Learning under stalwarts was an eye-opening

Dr. Uma Rama Rao

My initial training of dance, Andhra Natyam and Folk dance happened under the guidance of Guru Tanguturi Bheeman and Guru Devulapally Prashanth in Nizamabad. Those were the days we used to participate in many Dance Competitions. For that purpose, I learnt a bit of Kuchipudi along with my other dance forms Andhra Natyam and Folk Dance. It was these gurus who recognized a spark in me and felt my native place was not a right place to nurture my talent so they took me to Lasya Priya Dance Academy, Hyderabad and placed me in the guidance of Guru Uma Rama Rao. I am fortunate to have my formal learning of Kuchipudi under the tutelage of Guru Dr. Uma Rama Rao. It was again a new beginning for me in the sense of Dance also environment as we moved to Hyderabad for that purpose. But Uma Aunty made me comfortable with her warmth as a Mother-Guru. Within a few months of training, she gave me many good opportunities and many prestigious platforms like Khajuraho Dance Festival to perform. Even she gave me an opportunity to play Goddess Chandraghanta, one of the Navadurga in her Ballet ‘Navadurga’. That was her trust in her students. She encouraged me and moulded me as an Artist. 

Dr. Alekhya Punjala

Also, I had an opportunity to be under the tutelage of Guru Alekhya Punjala. She is my queen of Abhinaya. There were times where I used to just sit and stare at her Abhinaya in wonder. Learning under these stalwarts was eye opening. Every day was a new day and a new experience. She being a performing artist, I have learnt many nuances in performance aspects. My perception of presenting myself on stage changed. I would like to share an incident where Alekhya ma’am shared one of her dance experiences. She said after watching one of her dance performance videos, she realized that she was not up to her mark in some movements she has performed, so immediately after seeing that she bashed her leg and promised herself that she would never repeat that mistake again. This incident really touched me and inspired me so much and made me come out of misconceptions. 

Vedhantam Sathya Narasimha Sastry

Vedhantam Sathya Narasimha Sastry master garu hails from traditional Kuchipudi family. He is the son of legendary Guru Vedantham Radhe Shyam. Under his able guidance, I have been learning how to expand the horizon of Movement language. My vocabulary of movement language has improved a lot. I have learnt how one can be so down to earth and grounded, expect nothing from their students in return except their dedication and hard work towards art. I can’t thank God enough for blessing me with these legendary gurus. Each of my guru plays a significant role in inculcating various possibilities in me.

~Snehalatha Naroju

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