Sandhya Raju took Kuchipudi to a world stage with her performance at an Austrian Museum
Hyderabad-based Kuchipudi danseuse, Sandhya Raju, has the ability to cast a spell on her audience with her dextrous mudras and mesmerising expressions. Be it a performance on the stage like the Guru Kishore Mosalikanti’s Durga Tharangam, which we love, or her role in Revanth Korukonda’s short film Natyam, you know she was born to dance and that’s what she has been doing for the last 20 years.
It was this short film that paved the way to international recognition and she landed a performance at the opening of The Welt Museum Wien in Vienna which opened doors last year after a few years of reconstruction. Sandhya, along with Bengaluru-based Akhilesh Unnithan, presented a stylised rendition of Kuchipudi in a dance drama titled, Framed, where she plays an Indian princess who comes alive from a potrait. “They wanted a classical Indian dancer who also had the potential to project something modern,” says the dancer-turned-actress, who shared the platform with Mexican Aztec dancers and Australian Aboriginal performers. “I performed to an audience of more than 2,000 Austrians, their President and the First Lady too,” shares Sandhya, asserting that she was happy that her presentation was relevant in today’s time instead of a relic piece from the past.
Not only that, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen and the First Lady Doris Schmidauer were left awestruck by the composition. “Our performance was met with a lot of fascination and respect,” recalls Sandhya, adding that her attire and jewellery received accolades too apart from her movements and grace.Collaborating with artistes from Australia, Mongolia, Iran, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and many other countries, Sandhya has definitely taken the dance form to new levels. However, she is determined to reach out to a wider audience. Hence, she plans to create video tutorials of her dance, as she has been gaining popularity on YouTube. The classical dancer was happy to present a performance . “Often people tend to judge you for your choices if you experiment with a classical form. However, since this was a commissioned act, it gave me the freedom to explore without having the burden of the responsibility of tarnishing Kuchipudi.” She recently essayed the role of a journalist in the Malayalam film, Careful. But that’s not all! This danseuse is determined to make a mark on the medical industry as well by investing in Call Health, a company that provides healthcare solution at your doorstep. “I was in a place, where I felt responsible for giving back to the community and intentionally put aside time to do that,” shares the dancer, for whom all the world’s a stage!