pravesa Daruvu and Astavidha Nayika Vilasam. The dancer has had three dance rehearsals as a run up to the main event and is praying and hopeful that it will go off smoothly.
Live Orchestra: On the Big Day, Hmansee will be supported by the music orchestra comprising of Smt. Swetha Prasad on vocals, Guru Sri B Sudheer Rao on Natuvangam, Sri Renuka Prasad on Mrudangam, Sri Sai garu on Violin, Sri Srikanth garu on Flute, Sri Sai Prasad Raju garu on Veena and special effects by Sri Sridhara Chary garu.
Another ace up her sleeve is that this young dancer is an Honorary Dance Faculty at SRM University in Chennai and Amravathi. She takes two offline classes a month and the rest online classes. Also, she has the honour of being the youngest judge for South Zone Inter University dance competition at Karaikudi by AIU. Winner of many awards like the National Youth Award from Central Government of India and Balaratna Award from State Govt. of Telangana, Himansee has put on the grease paint for Nazarana and won the Nandi award in 2010. She also appeared in a Kannada film, Navila Kinnari and bagged the National award in 2016 and in 2018 & 2019, essayed the role of Daggupati Purandeshwari in NTR Kathanayakudu and Mahanayakudu and in 2021 in Suryaasthamayam.
On pursuing dance and engineering side by side, Himansee says that it is basically to equip herself for the vagaries of life. “I must be prepared for anything that life may throw up. Personally, I wish to pursue a career in dance ant be known as professional classical dancer,” she says.
The Temple Dance: On her pet project, The Temple Dance, the dancer discloses that the main aim is to respect our culture, heritage and temples. “Our vision is to enlighten dilapidated, unknown temples and bring back lost ancient glory to such unidentified temples. I feel dancing at these temples will bring to light the plight of many historical temples which were once the most valuable assets of this nation,” feels Himansee.
The Kuchipudi dancer is of the opinion that people are not acknowledging that our Indian education was born and brought from the Temples and Arts. “The Temple Dance tries its best to bring back those roots of education to the following generations and give a new life to our broken-down heritage and culture,” she says. She has found support to her voice of protecting dilapidated and unknown temples in Kalatapasvi K Vishwanath, Tanikella Bharani and Sapthapadi Sabitha.
Catch Himansee Katragadda perform live on Sunday, September 11 at Ravindra Bharathi from 6pm onwards.
Link to YouTube page: www.youtube.com/c/TheTempleDance