Natya Tarangini - Abhignyana Shakuntalam - Kuchipudi Dance Drama - 30th April 2017 - Detroit Metro - A Report
Sri Arya Somayajula
Natya Tarangini is back with yet another a Kuchipudi dance drama that was performed on April 30th, 2017!
The dance drama was based on the legendary Kalidasa’s narration, “Abhignyana Shakuntalam” at the Novi Middle School Auditorium in Detroit Metro area. The academy is run by Guru Smt. Sailaja Pullela who is known for her Versatility in Choreography, Presentation, and Teaching style.
Kuchipudi danseuse, Guru Smt. Sailaja Pullela recalls her Guru Padmabhushan Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam Garu instilled discipline, rigorous practice and understanding of the meaning to express the bhava which ultimately reaches the God.
Abhignyana Shakuntalam dance drama has a good combination of drama, drama, emotions, youthfulness, romance and distress. The drama unfolds with the invocation piece of Lord Ganesha.
The dance drama was set to eight scenes. The first scene was Introduction by Suthradhara or narrator of the story, Shakuntala was born to Meenaka, the celestial damsel, through rishi Vishwamitra, whose asceticism (tapa) had scared even Indra. Soon, a daughter was born to her. Meenaka’s returned to heaven leaving her daughter in the forest. The second scene was where Gautami finds this baby in the forest and brings it over to Maharshi Kanva’ s hermitage. The baby girl, brought up by the great Sage Kanva, grows up to be a beautiful maiden Shakuntala. The props and background was very well planned for each scene. Scene three was portrayal of young Sakuntala reared in the secluded, sylvan hermitage of the sage Kanva, and grows up a comely but innocent maiden. Shakuntala enjoys growing up with lots of love from her friends, peacocks, deer and other animals.
The next scene is where the girl grows out to be a beautiful damsel. In this scene, the playful youth of Shakuntala with her sakhis (best friends) Priyamvadha and Anasuya was sweet and subtly portrayed. The scene follows with King Dushyanta and Shakuntala’s Gandharva Vivaham (wedding blessed and witnessed only by the nature). The highlight of the performance was ‘Mamataanu Raagala’, a compilation of the cupid’s arrow by Dushyanta (played by Sri. Yagna Mutnuri, also a senior disciple of Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam Garu) on Shakuntata, (played by Guru Sailaja herself) on knowing her mind. The choreography is so delicately designed to set the mood for a Sringara rasa.
Then comes the fierce sage, Durvasa who curses Shakuntala to be separated from her husband for being oblivious of his presence. After returning back from his pilgrimage, Sage Kanva comes to know what has happened in his absence, he immediately advises the now pregnant Shakuntala to go to Dushyanta. Shakuntala accompanied by Gautami and Sage Sarangarava, leaves to her husband’s home. A special mention to the dancers, their costumes and the stage props and curtains to each scene is very well designed and coordinated by Guru. Smt. Sailaja.
The rest of the story revolves around how Dushyanta and Shakuntala re-unite.
All the dancers in this dance drama did justice to their characters. Sage Kanva, Gautami, Young Shakuntala with friends, Maharshi Durvasa all come in quick succession. The dancers who played Sutradhaarulu narrating the entire story in Kuchipudi repertoire with traditional Kuchipudi costumes. The dancers who played the roles of rishi shiyas, peacocks, deer, tiger and young bharata and ganesha need a special applause. The highlight of the show was Shakuntala Dushyanta’s (Sailaja and Yagna’s) duet dance sequence and dance moves.
Sailaja, in her role displayed good body geometry and Abhinaya, as it came natural.. portrayed the desolate, despairing, abandoned, Shakuntala reaching to her mother. I think she is, quite simply, the best in terms of technical, emotional, rasa, abhinaya and nritta prowess! Guru Sailaja’s attention to details in every aspect of this dance production is commendable.
The credits for this dance drama goes to Script Sri. Bhim garu, Music Sri. Garimella Gopala Krishna garu. Lyrics for this dance drama were penned down by Bhim garu and music was composed apt. Production, Choreography, Direction, Art design, Costume design by founder and director Natya Tarangini Guru Sailaja Pullela. Students of Natya Tarangini who participated in this dance drama are Halasya, Sarayu, Vidya, Shilpa Rekha, Archana, Manjula, Pooja, Bhaavna, Purvaja, Sakhshi, Meenakshi, Bhavya, Kavya, Pranavi, Meghana, Anvita, Neha, Pradeepa, Rohitha, Divya, Sreejani, Sahithy, Anuskha and Jahnavi. Senior disciple of Padmabhushan Guru Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam, Sri. Yagna Mutnuri played the role of King Dushyanta. His experience and seniority clears shows the grace in his dance movements. He was specially thanked and honored by Smt Sailaja. Every scene and every dancer excelled in their roles and the overall performance was a feast to the eye.
A Report from Arya Somayajula
Received from Natya Tarangini
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Key words & Credits: Natya Tarangini, Kuchipudi Dance Drama, Abhignyna Shakuntalam, Kalidasa, Detroit Metro, Arya Somayajula, Report.
Pics - Natya Tarangini
Performance April 2017
0517.31-1 **A Worldwide Indian Classical Dance Report