In the year 1976, Padmabhushan Kuchipudi dancer Raja Reddy established a dance institute, Natya Tarangini, in Delhi, to teach the classical dance form to North Indians. Over the years, the institute has evolved as a Kuchipudi pioneer in the country. Ever since its inception, the Natya Tarangini Annual Day is its annual feature and is a platform for its students to showcase their talent on stage.
“The journey has been overwhelming. We feel every student has uniqueness to her, and that adds to the institute, the art forms and everyone’s learning experience,” says Reddy, who remembers hosting the first annual day at Mavalankar Auditorium at Rafi Marg in 1977.
Every year, the institute also provides an opportunity to one of its senior dancers to perform a solo item. This year, Chitkala Balan, a 22-year-old final year student, will be performing a solo dance.
“My performance is an ode to Goddess Amba; it’s based on Aadi Taal and Raag Neelambari, and is called Shringaralahiri.
I feel really honoured to be chosen for the solo performance,” says Balan.
Keeping the tradition alive, today, at Kamani Auditorium, the institute will be presenting 60 thinking dancers — as Reddy prefers to call them. “We don’t just teach dance to our students; we also help them understand the whole essence of Indian classical dance. Their learning is completed with the understanding of the Natyashastra and the study of various important shlokas from the great Indian granthas,” adds Reddy.
At the performance today, the youngest dancers at Natya Tarangini will also recite shlokas as Guru Namaskar and Bhoomi Pranam. This is will be followed by a Ganesh Vandana and Nritta Hastas (hand gestures) by senior dancers.
Nritta Hastas is a dance performance where various Mudras (steps) are performed on Sawras (notes) and Jatis (rhythms). “It’s not always important to have a story in your performance, sometimes you just need to enjoy the beauty of Mudras and that’s what Nritta Hastas is all about,” says Reddy.
Another interesting feature of the one and a half hour long performance is Natya Yogam, where eight performers will dance standing on a brass plate. The finale performance is Krishna Rass, which will see dancers play Holi as Lord Krishna, Radha and Gopis.
Catch it live
What: Natya Tarangini’s annual dance show
When: April 6
Timings: 7pm onwards
Where: Kamani Auditorium, Copernicus Marg
Nearest Metro Station: Mandi House on the Blue Line