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Gratitude To Our Healthcare Heroes: We Salute You!

Kuchipudi Dancers Deepika Reddy & Shloka Reddy

4 min read

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is causing turmoil all over the world and some of the people most affected are healthcare professionals – doctors, nurses and paramedics. So as a tribute to the services of our healthcare heroes, we have created a specially recorded video to express our gratitude to them for their dedication and commitment. We have also strived to impart the recommended advice via the beautiful Kuchipudi art form on how to stay safe and protected during this difficult period. Hope you all like it!

This idea first came to us while watching the news. We were horrified to witness the insensitive behaviour and unpardonable attacks on doctors and healthcare workers in Delhi and Hyderabad. Instead of saluting them and thanking them for their selflessness, courage and tireless service – people were attacking them!

A brainstorming session later, we had decided to create a dance piece as a tribute to the services of the healthcare heroes. But due to the lockdown, creating a new recording seemed next to impossible. The music from ‘Vaidyo Narayano Hari’ that was recorded six years ago came to our rescue. So we decided to utilise the music from this production (as it was easily available to us at this point in time) choreographed a new piece as a tribute, and recorded the dance at home.

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We believe that this is a time for all of us to stop and reflect on how we can contribute in our own way, and there is nothing more de-stressing than giving back to the community. So it would be good if we could all find ways to encourage and help our heroes at the frontline. It’s also important to disseminate accurate information at a time like this, keep positive and healthy, stay connected with family and friends and help in whatever way possible to fight this pandemic!

Dancing helps you to enter a different world as you get totally engrossed in this physical activity that is a combination of graceful movements, rhythmic footwork and expressions! Moreover, you become one with the character you are portraying and try to concentrate on doing it with ease and élan, all of which works as a great stress buster.

This art form engages every part of the body from head to toe, starting from the eyebrows/bruha bedhas, eyes/dhrishti bedhas, neck/greeva bedhas, shoulders, arms, hands, waist, core, legs and feet.

Kuchipudi is innately a very graceful dance form. Practicing it diligently makes one graceful in all one’s movements and enhances posture and gait, and thus character. Also, each mudra conveys various meanings. Natyashastra, the oldest treatise on dance describes single hand gestures/mudras and double hand gestures/mudras. Animal mudras are easy and fun, especially for young children. Even mudras showing aspects of nature like flowers, sun and moon can be performed effortlessly and when practiced together, is a great way to foster a bond with your children.

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Additionally, Kuchipudi helps in all-round development as it helps build self-confidence as one loses stage fear during performances. Students are enrolled from the age of six to learn the Kuchipudi dance form but a date or assurance regarding a Rangapravesam (debut on stage) is not provided. This is because it depends a lot on each individual child’s commitment, hard work and dedication.

Furthermore, parents are advised not to push their child to do their Rangapravesam since a child should come to a level of proficiency to perform with finesse and be able to hold the attention of the audience. For children to gain experience, they are encouraged to participate in many group performances before their solo debut, given that like any art form, excellence in Kuchipudi comes with a lot of devotion, passion and hours and hours of practice.

This art form engages every part of the body from head to toe, starting from the eyebrows/bruha bedhas, eyes/dhrishti bedhas, neck/greeva bedhas, shoulders, arms, hands, waist, core, legs and feet. Both the body and mind get a workout, as you also have to remember the dance sequences, mudras and posture, expressions, and make it all look effortless at the same time! So it’s a fantastic cardio routine which also requires immense coordination.

Kuchipudi is one of the noted classical dance forms of India and originated in the village by the same name close to Vijayawada. The present dance form of Kuchipudi can be tracked back to the 16th century, although dance was popular as early as 2nd century BC as is evident through the sculptures at the Amaravati Stupa depicting group dances.

Somewhere between the 14th and 17th century, Siddhendra Yogi, stylized the then rustic dance form and gave it a structure and framework. He imparted training only to male dancers, which was the custom at that time. Female roles were also played by men who were beautifully dressed and adorned as females. The ruler of Golconda Abul Hasan Tanesha was enthralled by a Kuchipudi performance during his visit to Machilipatnam and as a gesture of generosity gifted the village of Kuchipudi to the artistes.

It was only in 1930 that Vedantam Lakshminarayana brought about a revolution and women were brought into Kuchipudi dance.