VMDA Festival of Dance marks 25 years of service to arts
- B Venkat, Visakhapatnam
e-mail: venkat.kuchipudi@yahoo.com
Pics: courtesy the artistes

February 17, 2011

Visakha Music and Dance Academy (VMDA) celebrated its 25th anniversary by organizing a three day dance festival in Kalabharathi, Visakhapatnam.

On the first day it was Kuchipudi dance drama 'Vamanavatharam' by Vedantam Venkat and Gomathi Boorada. The drama was well received. The second day belonged to Kuchipudi dancer and teacher Divya Dadi Yeluri of Nritya Madhavi, USA. Her team brought in enthusiasm and zeal, and proficiency in varying degrees. Divya herself performed in the dance drama Sri Krishna Parijatam that followed the solo and group items.

The audience was able to witness her special composition for Jayadeva's "Pralayapayodhijale.." (to MS Subbalakshmi's recording) that was very well received during the 2nd International Dance Convention. The song was fast paced and the team consisting of about seven members had to split and re-group. Executed well, this proved to be a visual treat due to its clockwork precision in enacting Lord Vishnu's avatars. A feature of Divya's choreography is in creating sub- groups, eventually merging them into a formation depicting each avatar. The chariot picture is an example given here. Items performed were Shiva Padam, Bho Shambho, Hindolam Thillana, Kulukaga, Lakshmi Pravesam, Om Namo Bhagavathey Vasudevaya, Achyutam Kesavam, Kuntalavari Thillana, Jagodhodharana. Divya is also training her son Akshay into a fine Kuchipudi dancer. There was a delay at the start of the program though this did not deter many and the hall was full until about the last item.

The dancers were Nidhi Chillara, Sailaja Medicherla, Saroja Kolluru, Natasha Anthony, Visala Nanduri, Kotha Nikitha, Parijatha Mullagiri, Madhavi Gorusu, Swarna Racha, Ankita Veta, Sai Aishwarya Neelamraju, Ankita Veta, Lalasa Rachapudi, Siri Palreddy, Sameeha Boga, Akshay Yeluri and Aasha Yeluri.
Divya Yeluri's group
On the third day, Madhavi Reddi presented Bharatanatyam. A versatile dancer from Washington, her performance was one of dedication, preparation and sincere. Initiating the solo with Natyanjali and prayer to Lord Vinayaka and Saraswathi, she moved on to a Sabdam "Sarasijakshulu Jalakamadaga...," a well studied performance. She shed her initial self-consciousness and brought to surface nice abhinaya thereon. The nritypohara (by Guru Dhananjayan) followed. The audience enjoyed this item. In this Rajagopala Keertana, Madhavi smoothly transitioned from a devotee informing the Lord about his devotion -"ninne nera namminanu" (only in You, I have belief) - to enacting his leelas and ultimately surrendering and seeking his presence.

There were some special moments of delight as in "Muddugare Yashoda." Krishna crawling to steal butter and another as Krishna sleeps in his mother's loving embrace, giving an impression that the item concluded, and then chiding the applause to be silent. A bhajan "Vaishnava janato..." was well composed. Mangalam followed. With her lovely Bharatanatyam performance, Madhavi made a beautiful offering to Shankara Sastry, her great grandfather and the founder of Kalabharati.