workshop: A day with the maestro
About 42 students turned up for the morning session dwindling to around 32 in the afternoon. Guru MV Narasimhachari inaugurated the workshop by lighting the lamp. Like Abhai for Bharatanatyam, he felt Kuchipudi also needed an organization for promoting it and conducting workshops. Some basic adavus, an item on Ganesha "Vande Uma sutham" with lyrics and mettu by Ravi, and an item on Krishna "Venugana loluni pai," a Thygaraja keertana from Nauka Charitram were taught to the students who were divided into two batches.
In Kuchipudi, vachika abhinayam is very important as it is a dance drama style, so it is important to know the meaning of the song, said Ravi, as he explained each line in Tamil and English that was demonstrated by his disciple Kalpana and the students followed her movements. Some of the dancers were only Bharatanatyam trained, while others were training in both Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi as well for 4 to 10 years.
The Bharatanatyam students like Vijay, student of MV Narasimhachari, found the workshop interesting as it pointed out differences between Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi, but for him, it was very difficult to learn the Kuchipudi movements in just one day without knowing the basics. "It is very graceful and needs lots of flexibility, whereas in Bharatanatyam we do not need that much flexibility."
When Guru Dhananjayan made the announcement about this workshop at his students' program the earlier evening, Deepti from Kalakshetra was motivated to attend the workshop. She found it interesting but felt it was difficult for beginners. Hari Ganesh, a young student of Shobana Bhalchandra was all enthusiastic about learning the new steps and exercises that he found difficult but he did not get confused by the movements of the 2 styles.
It was very
commendable that despite the oppressive heat and perspiration, the dancers
did not lack in enthusiasm through out and Ravi continued his teaching
with an ever present smile on his face. There was cheer when he announced
that there could be a 2 week summer workshop planned for May on a daily
basis. Shoba Natarajan was visibly happy that her initial effort to create
awareness of Kuchipudi in Chennai through this workshop, could finally
be leading somewhere!