Kuchipudi and Kalavantulu Nrityam dancer, Aalekhya Prabha Mangalampalli, will be pursuing research on the lesser-known librettos of Bhamakalapam, under the guidance of her Guru Dr. Yashoda Thakore, after receiving Junior Research Fellowship from the Ministry of Culture. Speaking exclusively to Natyahasini, Aalekhya Prabha Manglampalli shares that she doesn’t hail from an artist’s family, but was introduced to Bharatanatyam at the age of four, thanks to her mother’s interest and encouragement. “My first dance teacher was Avancha Anuradha,” she says.
Aalekhya, who hails from Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh, reveals that learning Bharatanatyam was her first choice as that was the only dance form available at that time there and her mother was keen that she learn an art form. The dancer says her home town Srikakulam always encourages classical art forms. The artist reminds that Vijayanagaram is well-known for music and dance and that reflects in Srikakulam too, which is close by. She agrees that exposure in Srikakulam is better now compared to the days she was learning.
Grounded In Fundamentals: After moving to Hyderabad, Aalekhya’s urge to continue dancing led her to search for a teacher. “In this process, I happened to watch my guru Dr. Yashoda Thakore’s performance, which influenced me to learn Kuchipudi,” says the dancer. The Kuchipudi artist states that the desire to learn Kalavantulu Nrityam began after watching an awe-inspiring performance at Saptaparni by Annabhattula Mangatayaru and Leela Sai amma. “With the support of my Guru Dr. Yashoda Thakore I began learning Kalavantulu Nrityam from all three of them,” she says and quickly asserts that she is never confused with the basic fundamentals of any three dance forms as she is very much grounded in the fundamentals.
Aalekhya says that her selection for the Junior Research Fellowship Program of the Ministry of Culture is like a feather in the cap. “I would like to work on the lesser-known librettos of Bhamakalapam,” she says and adds: “I am a proud Alumni of the University of Silicon Andhra from where I did my Masters.” On most faculty of the dance department at the University of Silicon Andhra being dancers from Hyderabad, she says: “The Faculty encourages deep thinking, thrives to share knowledge and has passion for teaching from a variety of angles (research/academics). The pedagogy is different at the University and I thoroughly enjoyed my Masters, which was instrumental in pursuing research,” she says.
Full Support Of Family: To pursue a career, one needs the support of the family and life partner, and it is no different in Aalekhya’s case too. “I am grateful to my grandmother and my family who have extended their support in all possible ways. Without their support pre/ post marriage, I couldn’t think of myself in this position,” says the young mother of a baby girl.
The dancer loves performing in Temples and auditoriums, and ‘Mandodari Shabdam’ is one of her favourite compositions which is very close to her heart. She agrees that lot of opportunities have opened up for Artists and the pandemic has given lot of chances to exhibit skills. She however, says that the Government should create more awareness regarding the current Scholarship Schemes and job opportunities in PSUs / Government/ Private through a dedicated portal.
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