Kalakshetra Bani Comes Alive @ Abhyuday Festival

The two-day dance festival, Abhyudaya Utsav, organised by the Hyderabad-based Bharatanatyam dancer and Founder Director of Subbulakshmi’s Nrityashala, Subbulakshmi was a well-attended event, especially after the pandemic, at two venues – Nishumbita Ballet & Theatre Group, Secunderabad and Shilparamam Madhapur. The two-day event was a much-required gathering bringing to the fore a recital in the world famous Kalakshetra Bani. 

Speaking to Natyahasini, Subbulakshmi says that the motive behind organising the two-day Abhyuday Utsav was to celebrate quality performances and encourage versatile talents. “After the success of the first one, we intend to continue it as an annual ritual,” she says. 

The artists with the chief guests at Nishumbnita Ballet & Theatre Group

On Day 1, the festival was divided into two slots – the first saw performances by Subbulakshmi and her daughter Laasya Rana. In the second slot, team Sadyoni led by actor and classical dancer Ashrita Vemuganti Nanduri, Vaishnavi Kalassapakam and their students took the stage. 

Subbulakshmi with Laasya Rana
Ashrita Vemuganti Nanduri

The mother – daughter duo performed Mallari, Rasikapriya Jatiswaram, Sree Ranajani Varnam, Natanam Aadinar and Paras Thillana. The Sadyoni team completed their ensemble with Ganapati Talam, Alaripu (Tisram), Jatiswaram (Saveri), Shankara Srigiri, Muddugare Yasoda, Okapari, Tandanana, Thillana and Mangalam.   

Speaking on the occasion, after the performances, Dance Guru and PSTU Professor, Dr. Vanaja Uday said that she enjoyed watching the items ‘Okapari’ and ‘Bho Shambho’ as they reminded her of the learning from her dear Guru Uma Rama Rao. “Items performed by Ashrita, Vaishnavi and students, were presented well,” she said. Also, Dr. Uday appreciated the initiative taken by Subbulakshmi.

Dr. Madhav Deo Saraswat, Principal, The Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet, wished all the participants and appreciated the effort taken by each one of them. Amrita Chandra Raju, Vice Principal, The Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet, was all praise for the enormously talented mother daughter duo making a special mention about the young one. She emphasized the importance of having the right support that art truly requires and appreciated all the parents of dance students. 

The second day event held at Shilparamam Madhapur was also divided into two segments. The first was by the students of Subbulakshmi’s Nrityashala. They danced to Alaripu, Jatiswaram Aarabhi, Saraswati Vanadana, Kowthvam, Bhajan and Kirtanam and concluded with Shanmugapriya Thillana. The grand finale was by the star duo – Indu Mohan and Nitiish of Kalakshetra. Their impressive repertoire included Khanda Alaripu, Sakhiye Varnam and Rusali Radha.

Students of Subbulakshmi’s Nrityashala at Shilparamam Madhapur

After the event, Dr. Tadepalli shared the significance of keeping the traditional legacy alive in this day and age. “Quality festivals like this must be encouraged and funded by the government,” he said and conveyed his kudos to Subbulakshmi and her team for executing it all. 

Mridula Anand shared her inputs on the literary nuances packed in the dance sequences by Indu and Nitish. As someone working towards a multidimensional approach to Bharatanatyam, she threw light on the relevance of these ancient forms in today’s times. 

Divinity Of Movement: Speaking to Natyahasini, Ashrita Vemuganti Nanduri says: “It was in 2012 March that I had my last full-fledged Solo Margam performance in Chennai Parthasarathy Sabha, during my second year Masters in Performing Arts from Madras university. After that, for a decade, it has been mostly temple performances and group presentations in India and abroad.” 

Kalakshetra faculty Nitish and Indu Mohan

The actor dancer says that in June 2022, thanks to her friend Subbulakshmi, she took to the stage again with an august audience and performed with partner Vaishnavi Kalasapakkam and students. “It was surreal. Although motherhood changed me physically, I could still feel the divinity of movement just like earlier times,” she says. According to Ashrita, the icing on the cake was appreciation from Kalakshetra teachers Indu and Nitish ji and reputed dance faculty from Potti Sriramulu Telugu University, Dr. Vanaja Uday. “Their encouragement is going to stay with me for long,” she says. 

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