Soundarya, All For Performance To Live Music

Natya Mayura, a Kuchipudi Classical Dance Academy established by Natyacharya Maddali Soundarya Kaushik, in 2017, is celebrating its sixth anniversary at Ravindra Bharathi on 2 December 2023. Speaking exclusively to Natyahasini, Natyacharya Maddali Soundarya Kaushik, says that out of the 50 students learning Kuchipudi dance under her, 41 of them will be taking part in the mega event, where two of her Gurus – Kalasri. Dr. P. Rama Devi, Professor, University of Silicon Andhra, USA, & Director, Sri Sai Nataraja Academy of Kuchipudi Dance; and Dr. Maddali Usha Gayatri, Kuchipudi Exponent, Hamsa awardee, Director, Nrutya Kinnera will be present along with Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary of the I&C and IT Departments of the Telangana Government, to witness the students’ presentation, on live music. Other distinguished guests include – Padma Shri Dr. G. Padmaja Reddy, Kuchipudi Exponent; Kala Krishna, Andhra Natyam dancer, Sangeet Natak Akademi Awardee; SP Bharati, Kuchipudi Dancer, Member, Central SNA and Raj Kandukuri, Film Producer.

Soundarya says that in today’s world, where many of them are performing to recorded music, “We will be performing to live music as I want the students to know the love of performing to live music. Recorded music is fine, when it is difficult to get artists for a live music, or one is performing in a remote part of the country.”   She adds: “With live music, we can educate youngsters of the Indian musical instruments and their importance in dance and music and also have the freedom of going with the tempo. I want to encourage my students to perform to live music.”

Birth of Natya Mayura: Explaining on the birth of her academy, Natya Mayura, when an institution established by her mother-in-law, Usha Gayatri, Nrutya Kinnera was there, the Kuchipudi dancer says: “The name Natya Mayura has been given by mammaiah and attaiah, and it was registered in Telangana and it will help us to promote our art in the State and represent the state across the country and abroad, keeping the art form flag flying high.”  

Quizzed on the challenges before the Big Day, Soundarya says: “When I have to perform, I am always planning on how I can better my performance, but as a Natyacharya, the worry is that the team should perform well in cohesion and there should be no hiccups.” The dancer confesses that she has learnt more as a teacher, when one is teaching students across different age groups and classes.

Since the establishment of Natya Mayura, Soundarya has eight students, but there have been no Rangapraveshams from the academy. “There have been no Rangapraveshams, because of the availability of the students. Today’s students are involved in many activities and running from one class to another and I don’t believe in a Rangapravesham without planning and practice,” she says. Soundarya says her academy, Natya Mayura is promoting and preserving the rich tradition of Kuchipudi classical dance form of Vedantham baani (the Style of Dance). When asked about, whether her daughter is learning dance, Soundarya says: “Aadhya Maheshwari is taking baby steps.”

Evening’s Pieces: Giving a peak into ‘Natyanubhava’, Soundarya Kaushik, says it will begin with ‘Sabhavandanam – Slokabhinayam’ – a garland of Slokas in praise of “The Gods” in Raagamalika; followed by ‘Bomma Bomma Tha’ – a peppy Ganesh Bhajana penned by M. N. Subramaniam; ‘Hasta Nritya’ – Hand Gestures – Representing Asamyutha & Samyutha Hastas with Music and Dance; ‘Takku Vemi Manaku’ – a Bhakta Ramadasu Keerthana, Describing the Dasavataaras (10 Incarnations of Lord Vishnu); ‘Lingashtakam’ – a composition In Sanskrit penned By Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya, a rendering offered to Lord Shiva, who presides in the form of Linga; ‘Krishnam Kalaya Sakhi’ – a Tarangam, composed by Sri Narayana Theerthulu, describing the handsome Krishna amidst his Gopikas; and lastly the ‘Managalam’ – a popular hymn on ‘Govinda’ by Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya.

The Music orchestra includes: – Natyaacharya Soundarya Kaushik on Nattuvangam, Mantha Srinivas on Vocals, Mahavadi Vasu Sastry on Violin, Sreedharacharya on Mridangam, Bhavani Prakash on Flute. V. V Rama Rao will anchor the event, while Stage Lighting is by Surabhi Kishore. Before taking leave, Soundarya wants to thank the music orchestra and especially violinist, Mahavadi Vasu Sastry for ironing out some compositions for choreography. Also, she adds that there will be Guru Satkaram too.

Students performing at Ravindra Bharati on the occasion of the sixth anniversary include – A. Aanvi, A. Lakshya, A. Sadhya, D. Aaradhya, B. Aadya, B. Dhrithi, B. Ishwarya, C. Samhita, C. Manvitha, P. Divya Kriti, Durvika Sagar, G. Aadrika, G. Shraddha, K. Aarushi, K. Pravardha, K. Satyanvitha, K. Shubhagi, K. Supretha, KNV Sriya, Laasya P, Lakshyaa Shree. A, M. Aashritha, M.D. Pranika, M. Thanmai, Nithhya Haasine G, P Amrutha Varshini, P Sahashra, P. Rupsha, P. Yuktha, R. Nithyakshara, Rithvika L, Ruthvika, S Sahana, V. Anugna, V. Shanvi, V. Shresta, V. Vennela, Y. Sumana, R. Sahasra, Gnaptika, and Shanvika.

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