Jathis Tenali 2018:

An Entrancing Classical Dance Festival

Text and Pics: Paul Nicodemus

The beauty of Indian classical dance was on full display at the recent dance festival. Jathis-Tenali, National Dance Festival 2018 was organised by Nataraj Music and Dance Academy, an ISO 90001:2008 certified organisation with UNESCO’s International Dance Council membership in association with Andhra Pradesh Creativity and Culture Commission at Tenali Ramakrishna Kavi, AC Auditorium in Tenali, Andhra Pradesh on May 5 & 6. Talented and skilled classical dancers from across the country gave a memorable treat to the audience at Tenali with their brilliant performances. 

M Shyam Prasad, chairman, Mahendra Dall Mill and Double Horse Urad Dal acted as the chairman of the festival supported by patrons DL Kantha Rao, chairman, Kakatiya Bank, PV Rambabu, President, Tenali Rice Mill Association. Under the guidance of BR Vikram Kumar, chairman of Nataraj Music and Dance Academy, A Durga Bhaskar from Tenali coordinated the one of its kind festival at Tenali. Well-known lighting designer, Sai Venkatesh from Bengaluru gave the audience a taste of effective lighting in performing arts.

Jathis National Excellence Award 2018 was presented to Gopal M, Festival Director of Pariniti National Dance Festival from Shimoga in Karnataka. During the festival, distinguished guests felicitated artistes A Divya Sri, Kush Kushari and Group, Dr P Sai Jyothi, S Geeta Narayan, Anurekha Ghosh and Group, Prudhvi Jana, Anusua Roy, Baisali Basu Sarkar, Prativa Panda and Group, Arpita Sen Lahari and B Tejasri. 

On day one, guests, Alapati Rajendra Prasad, Member of Legislative Assembly, Tenali, A Jayalakshmi, ZPTC, Tenali, K Sakuntala, Commissioner, Tenali Municipality, Pendyala Venkata Rao, Chairman, Tenali Municipality and on day two, Sudagani Ravi Shankar Narayan, IRS, Additional Commissioner of Income Tax, Visakhapatnam and Meaka Seshu, former MLC graced the occasion and blessed the artistes.

Keeping up with the academy’s tradition of encouraging local talent, A Divya Sri, a young girl from Tenali performed Kuchipudi to Dr Vempati Chinna Satyam’s Ananda Thandavam and delighted the audience. Prativa Panda and Group from Bhubaneswar displayed the beauty of the structurally magnificent Odissi. With perfect sync, they moved on the stage like poetry. Prativa Panda is also a well known film actress in Odisha Later, Dr P Sai Jyothi from Visakhapatnam performed a Kuchipudi piece Krishna Vadha Chalanam with brilliance. She is one of those rare individuals who completed her PhD in Kuchipudi from Andhra University. Manipuri dancer Baisali Basu Sarkar from Kolkata performed Avisaare Chalaye Radha showcasing the romance between Radha and Krishna.

The next performance that followed could be dubbed as the best performance of the evening with Kush Kushari and Group’s innovative and creative Bharatanatyam piece Prakruti Pursh. The Kolkata based group took Bharatanatyam to a different level with their acrobatic and flexible moves. It was a sensuous and entertaining performance and garnered a great deal of appreciation and applause from the packed auditorium. 

Day two began with the Bharatanatyam solo Siva Kruthi by Prudhvi Jana from Shimoga. Her performance ascertained that classical dance is in safe hands with next generation of artistes like Jana doing exceptionally well. Later, highly regarded Kathak artiste Anurekha Ghosh with her group exuded brilliance with ‘The Cosmic dance of Lord Siva’ written and choreographed by Pt. Birju Maharaj. The group also performed Tarana and Hum Safar. The surprise element came in when they performed their fusion work Kathak Flamenco to folk beats. It was an intense and high-octane piece thoroughly enjoyed by the audience. Kuchipudi artiste Geeta Narayan from Visakhapatnam with her performance Vachenu Alamelumanga in the choreography of KV Lakshmi won hearts in the arena. Her inspiration journey of becoming a Kuchipudi dancer in spite of starting late in life struck a chord with the audience you were thoroughly captivated. Anusua Roy from Mumbai did Manipuri items Manglacharan and Gita Govinda with fluid movements. Arpita Sen Lahari from West Bengal performed a swift Bharatanatyam piece and showed great energy while perfectly portraying the Karnas.  Her sublime postures and poise must be appreciated. Kuchipudi dancer, JVS Sudha from Visakhapatnam came up with a sensuous and power packed performance. She did the piece Valapula Solapula choreographed by KV Lakshmi with subtle abhinaya. Bathina Tejasri, another youngster with amazing talent and skill from Visakhapatnam performed to Kuchipudi to Annamacharya Kriti, Chudaramma Sathulara much to the delight of the audience. The two-day festival received undulating reception from the locals who have historically been lovers of art and culture

During the festival, BR Vikram Kumar recollected his efforts to include Kuchipudi in the curriculum in Andhra Pradesh and expressed happiness at the State Government’s decision to employ 50 Kuchipudi teachers through DSC (District Selection Committee).