For Natya Tarangini dance school, its anniversary is a doubly special day, because it always falls on World Dance Day, April 29.
The performing arts centre, founded by the renowned Kuchipudi exponents Raja-Radha and Kaushalya Reddy, celebrates its 41st anniversary today. On the occasion, dancers between the ages of five and 40 years will present a Kuchipudi recital choreographed by the Reddys.
“When children are told that they’ll perform on World Dance Day, they feel happy and important. Their ecstasy is visible,” says Kaushalya Reddy. “I feel happy that the world is celebrating this day and that there’s an awareness of one day being celebrated in the honour of dance.”
Besides the Kuchipudi recital, the students of Natya Tarangini will today present Hindustani and Carnatic vocal music, and a dance performance titled Draupadi Vastrapaharanam.
Kaushalya Reddy says, “Rajaji has specially choreographed a dance for our youngest students that takes one back to the times of The Playhouse (a theatre), inaugurated by us in Durban, South Africa, after apartheid. When we were in a hotel for five days in South Africa, we couldn’t step out because of security problems. At that time, Rajaji came across the song My Heart is a Temple Happy Happy Dance. This dance composition is based on that song.”
To celebrate World Dance Day, Bharatanatyam exponent Geeta Chandran has organised a two-day event, including a workshop for one and all — it’s open to you even if you aren’t an experienced Baratanatyam dancer, or even if you don’t have any formal training in the dance form. All you need for participation is an interest in Indian classical dance.
This workshop will open the Young Dancers Festival, which goes on for two days. On day one, there will be a Bharatanatyam recital by Aniruddha Knight and a Kathak performance by Gauri Diwakar. The second day will have a Chhau workshop, conducted by Guru Shashadhar Acharya.
There is also an illustrated lecture on Health for Dance by Dr Sheela Nambiar, a Manipuri recital by Nandita Devi, and Vilasini Natyam by Purva Dhanashree.