A weekend of Kuchipudi with Madhavapeddi Murty  
- Rekha Kamireddy, NJ  
September 28, 2007 

On Saturday August 11, 2007, a lecture demonstration by Kuchipudi exponent Madhavapeddi Murthy was conducted for students of Nritya Madhavi in Edison, NJ. MVN Murthy (or Murthy master as we all started calling him) has been an inspiration for many to pursue the divine art form of Kuchipudi. I was very excited about the workshop as it had a special significance.  It was organized by our teacher Divya Yeluri and was being conducted by Divyakka’s first guru from whom she learnt the foundations of Kuchipudi.  

Murthy master is one of the senior most disciples of Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam. I was eager to see him perform as I've heard a lot about him, including the way he makes dance classes interesting and fun while teaching his students, and his portrayal of prominent characters in various Kuchipudi dance ballets. His popular character roles have been of Lord Shiva, Narada in Srinivasa Kalyanam, Sisupala in Rukmini Kalyanam, and Ananda, the Buddhist Monk in Chandalika. Divyakka has spoken to us about the ease with which he plays these roles.  

The workshop started off with an introduction of the students and continued with steps and Pushpanjali, with Murthy's vocalist Surendrababu Girish (live orchestra for us for the first time) singing for us. Murthy performed Ganesha slokam along with his student Sarasija and Padmaja Peddada, followed by Siva Sthuti. Padmaja Peddada is a dancer herself and organized his show on Sunday. The way he did the Bhangimas, his intricate foot work, supple body movements and last but not least his perfect posture, was a treat to watch. 

All the students of Nritya Madhavi Dance School performed Koluvaitiva and then Murthy and Divyakka performed Bhama Kalapam, while we all watched fascinated. Rashmi Srinivas, one of Nritya Madhavi's senior students, did Endaro Mahanubhavulu, and Murthy master presented Kulukaga Naduvaro, the Annamacharya Keertana. Guru Vempatti Chinna Satyam's wonderful choreography of the palanquin bearer's movements was brought to life. Finally our workshop experience ended with Neelamegha.   

Rashmi Srinivas and I performed the Tarangam. We were all happy to have learnt many new things from Murthy master and his orchestra through the workshop. Divyakka said that she felt proud of all her students that day and that really made our day, because she rarely praises us in public. 

Next day, Sunday, August 12th was the on stage Kuchipudi dance performance by Murthy along with his students Sarasija Nagella and Aditi Pai organized by Padmaja Peddada and accompanied by his orchestra – vocal by Surendrababu Girish, mridangam by Basavaraju Ganesh, flute by Ethirajulu Devarajan, and Divya Yeluri on nattuvangam.  

The program started off with an invocatory item "Poorvarangam" performed by Aditi Pai. Murthy presented "Jagadananda Karaka," the first Pancharatna kirthana of Thyagaraja. His solo items included Jayadeva's Ashtapadi, "Sanchara Dadhara" and a Ghazal composed by Hariharan, "Kuch Door Hamara Saath Chalo." This was something different from the norm, and was well received. Sarasija shared the stage with Murthy for "Marakatha," "Bramhamokkate" and Balamurali Krishna's Thillana in Kuntalavarali ragam. 

Sarasija also performed a solo in praise of Muruga, Kaliyuga Varadhan choreographed by Murthy. Padmaja Peddada and Sarasija performed Vandana Traiye which is in praise of Lord Ganesha, and Goddess Saraswati. The program concluded with a Mangalam. 

It was a memorable two days for all of us. 

Rekha Kamireddy is Assistant Dance Director and co-instructor in Nritya Madhavi.