Fresh from her show in Melbourne, Kuchipudi and Devadasi Nrityam dancer, Dr. Yashoda Thakore has been invited by WishwaTalks in partnership with Paramparaa to speak about the hereditary woman dancer as seen by Sripada Subramanya Sastry, an exemplary writer in the world of Telugu literature of the early 20th century. It is believed that the enigmatic character of the Devadasis has influenced Indian history more than one has knowledge.
Dr. Yashoda says that it was overwhelming to be part of a transnational performance that took place in Melbourne to a packed house. “This was part of a long-standing collaboration with the MSO and Sangam directors Priya Srinivasan and Hari Sivanesan on a project close to my heart,” she says. Dr. Yashoda, who hails from Kalavantulu families, shares that this show was a celebration of one of their ancestors who, along with her melam became an international artist.
The dancer states that the show was based on Priya Srinivasan’s long-term research and her own research and dance training, as well as her Guru Annabattula Mangayataru. “I loved performing on a huge screen on stage to live music with the nadhaswaram, standing mridangam, and nattuvangam, and dancing with Priya live on stage as she performed a hybrid contemporary dance,” says Dr. Yashoda.
Yashoda Thakore is an exponent of Kuchipudi and Devadasi Nrityam (the repertoire of the hereditary women dancers). After 14 years of training in Kuchipudi under Padma Shri Dr. Sobha Naidu, Yashoda began to reclaim the art of her family by training under the Kalavantulu women, particularly Annabattula Mangatayaru and Leelasai. Yashoda is now Chair, Department of Kuchipudi, University of Silicon Andhra, California where she teaches dance history, theory, and practice to graduate students.
The event to be held on February 12, 2022 from 11am will discuss – ‘Influence of Devadasi dance on Indian classical dance’, ‘Understanding the legacy of Devadasi pre and post-colonial period’, ‘How the devadasi was looked at before her position in the society was looked down’, and ‘Understanding the hereditary woman dancer as seen by Sripada Subramanya Sastry’.