The Mayura Academy Annual Day showcased over one hundred students of Kuchipudi, one of the South Indian traditional dances flourishing under the guidance and tutelage of Guru Venkata Ramana in Sydney.
Hailing from India, KC Srivani, sister of Guru Venkata Ramana, has also been teaching the students of Mayura Academy in the past month or so. Mr Kapa Srinivasa Rao, Mridangist and Nattuvangam has been a catalyst in exploring jathis and other rhythmic nuances for the Annual Day.
From humble beginnings the School has now become a popular and famous school for those who wish to learn the particular artform of Kuchipudi in Sydney.
The program was preceded by the vocal recital of Mahathi Kapa accompanied by the local eminent artists, Kranthi Kiran Mudigonda on violin and Janakan on Mridangam. The resounding and strong voice of Mahathi Kapa filled the auditorium, forming an apt beginning and setting the mood for the afternoon. Mahathi’s Kurai Onrum Illai still rings in my ears amongst the other compositions she rendered expertly accompanied by both Kranthi and Janakan with their usual pizzazz.
The dance program commenced with several items where the junior groups presented basic steps. It was good to see the participation of quite a few young male children.
Interspersed with dances such as Adigo performed by students of middle to senior years. This was followed by Charishnu, Jathis and Jathiswarams. The groups showed their ability to keep their postures, foot steps and hand movements in perfect rhythm.
The school showcased the developing years of dancers at various levels. It was wonderful to see as the evening progressed the enjoyment and energy did not wane.
Most importantly, it is creditable to all the students, that they all knew the entire song they were dancing to. Miming it as they danced, it was evident that they had internalised the meaning of the song and poetry, much of it in the telugu language foreign to many. This understanding helped and enhanced their bhava or expression and their timing.
The dedication of the parents to ensure their children are provided with an opportunity to pursue this artform in Sydney was heartening to see and has to be applauded.
The choice of music was engaging with intermittent jathis thrown in between for one or two cycles of time periods.
With some of the items being experimental, with a dramatic /theatrical edge performed by a group of adult students, such as the Hanuman Chalisa and some others like the Sloka where the students engaged the audience with some interesting choreography.
Predominantly however the performances stayed true to the style of Kuchipudi, showing strong influences of Dr Pasumarthi Seshu Babu style but also depicting other influences.
The performance of senior students was riveting and those of some young students showed amazing promise.
The program was managed with equal efficiency, unlike most School programs, there was order and discipline evident through out each section of the performances.
Whilst it was a cold day, my heart was warmed when the program finally concluded with some outstanding performances by students who danced to the popular Bho Shambho, demonstrated dancing on the plate in the Tharangam and the finale in the Ramayana Shabdham was eye catching.