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Dazzling Kuchipudi performance is a labor of love

February 2009
Dazzling Kuchipudi performance is a labor of love

At a well-received recital at the Rialto Center for Arts on Saturday, January 10, Atlanta’s Srivaani Kuchipudi Dance Academy performed “Sri Vighneswara Vaibhavam” as a fundraiser for the non-profit organization Vibha.

The production, which was an artistic rendition of the story of the birth of Lord Ganesha, was directed and choreographed by Revathi Komanduri, a senior disciple of Padmabhushan Guru Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam. The performance was the culmination of four years of planning and choreography by Ms. Komanduri and months of dedicated practice by her students.

“This is my humble attempt in furthering the art of Kuchipudi in the best way that I can. It is my offering to my Guru Padmabhushan Dr. Vempati China Satyamgaru,” said Ms. Komanduri, adding that she was very happy that the funds raised by the program would benefit Vibha’s child development projects in India.

The dance drama began with an invocation dance, Gurustuti, in Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam’s honor. The scene with folk dancers and Nandi, synchronized by two young artists, brought fresh energy into the ballet. The depiction of Shiva beheading little Vinayaka was stunning and emotional. The excellent lighting and stage management by the stage director, Syam Yellamraju, resulted in magical effects at several key moments.

“The music, choreography, costumes and even the minute details reminded us so much of Ms. Komanduri’s guru that it showed how much he became part of the Kuchipudi artist in her,” said Dr. Seshu Sarma, who has been familiar with the work of guru Dr. Chinna Satyam. She added, “Every aspect of the dance drama can only be described in superlatives. In particular, the performances of Vandana Murthy as Gajasura and Archana Dittakavi as Narada are unparalleled. The youngest of all, Shivani as baby Vinayaka, at age five, showed the nuances in expression of a seasoned artist, and stole the hearts of one and all.”

“The biggest contributor to the success of the drama was the original and authentic music,” said Radhika Noori, an art critic from Tallahassee. The script was by Sri Dandibhotla Narayana Murthy. The rich and deep voice of Sri Dandibhotla Venkata Srinivasa Sastry from Hyderabad and the melodious voice of Atlanta’s very own Subhashini Krishnamurthy took the audience to a different world.

The proceeds from the show, estimated to be around $27,000, went to Vibha (www.vibha.org), which currently supports about 35 projects in India.

Vijay Vemulapalli of Vibha thanked Ms. Komanduri and all the performers of Srivaani Kuchipudi Dance Academy, the Hindu Temple of Atlanta, the Telugu Association of Metro Atlanta (TAMA) and other sponsors of the show.

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