Dance transcends boundaries
T Reddi Lakshmi is a young Kuchipudi dancer, from New Delhi. Early in her career, she has reached a take-off stage to carry on a performance, which...
Student of Guru Jayarama Rao T Reddi Lakshmi, in a freewheeling chat, shares her tryst with abhinaya, the soul of Kuchipudi dance
T Reddi Lakshmi is a young Kuchipudi dancer, from New Delhi. Early in her career, she has reached a take-off stage to carry on a performance, which any Kuchipudi Guru and audience would be proud of. She was in Hyderabad recently for the Nartanam Conclave 2017
How did you take up dance?
I took dance training at Sri Saraswati Shishu Mandir till the age of six years. Later, when I went to Delhi, I took training from Seeta Nagajyoti. She then introduced me to Guru Jayarama Rao.
How was the teaching time with Guruji?
Guru Jayarama Rao had a very different style of teaching. He would hardly speak and always gave me the liberty to express my emotions. All his students have been encouraged to develop their own body language and emotion. For the same storyline, the intensity of performance would change from student to student as per their ability. This is a very important aspect of creativity so that we do not try to only ‘copycat’ any emotion. It has to develop and come out of each and every individual and that would always vary from person to person.
How is the present generation responding to Kuchipudi dance form?
The younger generation is very impatient. Even the parents want their children to learn the dance form and quickly start performing on stage. Kuchipudi has a lot of depth and nuances in a performance and they do not come easy. One needs to put in many hours and years into work before they can establish themselves.
How is the situation in north India for Kuchipudi?
There are students from the north, who also learn Kuchipudi from Guruji. Language is not a barrier as they understand the material in detail and then start working on it. For example, being a south Indian, I have translated many Hindi bhajans, understood them and give a dance performance around them.
Do you see any improvement in the corporate sponsorship or Government sponsorship towards classical arts?
Government sponsorship is very much there. But I feel that the planning needs to improve so that once any support is granted for long tours in India or abroad, an artiste should get an opportunity to reach out to maximum cultural centres and people out there. As far as the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of the private sector is concerned, it’s very clear that if you do not know anyone in a private company, the chances of getting sponsorship are nearly zero. There could be the humiliation of your project and concept being questioned if it could make an impact on the sale of the company products. Most of the private sector is purely interested in pushing the sales of its product when it sponsors any classical art.