Kuchipudi exponent Dr G Padmaja Reddy has taken up the challenge to revive dance forms of the Kakatiya era

Dr Padmaja is all set to perform the reconstructed centuries-old dance concepts as Kakatiyam this weekend

author_img Reshmi Chakravorty Published :  24th December 2021 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  24th December 2021 12:00 AM

Dr G Padmaja Reddy

For the last several years, Kuchipudi exponent and recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi award,
Dr G Padmaja Reddy from Hyderabad, has spent most of her time at the Ramappa Temple, the Warangal Fort and the libraries nearby, for her research on the dance forms from the Kakatiya era, mentioned in the book Nritta Ratnavali. Dr Padmaja is all set to perform the reconstructed centuries-old dance concepts as Kakatiyam this weekend as detailed in the book. We spoke to the exponent about her Kakatiyam dance project and her passion to make it Telangana’s prominent dance form.

What was the inspiration behind the Kakatiyam dance project?
Being a creative person by nature, I always like experimenting and innovation. During the period of formation of Telangana, while I happened to view many folk-art performances, a brief thought or rather imagination of having one such classical art form for Telangana came into my mind. However, the real inspiration for Kakatiyam was born after the translated version of the book Nritta Ratnavali was gifted to me by Dr Pappu Venugopal Rao during an occasion. The book Nritta Ratnavali is written by Jayappa Sena who is the uncle of Rani Rudramadevi, a noble ruler and a warrior queen of the Kakatiya dynasty. The book elaborately explains the dance concepts, classical art forms, folk art forms, and much more. A sincere attempt of studying and understanding the contents of the book, discussions with scholars, extensive literature survey, a lot of research and continuous effort has led us to the development of Kakatiyam.

What is the Kakatiyam dance form?
Art and literature flourished during the Kakatiya rule and a lot of significance was given to dance and other art forms, they built temples of Lord Shiva in their dynasty and the dance sculptures in the Ramappa temple can be related to the dance concepts mentioned in Nritta Ratnavali.

You performed part one of the programme a few years ago. The second part is being staged only now. Why the delay?
The first part of Kakatiyam was presented in 2017 and now we have come up with the next part. It is a time-consuming project because the dance concepts detailed in the book have to be reconstructed from the script form to a dance presentation. There are several chapters and subjects discussed in this book and only a few of them were chosen and are being presented as per the budget and feasibility. For both part-1 and part-2, the script was written by Dr Pappu Venugopala Rao, followed by the choreography, and especially during the pandemic there were no physical classes. Therefore, a major part of the training was given to students through online classes.

What were the challenges?
There were quite a few challenges during the development of this art form, questions about the need for another new art form. I consider this as a rhetorical question and it is like asking 'Why do we need Telangana when we have Andhra?’. This dance form is not something that I invented, all that I am trying to do is to present visually what is detailed in the book written by Jayappa Sena during the Kakatiya reign. Just as the several components such as tharangams, javalis, ashtapathis, shabdalu, etc present in Kuchipudi, there are components such as bhramari, gondalu, kanduka nrityam, perini, etc for Kakatiyam. I am just sowing the seed, nurturing and letting it grow is everyone’s responsibility. I consider the hurdles as my stepping stones and nothing would stop me from taking this art form to the people of Telangana.

What next?
In Kakatiyam what we have presented so far is only a few of the dance types which are mentioned in Nritta Ratnavali, but there are many more mentioned in the book, which has to be brought out. So, as a continuation, I want to work further on this topic so that we can present a series of dance ballets which would include new ones progressively.

On December 26, Shilpa Kala Vedika, Madhapur (6pm).

— reshmichakravorthy@newindianexpress.com
 Twitter: @reshmi190488