Text: Paul Nicodemus
The future of Kuchipudi is looking up with the promise of budding talent. Bathina Tejasri, a Kuchipudi dancer from Visakhapatnam, is one such talented youngster who has showcased a sublime skill and indomitable spirit towards the art form.
At the tender age of four, Tejasri’s father, BR Vikram Kumar, a well-known dance festival organiser, introduced her to the art of dance. Her initial reluctance to learn dance changed when she observed her seniors perform. Inspired by their performances, she decided to better them by undergoing rigorous training in spite of the obstacles she faced. She also learnt classical music simultaneously, but in her mind, she was preoccupied with dance. Everything else took a back seat. Like any other teenager, she too wanted overnight results. However, under the able guidance of her father Vikram and mother Varalakshmi, who exposed her to various artistes performances, she learnt that excellence was important and attaining it would take time. Perfecting her dance style, improving upon her mistakes and creating a space for herself in this art form had become her passion.
Surprisingly, even though it was her parents who introduced her to dance, they never insisted that she should take up dance as a passionate interest. They did encourage her to pursue various opportunities, but she always would fall back on dance. Thanks to a devoted guru in KV Lakshmi, she learnt the fine art of balancing her studies, music and dance and was taught about making the right choices in life. Her guru has been her guardian and well-wisher, helping her savour the fruit of her hard labour.
Teja Sri wishes to dedicate her skills and talent to the progress of the art fraternity.
Being a youngster, she was popular at school. The staff and students figured out that she was a classical dancer from her gestures and lifestyle. Being the only girl who knew Kuchipudi, she was in the limelight and made to perform at various school and college functions. Balancing academics and performing arts is a challenge almost always, but not for Tejasri who learnt how to take things in her stride. Her passion for dance surpasses all the ordinary everyday activities. Movies, chitchats, lazing around have no place in her lifestyle.
Her first public performance in Kuchipudi was in the presence of Pratibha Patil, former president of India on 25 September 2010 at Gachibowli Stadium in Hyderabad. She gave performances at Simhachalam Temple and Kali Temple in Visakhapatnam. She performed in Andhra Pradesh’s first Formation Day ceremony after the bifurcation of the state, Vysakhi Nrithyotsav, Amaravathi Nrithyotsav, Mysore Dance Festival, Satyabhama Yuva Nrithyotsav, Khajuraho Music and Dance Festival and Jathis National Festival – Tenali and other Andhra Pradesh Government Programmes.
Her achievements include Naatya Krithika Award in Sathyabama Yuva Nrithyotsav, Yuva Natya Sri Award in Vysakhi Nrithyotsav and Godavari Memorial Award at Khajuraho Music and Dance Festival.