Delhi girl, Atisha Pratap Singh has been learning Kuchipudi since she was a three-year-old. After embarking on her dance journey as a student, 14 years ago, she is ready for her Kuchipudi Rangapravesam (graduation), which will be held on May 15.
“It has been 14 years since I have been dancing with my gurus. It’s a graduation, that you have finally learned your basics. You are putting yourself out there in the world,” says the 17-year-old student of Kuchipudi exponents Raja, Radha and Kaushalya Reddy.
Even though she has performed on the stage several times, this will be her first solo dance performance. Ask about the challenges that came along her way, and she says: “As kids, you have no interest in dancing, you are thrown into it. My mom put me into dancing and initially, I didn’t enjoy it. But as I grew older, I started putting my heart and soul into it. I owe it all to my gurus. I wouldn’t have been what I am if I hadn’t got Kaushalya aunty’s scoldings,” she says with a laugh. Recalling her teacher Kaushalya’s inspiring words, she says, “She says that ‘You have to be a designer piece, and not an ordinary piece of cloth.’”
How has dance helped shape her personality? “It made me more confident and disciplined. Dancing requires a certain patience. Kuchipudi has got both, expressions and footwork. It’s a drama. Here, you are the lord, instead of praying to them,” she says.
One of her fondest memories is of performing on poems written by former President of India, the late APJ Abdul Kalam. “I was three and I was the youngest dancer on the stage. He gave me a bouquet of flowers and when I went backstage, I started screaming that I won,” she recalls.
- What: Rangapravesam of Atisha Pratap Singh
- Where: Kamani Auditorium, 1, Copernicus Marg
- When: May 15, 6.30 pm onwards
- Nearest Metro Station: Mandi House on blue and violet line