Perfection in the classical dance form of Kuchipudi can only be attained if one is dedicated and disciplined, believes Bhavana Reddy, the daughter of well-known Kuchipudi exponents and Padma Bhushan recipients Raja and Radha Reddy.
“The toughest aspect in Kuchipudi is that it requires complete dedication. The amount of hours you need to rehearse is actually double or triple the amount of hours you are dancing in a show. Your body will start to pain, at a point you might feel like giving up. One needs to follow a very strict and disciplined life to attain perfection,” Bhavana Reddy told IANS in an email interview.
Reddy says she owes her parents credit for giving her an identity as a Kuchipudi danseuse.
“My parents have had a heavy influence on my life; they are my strength and guide. I wouldn’t have become what I am today if they had not persuaded me to consider dance and music as my profession,” she noted.
A graduate of Delhi’s Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Reddy’s tryst with the classical dance form and performance on stage began when she was just five years old. She started off playing the role of little Krishna on stage when she used to accompany her parents on tours.
“Dance has always been my passion and career since I was in kindergarten. We (she and her sister Yamini) were raised in an environment where dance was the heart and soul,” she added.
Being the daughter of renowned Kuchipudi artistes has never put any sort of pressure on her, she says. The only pressure Reddy says she faces is to better herself with every performance.
“I know my job is to perform well in front of my audience. So when I get on the stage, I obliterate the thought who my parents are. I just get the character of my performance to deliver the best to the audience,” said the 26-year-old.
For Reddy the best aspects of the Kuchupudi dance form are its graceful movements and expressions which the audience can easily relate to. “When dancing, we need to be more like a normal person on stage. The movements that we have in our dance form are inherently very close to real life.”
Reddy also explained about “Bhamakalapam”, where male Kuchipudi dancers traditionally play the character of Satyabhama (Lord Krishna’s consort), which she performed at Kamani Auditorium this week.
“It will be under-rating the dance form if I say that only practice is required for ‘Bhamakalapam’. It requires hours of preparation, meditation and complete focus on the dance.”
Reddy said she is very particular about the “grammar and territory” of Kuchipudi and prefers to avoid any dilution in her presentation.
“However, keeping the theme intact may not be possible always. Changing or incorporating different ‘abhinayas’ and movements is very necessary, depending upon where one is performing. But the original form of Kuchipudi should never be experimented with,” she added.
(Somrita Ghosh can be contacted to [email protected])