Arts Foundation Honors Dance Teachers

Kamala Reddy

By Radha Rao Dhulipala, Fox Chapel, PA     e-mail:    

Radha Rao Dhulipala, a long time resident of the Pittsburgh Metro area, was Born and educated in Chirala, Andhra Pradesh. She arrived in the US in 1966.  She has been active at the SV Temple since its early days. She and her husband Madhu Rao live in the Fox Chapel area. 

Srinivasa Paada Ghantika (Dancing Bells on Srinivasa’s Ankles), a collaboration of North American Kuchipudi artistes, presented Premanjali at the Sri Venkateswara Temple auditorium on Saturday May 1st, 2010.

Premanjali – meaning A Loving Memorial Tribute in Sanskrit – was organized in memory of Srinivasa Prasad Gutti, known simply as Vaasu to his large circle of friends. Vaasu was an ardent lover of performing arts whose passion was to propagate Kuchipudi dance and Karnatic music among North American youth. While returning after a dance recital, his life was tragically cut short in an auto accident in 2004. He was 22. 

To fulfill Vaasu’s wishes, his parents Varaprasada Rao and Parvathi Gutti established The Srinivasa Prasad International Foundation for the Performing Arts under the auspices of The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County.

Jaya Mani

As part of the evening, it was befitting that the Foundation honored Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi artistes for their decades-long dedication to preserve and promote the art forms in North America as artistes themselves and as teachers. This year’s honorees were:  Jaya Mani of Pittsburgh, an accomplished Bharatanatyam artist and teacher, and three prominent Kuchipudi artistes and teachers, Sasikala Penumarti (Atlanta, GA),  Kamala Reddy Rajupet (Pittsburgh, PA) and Anuradha Nehru (Washington, DC).

Premanjali was woven around a collection of lovely Kuchipudi dance pieces, gracefully rendered by Bindu Madhavi Gutti, Sudha Natarajan and Vanita Lakshmi Sundararaman, all born or raised in North America. These dance pieces were choreographed by the Kuchipudi icon Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam, Smt. Bala Kondala Rao, and Kamala Reddy. 

The program, using recorded music from several vocalists, started with a traditional Kuchipudi prayer on Saraswati rendered by Sujanasri Mulukutla with Ajit Ranganathan on the flute. It was moving to hear  Vasu’s  nattuvangam in this piece.

The audience got immersed in the classical Telugu and Sanskrit compositions of  Sri Siddhendra Yogi (16th century), Narayana Theertha (17th century), Tyagaraja (18th century), Annamacharya (15th century) and Bala-muralikrishna (contemporary), rendered by Sujanasri, Kanya Kumari, P. Surya Rao, and Dwaram Tyagaraju.

It was difficult to decide which one was the best item of the evening. However, these stood out: Narayana Theertha’s Tarangam “Aa  lokaye  Sri Bala Krishnam” skillfully performed by Bindu; Balamuralikrishna’s “Sri Sakala Ganadhipa” performed by Sudha, Vanita and  Bindu with good coordination; and Annamachrya’s “Okapariki okapari Oyyaramai” performed by Bindu and Sudha with quick-paced jatis.  The program concluded with a traditional mangalam — Om Namas-sivaya Mangalam.

Udaya Shankara Rao emceed the program, while Meena Muthyala presented the history of the foundation, its objectives and accomplishments so far, and what it is trying to accomplish in the years ahead both in the US and in India.

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