Follow us

A Kuchipudi workshop by Sangeeta Nrutya Academy
- Sarvani Yadavalli

November 13, 2018

Organized by Roopa Rajesh, a member of Sangeeta Nrutya Academy, Karnataka, the workshop which was conducted for three days from November 9-11, focused on sharing the most popular work in Kuchipudi - Bhamakalapam.

Written by Siddhendra Yogi, the founder of the Kuchipudi dance style, Bhamakalapam play used to have a prelude concerning the ornate plait, Jada, worn by Satyabhama and its timeless origin. Bhamakalapam was a lengthy play presented serially for nine nights in years gone by, but now it is condensed into a two-hour show. Sharing this complex work in 3 days time is a real challenge and Vedantam Satya Narasimha Sastry fondly called as Satyam, did this job amazingly well by selecting certain pieces of the play and giving an overall idea of the kalapam.

On Nov 9, 2018 the workshop hall was packed with eagerly waiting participants willing to drink the nectar of Kuchipudi. The inauguration was attended by senior most Kuchipudi gurus in Bangalore- Sunanda Devi and Dharani Kashyap - who also were very much interested to refresh their memories of the play. Madhumati Kulkarni Neelamraju helped the participants for Telugu- Kannada translation. Sudha Sridhar also was present during the last two days encouraging her students to learn this precious work.

The dance drama normally opens with Satyabhamas entry song in which she boasts of her beauty, wealth and her place of pre-eminence among Krishna's wives. Considering this pravesa daruvu as the piece most of the participants already knew, the workshop started with Satyabhama pouring her heart out to her maid Madhavi to go and fetch her husband post haste. The humor that is instilled in the play is wonderfully conveyed to the participants who are not natives of Telugu language. To help them appreciate and learn the play fast, the script is also translated into Kannada and shared with the participants. Kudos to the organizers for selecting a traditional play as the topic of the workshop. The grace, the power of the literature, the musicality of the play, the spontaneity shown during the play, the versatile artists who do the roles - all these were shared and once again the power of Kuchipudi as an art form was felt by the participants of the workshop.

Main daruvus - Siggayanoyamma, Madana, Endubotivi, Vaadamelapove, Lekha, Sakunalu, Krishna Pravesa Daruvu (rajeevakshudu), Karpura Gandhitho and Mangalam along with the vachikaabhinayam was shared in this three day workshop. It is very well understandable that the entire Bhamakalapam cannot be shared in this limited time but all the participants were lucky to be a part of this well planned and executed workshop which gave a very good overview of the play. The workshop concluded with the participants presenting two pieces among what was taught to them.

Such workshops provide enthusiasm to the aspirants especially when conducted outside Telugu speaking states and provides the participants with the traditional aspects of the art form. Hoping to see many more workshops and hearty congratulations to Ashok Chalavadi, Fiyaz Khan and members of Sangeet Nrutya Academy, Karnataka, for providing this golden opportunity in the city of Bangalore.

Sarvani Yadavalli is a Kuchipudi dancer and also reports on dance events.