'Dasavatara Suladi' by disciples of Dr. Uma Rama Rao steals the show  
- Dr. TLS Bhaskar, Hyderabad 

 June 16, 2009 

Lasya Priya, the Academy of Indian Dances and Centre for Higher Learning and Research conducted Sesha Smruti on 28 May at NTR Auditorium, Sri Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University, Hyderabad, in memory of philanthropist V Seshacharyulu on his second vardhanti. On the occasion, Dasavatara Suladi, an exceptional excerpt from the unique Tirumala Music Inscription in Sanskrit was presented. The unequalled piece describes the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu in ten songs set to a single Malavagoula Raga in different ancient Suladi talas like Tivuda, Ragana, Mathyam, Choupada-dolam, Racham etc. 

The 15th century Tirumala Music Inscription discovered in Tirumala precincts and which took 50 years to be deciphered was brought out by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam in 1999 as an outcome of arduous multi-disciplinary research undertaken by stalwarts in the fields of epigraphy, musicology, language and literature. The chiselled stone inscription was accidentally found by Vidwan AV Srinivasacharyulu and is considered as the first known inscription in India containing songs in actual svara notations. Legend has it that it may have been authored by Tallapaka poets. During the first ever Annamacharya Utsava held in 1949, celebrated researcher and scholar late Veturi Prabhakara Sastry narrated the blissful experience of unearthing this rare find of melody and rhythm. 

Inspired by its content that has profound spiritual and lyrical value, a humble attempt has been successfully made by Guru Dr. Uma Rama Rao to choreograph the piece blending with intricate rhythmic patterns. The presentation included appropriate dance expression to create an aesthetic pleasure for both artistes and audience. The spectators also felt the triple aspect of the presentation, a Triveni Sangam of music, dance and lyrics. The lyrics, music, orchestration and dance were all competing with and complimenting each other. The master and the artistes deserve a lot of appreciation for the effort.  

Dancer Ragasudha Vinjamuri opened the evening with Beejakshara Stotra and Ganapati Vandanam, followed by Annamacharya composition Vinnapaalu Vinavale. Her expression while surrendering to the Lord at the end of this keertana was full of devotional ecstasy. She was graceful with crisp expressions and elegant movements. She stole the show depicting Narasimhavatara in the Suladi item. Other participating artistes Srilekha Kocherlakota, Sindhoora Murthy and Charvee kept the audience enchanted in different avataras and descriptions. Siva Chandra as Vamanavatara, Priyamvada as Prahlada and Maya as young Krishna excelled in their roles. In a nutshell, it was an unexpectedly beautiful program unlike many routine programs taking place in the city. The traditional depiction of Dasavatara was appreciated by eminent, elite and culture enthusiasts alike. The fervour and fibre with which the entire troupe has rendered a tremendous performance was worth appreciating the experimentation.  

Seminar on Suladi
The dance presentation was preceded by a discourse seminar on the Suladi composition by editorial consultants Prof. Veturi Ananda Murthy, Prof. Ravva Srihari, Vidvan Akella Mallikarjuna Sarma, and nonagenarian Mahamahopadhyaya Prof. Pullela Ramachandrudu, all mightily acclaimed experts in their respective fields. Vice Chancellor of PSTU, Anumandla Bhoomaiah, chief guest of the program honoured the artistes with mementos. Dancers Madhavimala Sarvepalli, Vanaja Uday and Ragasudha Vinjamuri honoured the eminent guests on the stage. The program was patronised by the Rapatwars. 

Dr. TLS Bhaskar is an independent researcher on TeluguDiaspora.com