Text and Pics: Paul Nicodemus
“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle,” stated Napoleon Hill, a popular American writer. These words are apt for Sudagani Geeta Narayan who recently made her Rangapravesam at Kalabharathi Auditorium on September 28. In an unbelievable feat, she reached a professional standard in Kuchipudi in a short span of two and a half years. That too in her late 30s; making her achievement even more special. She is indeed an inspiration for many women of today. She reached the stage with rigorous practice. She sweated it out day in and day out.
Geeta Narayan was born in Jangareddygudem of West Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh. She has been training in Kuchipudi under the tutelage of KV Lakshmi, principal and secretary of Nataraj Music and Dance Academy, Visakhapatnam for the last two and a half years. Her spouse, Ravishankar Narayan, IRS has been a pillar of strength in her terpsichorean pursuit.
She made her Kuchipudi Rangapravesam in a grand setting attended by crème de la crème of the city. Gurus from other parts of the country, Bharatanatyam exponent Dr Saroja Vaidyanathan from New Delhi, Manipuri exponent Dr Darshana Jhaveri from Mumbai and Kuchipudi exponent Anupama Mohan from Kerala watched her perform. Dr J Purnachandra Rao, DGP, ACB, Telangana graced the occasion as the chief guest. Popular film lyricist Ramajogayya Sastry attended the programme as a guest.
She began her rangapravesam with a prayer shloka ‘Amba Paraku’ and drew the attention of the gathered audience. She then performed ‘Sabasadulu’ composed by Rambatla Narasimha Sarma in Nata raga and Adi tala. Her soulful rendition of the art form was a treat to watch. She progressed with the numbers ‘Oka Pari Koka Par’ in Kharaharapriya raga and Adi tala; ‘Bhamakalapam’ in Bhairavi raga and Misrachapu tala; Jayadeva’s Ashtapadi ‘Sanchara Dadhara’ in Ragamalika and Adi tala; Annamacharya keerthana ‘Choodaramma Satulala’ in Ragamalika and Narayana Teertha’s ‘Neela Megha Sareera Tarangham’ in Ragamalika. Her beautiful and large eyes emoted the right expression as she effortlessly got into the role of the characters. Her footwork was fabulous and Tarangam was a treat to watch. She concluded her rangapravesam with a beautiful ‘Thillana’ and ‘Mangalam’. Rangapravesam is a full-length solo dance performance which marks the transition of an artiste from a student to an accomplished dancer. With her performance, she proved herself as an accomplished Kuchipudi artiste.
KV Lakshmi, her teacher and principal of Nataraj Music and Dance Academy provided the live music accompaniment on Nattuvangam supported by M Narasimha Rao on vocals, M Edukondalu on mridangam, MS Raju on violin, BVS Sarma on flute and S Raju on pads.
Sudagani Ravi Shankar Narayan delivered the welcome address and BR Vikram Kumar, founder president of Nataraj Music and Dance Academy supervised the programme and pronounced vote of thanks. Dr Perala Balamuralikrishna did a brilliant job with his poetic narration.