Published: 31st January 2020
Learn Kuchipudi from exponents of the dance form at Lasyakalpa Dance Academy
DVS Sastry learnt Kuchipudi from the village in Andhra Pradesh it originated in and specialises in Yakshagana Sangeetham. He is also trained in Carnatic music
For all the friends and relatives of Kuchipudi artiste Katyayani Ganti who have been wondering when she will start teaching the Indian classical dance, here is some good news. This Master of Kuchipudi holder and DVS Sastry, Vocalist in the Department of Dance, Sarojini Naidu School of Arts and Communication have come together to start Lasyakalpa Dance Academy.
After the Guru-Shishya duo has already established a name for themselves through the annual dance festivals that they host. From February 21 onwards, they will be teaching this Indian classical dance form at the Centre for Cultural Resources and Training, Hyderabad. "People think that after you learn dancing, the next course of action is to teach it. I wasn't ready for that kind of responsibility," says 33-year-old Katyayani. But now with a PhD in 'Stage to Screen and Back: Study of Dialogue Between Kuchipudi and Telugu Cinema' backing her, she is up for it.
DVS Sastry | (Pic: Katyayani Ganti)
"The classical dance form has never been about the masses, it has always been for a niche crowd," says Katyayani, when we ask her about the dwindling number of aspirants who sign up for Kuchipudi. In turn, she makes an important point when she says, "The question isn't if they take up Kuchipudi or not, the question is if they are being exposed to the cultural history and ethos of the land they are born in." This is where she reminds us that the term 'classical' itself is a remnant of colonial influence because India has never looked at dances as classical or non-classical. "There are so many dance forms in India simply because every region wanted to establish its own identity through them."
The classes will be held between 6 to 8 pm on Thursdays and Fridays, and from 9 to 11 am on Saturdays and Sundays
We wonder if she worries that because Bharatanatyam and Kathak are so popular that Kuchipudi, a dance form that originated in Andhra Pradesh, might not be a crowd favourite. She reasons that because Bharatanatyam and Kathak go hand-in-hand with the two biggest gharanas, Hindustani and Carnatic, it might be more popular but Kuchipudi is different from the two, though it might not seem so. "It is the teacher's responsibility to ensure that the 'Teluguness' reflects. Even though the music is based on Carnatic structure, the talas have a distinct taste of its own," she establishes.
Katyayani Ganti | (Pic: Katyayani Ganti)
And to do their bit as teachers is why the duo started the Lasyakalpa Dance Academy in the first place. Whether you are 7, 17 or 27, everyone will be starting in the same class and from the basics, which is conditioning the body. Theoretical aspects and then, the teaching of the dance form itself will follow. And if you want to sign up for these classes, registrations have already started, so hurry up.
How to distinguish Kuchipudi from other dance forms:
- When you listen closely, you will notice that the music is different, the jatis are different
- While Bharatanatyam has straight lines, Kuchipudi has both straight lines and curves
- The footwork of Kuchipudi has more variations than other dance forms
- A Kuchipudi dancer doesn't necessarily need to sport a jada (plait)
- Kuchipudi is theatrical to start with. If you remove that, all that is left is music and techniques
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