Nritya Madhavi makes a niche 
- Padma Dadi, Toronto 

October 10, 2006 

The year 2006 marked an outstanding success for the Nritya Madhavi School of Kuchipudi Dance in Edison, New Jersey. Credit goes to the concentrated efforts and dedication of its Founder/Guru, Divya D Yeluri and her well-groomed students.

Divya Yeluri, one of the choice disciples of the legendary Kuchipudi maestro Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam, is an accomplished dancer both in India and abroad, as well as a trained instructor of the Kuchipudi dance style. This traditional dance form is illustrous of fast paced jatis, exquisite expression and rhythm and is based mostly on mythological stories from the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Srimad Bhagavatam and the like. Divya has taken on the cudgels to popularize Kuchipudi on par with the more well-known South Indian classical dance forms like Bharatanatyam.

Nritya Madhavi bagged the runners up for the outstanding dance school during the '7th Annual Indian American Festival' dance competitions on 8th and 9th of July, 2006. This was organized under the auspices of the Hindu Temple and Cultural Society (HTCS) of USA at Bridgewater, NJ. About 50 dance schools from the states of Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut participated and the entire program was witnessed by thousands of art lovers.

The students responsible for this achievement are Anitra Das, Soujanya Bhaskara, Rashmi Srinivas, Natasha Antony, Parijatha Mullagiri, Swathi Ananth and Rekha Kamireddy.  Rashmi Srinivas also bagged the second prize in the senior solo category for her exceptional depiction of "Endaro Mahanubhavulu," the well known Thyagaraja Pancharatna kriti choreographed by Divya.

The winners and runners up for all 6 categories of classical dance competitions for all the previous IAF festivals were always from Bharatanatyam schools of dance and for the first time Nritya Madhavi, a Kuchipudi dance school, won 2 prizes out of a total of 6.

Divya's students participated in the Telugu Fine Arts Society (TFAS) Ugadi 2006 competition and won three prizes. Senior classical solo - Soujanya Bhaskara - 1st prize; Senior classical solo - Rashmi Srinivas - 2nd prize; Sub junior group - Sheetal Vaddadi, Madhuri, Medha Mallampati and Sneha Bhupati -1st Prize.

In the Telugu Literary and Cultural Association (TLCA) Ugadi competition, the students won four prizes. Classical senior group 2nd prize - Rashmi Srinivas, Natasha Antony, Chandralekha Kovvali; Classical senior solo 3rd prize - Rashmi Srinivas; Classical junior solo 3rd prize - Natasha Antony; Sub-junior solo 1st prize - Sheetal Vaddadi.

Apart from this, Divya and her students performed in a number of places the past year across the Tri-state area and won accolades everywhere. Nritya Madhavi was the only Kuchipudi school to participate in the Natya Ranga festival conducted on the occasion of Sri Krishna Janmashtami at the Pomona Temple, NY. The Jugalbandi performance between Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi by students of Subhanjali and students of Nritya Madhavi as part of Navaratri celebrations was an interesting effort. 

Divya started teaching Kuchipudi in USA in 1998 and initially started off with only one student, Anitra Das, currently a law student at Cornell. As the student strength increased, Divya established Nritya Madhavi School of Dance in Feb 2003. In just about three and half years, Nritya Madhavi has come a long way with about 35 students. The school is now recognized for its exemplary standard of presenting the Kuchipudi style of dance in New Jersey.

Padma Dadi has worked for Indian Express and Deccan Chronicle in India, followed by a 3 year stint as a journalist in Reading, UK. As a freelance journalist, she continues to contribute articles mainly to the Art and Culture sections of publications. She is presently based in Canada.