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A Divine Wedding Presented Through Kuchipudi Dance

February 2003
A Divine Wedding Presented Through Kuchipudi Dance

On January 4, 2002, the Hindu Temple of Atlanta presented ?Srinivasa Kalyanam,? a Kuchipudi classical dance drama, at Robert Ferst Center for the Arts at Georgia Tech. The program was originally choreographed and presented by Padma Bhushan Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam at Thirumala Thirupathi Devasthanam, in 1978. For the first time in Atlanta, the program is now choreographed and directed by Smt Sasikala Penumarthy, Director, Academy of Kuchipudi Dance. A disciple of Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam, she has been working on this program for more than a year preparing 27 artists and an 8-member orchestra.

As the lead role of Laxmi and later as Padmavathi in the dance drama, Sasikala proved a testament to her many years of commitment to this art form. Vasu Thummala, a student of Augusta Medical College of Georgia played as Maha Vishnu and Srinivasa. She had great expression and brought her proven dancing skills to give the role glamour and wit. Vijay Dasika, who became a disciple of Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam at age 10 and has performed with his troupe in several countries, played the role of Siva and with his thunderous dance, mesmerized the audience. Indira Sarma, a junior at Harvard University, played as Parvathi and she showed her expertise with a performance at ease. The 1st grader Lasya Penumarthi as Child Srikrishna stole the hearts of many with her mischievous looks and her comfort in performing on the stage for the first time. Arati Akella as Narada, Amulya Nagarur as Brahma, Sridhar Potabattula as Bhrigu Maharshi and Sudha Natarajan as Fortuneteller gave great support with their excellent performances.

The live orchestra comprising of Sastry Bhagavatula (Nattuvangam), Subhashini Krishnamurthi, Babu Parameshwaran, Rajashekhar Nemani (Vocal), Subramanyam Vishwanathan ( Mridangam, Pakhavaz), Seshu Sarma, Veena, Raman Kalyan (Flute) and Deepak Murthy (Violin) gave the event a melodious atmosphere.

Earlier, while welcoming the audience, Dr. G.V. Raghu, President, Hindu Temple of Atlanta (HTA) exhorted the audience to support the temple expansion projects such as building class rooms for educational center, additional parking space and Siva Temple, with their generous donations. He said a sum of $2 million is needed to complete all the projects on time.

Narender G. Reddy, the Event Coordinator and Chairman Public Relations & Performing Arts Committee (2000-2002) addressed the gathering next. He said ?The Hindu Temple of Atlanta is today the most beautiful temple in the South East and it is our dream to make it the most beautiful temple in the whole of North America?. After the wonderful performance Dr. Jaganmohan Rao, Past President, presented temple honors to them.

The event met their financial goals by raising more than $70,000 and the proceeds will be used for the Temple expansion projects.

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