On November 10, Kuchipudi dance exponent Yamini Reddy and her troupe will bring on stage a performance that will include verses from Tulsidas’ Ramacharitamanas, considered one of the greatest works of Hindi literature, and the 12-century poet Jayadeva’s Ashtapadis, which is replete with elements of music and dance.
This is, the first time Yamini will combine poetry with the Kuchipudi dance form. The danseuse talks about how the concept had been playing on her mind for a few years although she never got the opportunity to present it. “Both poetry and dance convey emotions while being subjective and abstract. Kuchipudi dance especially, with its beautiful language of gestures, facial expressions, movements and rhythm, can take poetry from written pages and give it a visual form, which can be heard, seen and enjoyed by all. Drishya Kavya is an evening inspired by the words of notable poets… and we have so many in Indian literature,” explains Yamini.
The dance production has been choreographed by Yamini’s parents and gurus Raja-Radha Reddy and Kaushalya Reddy, and it’s taken her and her troupe six months to bring forth the performance. She says it was the shortlisting of the poems that posed one of the biggest challenges.
“We’d be performing in Hydera-bad after a long time, so we wanted to keep up with the ever-evolving cosmopolitan image of the performance as well. So we thought of starting our production with English language then move on with Hindi, Sanskrit and Telugu. For English, we will be performing on Madhavapanchakam, whereas for Hindi, I’ll be doing a mono-act with Hindustani music on Tulsidas’s Ramcharitmanas,” says Yamini.
There will also be group performances on Jayadeva’s Ashtapadi. Yamini tells us that generally it is performed solo but that she would be performing it with her students here. “To conclude the evening, we will be performing to Krishna Tarangam in Telugu. This is my way of paying tribute to all the languages I know,” adds Yamini.
In a few days, the danseuse will be headed to London to participate in Akram Khan’s workshop. Terming it a privilege to be selected as a part of the workshop, Yamini tells us that she’s really looking forward to exchanging ideas and broadening her horizon. “I believe it’s important to keep learning and experiencing fresh perspectives. That’s one of the reasons I am excited about performing Drishya Kavya as well as taking part in the workshop with Akram especially because Akram’s an acclaimed classical Kathak and contemporary dancer,” says Yamini.