Priyanka Kancherla makes her dance debut
- Gouri Veerubhotla, NY

November 22, 2005

On 5th November, the auditorium stage at Roy C Ketcham High School in Wappinger Falls, New York, was resplendent right down to the custom made backdrop from Hyderabad. It was indeed a fitting platform for the enthralling dances of 15 year old Priyanka Kancherla in her debut performance. The arangetram was conducted under the guidance of guru Sudharsana Srinivasan who heads the Raga Hastha Performing Arts academy in New York.

In accord with tradition, the arangetram began with a Pushpanjali followed by tisram alarippu. Priyanka's grasp of kala pramanam and attention to form was immediately evident from these items. The Sabdam and Varnam followed. Priyanka's handling of the bhavam in these pieces belied her age. She was in full command of the narrative element of the varnam.

The second half of the arangetram included the padams Sri Chakra Raja, Tandanana Ahi and Nagumomu. Priyanka continued to display her mastery of talam and bhavam as she gracefully handled the slow-moving Nagumomo and the folksy Tandanana Ahi. The program ended with a rhythmically intricate Thillana. The crescendo of this piece was especially thrilling with rhythmic emphasis provided by the combination of Priyanka's footwork, the nattuvangam and the mridangam. Priyanka's parents, Krishna Kancherla and Ram Kancherla, were proud to see the audience respond enthusiastically to Priyanka's performance.

The orchestra consisted of nattuvangam by guru Sudarsana Srinivasan, vocal support by Savitri Ramanand, mridangam by Murali Balachandran, flute by V K Raman, violin by V Srikanth and veena by Varada Iruvanti.

Priyanka, a sophomore at Spackenhill High School, is a member of her school's varsity tennis and track teams and the Leo Club. She has played violin in her school orchestra for the last seven years. Priyanka was accepted into John Hopkins University's Center for Talented Youth program and was also a recipient of the Duchess County Executive's Youth Excellence Award.

Priyanka began learning Bharatanatyam under guru Kamala Lakshminarayan. After moving to Duchess County, she has been learning under Sudharsana Srinivasan. Priyanka has participated in a number of dance programs including those conducted by Sri Bharata Kamalalaya, Raga Hasta Performing Arts, and the Duchess Arts Council.

Guru Sudharsana Srinivasan trained in the Pandanallur style of Bharatanatyam under Rajeswari Sainath of Hyderabad, India. She also trained in Carnatic music under Seethalakshmi Subramaniam of Mumbai, India. She has conducted numerous workshops and lecture demonstrations to increase awareness and appreciation for these South Indian classical art forms.

Gouri Veerubhotla, learnt Bharatanatyam in Delhi from Guru Aruna Subramaniam. She has performed her arangetram and subsequently given many dance programs. She has been a featured performer on Japanese (NHK) Television. She currently resides in New York, USA.