Perfection redefined: Prateeksha Kashi
- Archana Pidathala, Bangalore

July 27, 2011

Recently, my mother and I attended the Kuchipudi performance of Prateeksha Kashi, hosted by Bangalore International Center at the Indiranagar Sangeet Sabha and all we have been talking about is her performance. Her abhinaya, footwork, costume, grace, energy, everything was just perfect. Interestingly enough, every time I see this super talented dancer perform, I get the feeling that it cannot get any better; she manages to take a quantum leap and redefines perfection all over again. Perhaps that is what separates great dancers from good dancers - the ability to improvise in every single performance.

The evening was made extra special as it was on Guru Pournima, an auspicious day for a student to pay tribute to his or her guru. The performance was indeed a tribute to Prateeksha’s mother and guru Vyjayanthi Kashi.  Kashi’s choreographic brilliance shone through the whole performance and she had everything to be proud of for having groomed and sculpted such an artistic daughter / disciple.

Prateeksha opened the performance with a Ganesha pravesha dharuvu, paying respect to the elephant headed God, Ganesha. She followed the pravesha dharuvu up with Dashavatara sabdam describing the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu. While this is a very traditional item and a part of the standard Kuchipudi repertoire, the innovative choreography by Kashi, the perfect postures, and dance drama elements woven into the item made it fresh and delectable. Then came the Annamacharya krithi “Alarulu kuriyaga” describing the beauty of the favorite consort of Lord Venkateshwara, Alamelmanga. She then moved onto a Shiva stuti describing the origin of music. She brilliantly switched from being a demure heroine in “Alarulu kuriyaga” to the dynamic Lord Shiva with all his energy and power. The footwork was powerful, neat and captivating.

The next item was a javali on a samanya nayika, a regular woman. This subtle piece to me stood out because of its simplicity and the abhinaya. The javali describes the plight of the protagonist, a simple woman, who is unhappy with her jewelery and is waiting for her husband to get her glittering ornaments as he had promised. When the husband returns empty handed, she sulks and makes her displeasure well known at the broken promise. The next piece was a Krishna tarangam by Narayana Teertha. Prateeksha brought to life the antics of Lord Krishna and left the audience wanting for more. She ended the performance with a powerful piece on Goddess Durga, Shakthi. The versatility with which she performed all the items whether it was as Ganesha in the pravesha daruvu, or the samanya nayika in the javali, or as Lord Shiva in the Shiva stuti, showcased her command over all elements of dance.

As the evening drew to an end, a member of the audience remarked that Prateeksha displayed such immense talent at such a young age that she was a dancer to watch out for. That summed it all up. The world awaits the blossoming of probably one of India’s finest classical dancers of this generation.

Archana Pidathala is a Kuchipudi dancer.