The names of Raja, Radha and Kaushalya Reddy, along with their daughters Yamini and Bhavna Reddy, are synonymous with Kuchipudi. As the Hyderabad chapter of their dance training institute Natya Tarangini completes 10 years of par excellence training, they talk about their love for dance and teaching. The institute headed by Yamini had a humble beginning with just four students. Today, the institute is in demand and has around 150 students. “We focus on personal training and that’s the reason we had to close admissions for new students. There are almost 600 pending requests. Our student profile ranges from children aged five years to grandmothers of 50 years. Whoever has a passion for the dance is taught at the school,” says Yamini, adding, “I want to give proper attention to every student I train and taking on more students would mean giving less attention to everyone. Being a disciple of Raja and Radha Reddy, I have learnt the importance of the minute details of expression and mudras.”
Elaborating on the importance of expression in dancing and the need for keeping the essence intact while adapting with change, guru Raja Reddy says, “We as a family have dedicated ourselves to Kuchipudi for years now and did our best to bring it out from the shadows and put it on the global map. Now, it’s the turn of our students to make us proud by retaining the depths of tradition, without sacrificing its essence. The Delhi chapter of the school had time and again gained a lot of recognition from people. And I am really happy to see that the Hyderabad chapter too is securing its foothold rapidly. As a teacher, I feel proud to see my students excel. No amount of money can bring you that feeling.”
Agreeing with him, Radha says, “After getting married, Yamini shifted to Hyderabad from Delhi. She was missing the constant sound of Mridangam, taal and the whole hustle and bustle that used to happen in Delhi as the guru used to teach his students. That’s the reason, we asked her to open a branch here and I am really happy to see her and the school excelling in every sense.”
According to Kaushalya, the institute is very different from other schools, which have mushroomed in the city over the years. “Here, we concentrate on the quality and not the quantity. We have time and again received requests to train people so they can venture into movies. But that’s not how Natya Tarangini works. There needs to be time, passion and love for Kuchipudi.”
Talking about the ways to celebrate the occasion, Bhavna says, “We are doing a double Kuchipudi celebration. After a decade, the family is performing together on Shiva Leela on the first day at Ravindra Bharathi and on the other day, the students will perform at CCRT. The last time the whole family performed together was in 2006. I may sing a song too.”...