Who said classical dance is only for urban learners? The less privileged in the countryside too have the zeal to learn, and excel. But the absence of good trainers stymies their interest.
Breaking the stereotype and intending to reach out, Hyderabad-based Kuchipudi danseuse Jyothi Reddy is making serious efforts to take the ancient dance form to the other corner of Andhra Pradesh.
Hailing from a farmers family of Vajjavari Kandriga in Nagalapuram, the last mandal in Chittoor district on the Tamil Nadu border, Ms. Reddy settled down in Hyderabad after marriage. An MCA from Sri Padmavathi Mahila Viswa Vidyalayam (SPMVV) Tirupati, and M.S. from BITS Pilani, she worked in the software industry for 11 years, before realising her keen interest in Kuchipudi since her childhood.
When I admitted my five-year-old daughter in a Kuchipudi class, I felt an inexplicable urge to enrol myself. So, we both joined the class together, recalls Ms. Reddy with a wide grin, speaking to The Hindu. That classical dance is her calling became quite evident especially after her daughter Tharishya Reddy - a budding classical dancer - gave her maiden stage performance. When the time to make a choice came, Ms. Reddy decided to bade her software job - fetching her quite a decent sum - goodbye, as her passion for Kuchipudi overtook the aptitude for professional excellence. After six years of rigorous practice, Ms. Reddy decided to pass on the knowledge to fellow aspirants and set up a dance school in Hyderabad.
Bridging a dance gap
Finding that rural students are killing their dreams due to non-availability of qualified and trained teachers, she decided to take it to her motherland, in spite of her busy schedule at her Hyderabad school with 90 disciples. My idea is not only to serve my native place, but also to bridge the gap between knowledge seekers and providers, Ms. Reddy said.
So was born Jyothi Kalakshetra School of Arts. It functions from Sri Vignesh Vidya School premises in the dusty little town of Nagalapuram, which has nearly 100 villages within a radius of 10 km, where she plans to develop a cultural ecosystem. The classes were launched early this week and she is present here for three days in a month. Kuchipudi aspirants can call 96527 13936 for enrolment.