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When the Gods danced in Delhi

art-and-culture Updated: Feb 19, 2011 15:55 IST
Amrah Ashraf
Amrah Ashraf
Hindustan Times
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Some performances have the ability to transcend the realms of reality to a world where each taal, each mudra, performed innocuously by dancers, has a story to tell. Amidst the resonating sound of the gungroos, the Kuchipudi dancers from Raja Radha dance troupe performed a bone chilling routine.

In Delhi to perform at the 1st International Dance Festival, the Kuchipudi dancers along with the grand old man of Indian classical dance, Raja Reddy and his wife Radha Reddy performed to a classical yet unusually fast paced Kuchipudi routine without sacrificing the dramatic sensibilities of the dance.

The evening started with Raja Radha Reddy's shishyas, dressed in vibrant silk saris and adorned in dazzling jewels, performing a vigorous dance that highlights the cycle of creation, preservation and dissolution. 69-year-old Raja Reddy himself performed a solo piece with such vigour that many in the audience were forced to their feet and applaud in pure reverence. His each mudra was followed by gasps, sighs and claps from the audience.

On any other evening, the audience would watch a performance as a spectator but this evening was different. Thanks to the powerful music and the sheer brilliance of those nimble feet, the audience was innately compelled to be a part of the dance so much so that with the change of each taal, a spectator could feel his emotions building. It was like each member of the audience was connected to the soul of classical dance.

Raja ReddyThe high point of the evening came with the beautiful togetherness and rhythmic dialogue between Raja and Radha Reddy. As the pleats of Radha Reddy's saris swayed gracefully to the music, Raja Reddy's sublime movements were a sight in themselves. In the precise postures and refined patterns the duo re-enlivened the magnificent sculptures chiseled in the ancient temples of India.

After the performance, an exhausted Raja Reddy couldn't contain his emotion and said, "Dance is what I live for. I eat sleep drink dance and I will dance till the end of my life."

The evening also saw the swirling dervish from Istanbul, Turkey performing the 800 Years of Love to the mesmerizing poetry of Rumi.