News Stardom : Mumbai, 1st. August, 2023. Through her performance, Yamini Reddy will treat the audience to a traditional Kuchipudi Telugu number describing the ‘Dashavataram’ of Lord Vishnu, a story from the Ramayana in Sanskrit and Awadhi Hindi, and a performance of ‘Rasasabdam’ in Sanskrit, accompanied by a live orchestra
Carrying an illustrious legacy forward, renowned Kuchipudi dance exponent Yamini Reddy brings her adored production ‘An Evening of Storytelling’ to the NMACC, BKC, Mumbai for the first time on August 5, 2023. The three-time National Award-winning (with the Devadasi National Award, FICCI Award and the National Sangeet Natak Akademi Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar under her belt) classical dancer extraordinaire, who has the legendary Padma Bhushans Raja, Radha Reddy and Kaushalya Reddy for her parents, will enthral the masses with a programme named ‘An Evening of Storytelling’ that has already garnered much love, praises and standing ovations in Delhi, Hyderabad and the Netherlands. The performance will also be accompanied by a live orchestra, to make the it even more thrilling and energetic. Yamini will be accompanied on the vocal front by her mother and Guru Kaushalya Reddy.
When Yamini conceived this production, the danseuse wanted to bring the unique dramatic storytelling flair of the Kuchipudi tradition into the spotlight. The multilingual production is compartmentalised into three stories that will be presented in English, Telugu, Hindi and Sanskrit, and is replete with such elements like dialogues, episodes, characterisation, et al, that are typical to the rare art form of Kuchipudi. Yamini will begin the programme with a traditional Kuchipudi number in Telugu describing the ‘Dashavataram’ or 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu that is a story that runs parallel to the evolution of mankind. This will be followed by a story from the beloved text of Ramayana, to be performed in Sanskrit and Awadhi Hindi. The concluding performance will be of ‘Rasasabdam’ by Oothkadu Venkata Subbaiar in Sanskrit. This performance will give one a glimpse of the much-loved tale called ‘Gajendra Moksham’ from the Bhagawatam, and it will include the popular plate dance of Kuchipudi.
Kuchipudi is a timeless art form originating from the Telugu Bhagavatars, later married with the temple dance tradition of South India. Yamini, who has been performing this dance form since the age of three, believes it has the power to transform the viewer from within and has become her raison d’etre. “Without dance not much else makes sense. So, I will continue to give performances, teach and find ways to make meaningful changes which will benefit artists and the art,” she enthuses. When asked if she feels Classical dance is a dying art form in today’s day and age, the danseuse imparts, “I wouldn’t say Classical dance is a dying art. It has its connoisseurs; it’s always been a niche art and there are plenty of dance lovers across the country. It just needs to be presented in a manner which is more relevant to the audiences today for them to be able to connect to it.”
The distinguished dancer has opened the Hyderabad branch of her parents’ Natya Tarangini Dance School, where she now teaches Kuchipudi and also conducts workshops to expose students to subjects surrounding the art form like lights designing, yoga and dance music. This is her way of upholding the bastion of the classical art form and popularising it among the younger generations. Since its establishment, the school has grown exponentially and trains more than hundreds of students every year. She has her own repertory with whom she performs regularly. She is also a choreographer and has conceptualised several productions over the years. Yamini shows her heart in another way too: by having a ‘support-an-artist’ initiative. Every year, she supports an artist who has produced invaluable work but who has not received the recognition or the financial stability that they deserve. Her way of saying ‘thank you’ to these artists is heartening indeed!
Yamini’s upcoming presentation is a retelling of some timeless tales that go beyond being mythological stories and end up becoming life lessons and wisdom passed down the centuries. You may have heard these stories before but seeing them through a striking visual medium such as the Kuchipudi dance form with live music accompaniment is surely bound to sear them into your soul! Yours is to watch Yamini Reddy’s ‘An Evening of Storytelling’ at the Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre on 5th August 2023 from 7:30 pm onwards.