Goda Devi's celestial wedding ballet enthrals Shilparamam
Earlier male artistes used to perform roles of both men and women. On Tuesday, Kuchipudi dancer Ramani Siddhi along with her students donned men’s attire and makeup to prove they were not less and presented the story of Goda Devi at Shilparamam, Hyderabad during Sankranti festivities
Traditional and classical dance reflects historical and cultural values. These dance forms extensive hard work and one needs to devote all spare time and efforts into it.
Dance is a sport that you never want to give up. When the day of your dance competition arrives, you put everything you have learnt over the years and display it to hundreds of people watching you.
No matter how exhausted you are on that dance floor, you may not give up. You need to dance until the very end until you show that the best dancer you can possibly be. Ramani Siddhi is one of those kinds of best dancers.
Kuchipudi dancer Ramani Siddhi was born in Nalgonda and started her career at the age of five. Born to late MVN Charyulu, she was put under the training of Sandhya Rani and Krishna Kumari in Nalgonda.
Later, after finishing Intermediate, she went to Chennai and got trained by prominent dance guru Vempati Chinna Satyam. She finished her Bachelors and masters in dance at Telugu University in Hyderabad.
She started her first institute in 1996 in Chaitanyapuri in Hyderabad in the name of 'Goda Music and Dance Institute' and later it was extended to BN Reddy and SR Nagar.
A branch was also started in Nalgonda. After the demise of her elder sister, the institute's name was changed to Radhika Music and Dance Academy in her memory.
From then, they have been performing Goda Kalyanam Ballet. About 60 performances in this form have been staged till date. In 2019, the ballet was started in Mini Shilparamam in Uppal on July 24 and ended in Shilparamam in Hi-tec City on January 14, 2020.
The students of Vishaka Prakash and Ramana Siddhi jointly performed on Tuesday in Shilparamam.
Describing the entire story of her dance, she says, "Goda Devi, also called as Andal, is the only female Alvar of the 12 Alvars of Sri Vaishnava sampradaya in South Indian Hindu mythology.
She took birth around 3000 BCE and merged with God after her marriage with him. She is believed to be the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Bhu Devi, just like Sita in Ramayana.
She took birth as a human being to help people in solving their worldly problems and save them from evil deeds and bad thoughts and to lead them towards self-realisation and spirituality so that they can live happily and attain Moksha.
Unlike Lord Sri Krishna, who always portrayed himself as a God and saviour even in his human form by preaching Bhagavad Gita, Andal lived the actual life of a human being and showed people the path by herself becoming an example to them in reaching God."
She further says, "Andal is said to have made her first appearance as a baby in the garden of a temple in Srivilliputtur under a Tulasi plant (holy basil) when another Alwar known as Vishnu Chitta was digging there for seasoning the soil.
He considered it as God's grace and took the baby and raised her in his house within the temple premise of Srivilliputtur. As Vishnu Chitta (also known as Periyalwar) was a great saint, he used to worship God in that temple by treating Him as his own son and doing every service since early morning to night with great love and affection.
Naturally, the girl also learnt all those rituals and developed an intimate attachment to God."
"As she began growing into teenage, Andal developed a great attachment and longing for the God. She used to think of Him throughout the day and talk about His beauty and glories and everything about Him. She began craving for Him very deeply.
She used to wear herself the flower garlands prepared by her father for offering to God to see whether they are good and suitable to God. She used to see in the mirror and admire herself before offering them to God. One day, her father witnessed this and got angry at her and threw the garland into the dust bin and prepared fresh garland for God.
But God appeared to him in a dream and asked him to bring only the garlands worn by his daughter as they are the true garlands offered with pure devotion and love. Then, Vishnu Chitta began knowing about her true love and attachment towards God.
Andal began realising that she loves God and wants to marry him and nobody else. When Andal was nubile, Vishnu Chitta began looking for a groom. But Andal insisted that she marries none other than Lord Ranganatha.
After the appearance of God for the second time in his dream, he took Andal to Srirangam. At the auspicious moment, Lord married Andal then she merges with God," Ramani shares.
As Ranganath Swamy said that she would be famous by performing chapters, Goda Devi used to perform them daily in Dhanurmas and that is the reason between the relation and Pongal.
"I am into a dancer with the support of my parents. He was very much interested in Goda Kalyanam and named the institute as Goda Institute. So, he made us perform them and it was continuing," says Ramana Siddhi. She adds, "In every Dhanurmas, we perform this Ballet in more than five places, this year we performed in six places."
She further says, "As Lord Krishna is more romantic, same-gender performs the play. In olden days, boys were used to wear lady's makeup but now girls are wearing boy's makeup to prove that we are not less than boys. My whole ballet is performed by women and girls."
Speaking about Sankranti festival, she says, "For me, Sankranti is about rangoli, kites and food items. We used to have a variety of food items in the houses for the festival."