“Fortune favours the brave and savours the suave incidences that light up the path to heaven.” In the yester years, when there were no televisions or multiplexes, people had their tea served through theatre arts, where stories unfolded through patterns that blended communities and cultures together. Brevity answered the toughest of questions, while serenity engulfed the mightiest of oceans! From those questions and oceans, there arose the ever-graceful dance form of Kuchipudi, it has been intriguing audience for centuries thereafter. Many disciples who approached it for salvation were turned legends and legacies were gifted to the reverberant cohorts. Yamini joined this discipline, in the quest for answers, which untwined mysteries of her own life! A journey depicting her ascent, from being a dilettante to an international performer that she is, is nothing less than a musing on the walls of traditional corridors! Let’s take a sneak peek into Yamini Kalluri’s exhilarating cruise, where she shared some delightful insights on artistic life, Kuchipudi and motivation with team Goodclap!
Inspiration- The Great Guru
Yamini started training in Kuchipudi at the age of 8, all thanks to her wishful mom; she was keen on making a dancer out of Yamini! A lot of girls used to learn Bharatanatyam in the class and that turned out to be a regret point for Yamini in the initial stages, where she felt discouraged! Things took a turn when she watched a performance by Padmasri Dr. Shobha Naidu, who is a very renowned Kuchipudi dancer. Her role as Satyabhama in Sri Krishna Parijatham inspired Yamini to develop a special kindle for Kuchipudi; fascinatingly she found the mojo in her Guru itself! Yamini’s quest to master the art of Kuchipudi took a new turn after she joined the student clan of none other than Dr. Shobha Naidu, and since then, she never turned back on her decision to decipher the dance form. Today, Yamini feels grateful to her mom for prodding her to take up Kuchipudi!
Kuchipudi- A powerful Odyssey
One of the profound dance forms that evolved from theatre is Kuchipudi, a very refined art from the sacred treatise of Natya Shastra. Originating from a village in Krishna district in the modern state of Andhra Pradesh, Kuchipudi involves many movements imbibed from both Odissi and Bharatanatyam. Yamini quotes that, “Just because it is poised, that doesn’t mean there is no vigour in this powerful dance form. It is the most appropriate artwork to compose vibrant and agile movements. The rhythmic patterns are fast and playful, and the entire experience is very hair-rising indeed, for both the performer and the viewer. Kuchipudi is one of the few dance forms that follows Lokadharmi, wherein instead of just portraying characters through gestures, the dancer propels efforts to dress up in that attire and holds suitable properties, most likely creating an impact like the allotted character in a ballet. Another significant part of Kuchipudi is dancing on the rim of a brass plate to Narayana Theertha's compositions which are known as Tharangams.”
All in all, the dance form is a treasury to be upheld for generations to come.
The Subject of Art as Neutral and collateral
“Whenever the human heart is crushed by the tempter, that’s when we turn to our intellect.” Art is a unique cerebral medium to understand various things differently. Yamini ascertains that, “To be honest, Indians are prepping courage in pursuing their passions in the recent times, which is nice to see. But a lot of people are embracing these art forms just to make their CVs look impressive, to get into a deemed university, to catch public eye or to earn money.”
Seldom do we find people pursuing art for the sake of it. That raises the question of whether art is just collateral, doesn’t it?
Many Indian artists are biased that art is only a path to reach the divine. A very touché message given by Yamini in regards to this goes as,
“One need not necessitate divinity in every aspect to ensure discipline and clarity. Comprehension and contemplation entail various probabilities. If we choose to probate art for empowerment, we would surely see a better world through the lenses of artists. Divinity is just one of the few themes of art. Art is confusing indeed, which is why we must take enough time to understand it and pursue it in the right manner. Advent of science thronged two possibilities, develop or devour, leaving the hook to the inventor. Same goes with artists, good or bad or neutral, choice lies in the creators’ hands.”
The quality and originality of art is also perishing while aiming for universality. The subject of art is as complex as science, time unravels the similarities, for now, we’re left with a thought to ponder upon, i.e. should we consider art as Neutral and Collateral depending on the context? ;)
Ode to Destiny- Artistic nightmares
Artist's life is a roller coaster ride. Either the moments are too jubilant or too depressing. There are no normal phases. “Ask me for a mundane episode, I will try my best to name a few. Trust me! Basically, we must blame ourselves for making our lives so dramatic”, says Yamini, in a monotonic way.
Nightmares are part and parcel of artistic life, but when they proceed to be factors for motivation like in Yamini’s case, they become artefacts to relish! To her, motivation manifests in the form of her guru and other great dancers all around the globe. An artist straying off the path is a familiar scene, but nightmares waking up a person to strive harder, that’s a distinctive icing on the cake. The scars of criticism, the wounds of judgement, the suffocation of pressure, and all these tangents keep pushing Yamini to her best self!
An Avalanche of Achievements
To add to her wardrobe of experiences, Yamini has a plethora of titles and achievements in her kitty. She has been conferred with PANDIT JASRAJ SCHOLARSHIP, which is a citation given to upcoming artists, where she had the honour of performing in his presence. Yamini was honoured with titles like Hasya Ravali, Bala Ratna and Natya Krithika for her active cultural involvement and brilliant academics at school, at a very young age, summing up the story of the all-rounder!
Yamini teaches dance at Srinivasa Kuchipudi Art Academy, besides training herself at the distinguished conservatory! She even completed the Kala Parichayam course organized by the Department of Culture, AP!
When we probed into her enhancement quotient, she exclaimed, “I love standing ovations! They are the best form of appreciation for me. I just got a hand few. I should strive harder to get a standing ovation for every performance.” Finances will help her manage production costs, school and personal expenses collectively mentoring her growth, she remarks!
Goodclap wishes this riveting kalakar in Yamini, a ravishing future ahead, and looks forward to her everlasting contributions in the field of dance, trumpeting the soul and bustle of Kuchipudi across empirical strongholds of art community!
Follow and support her here: https://goodclap.com/thekuchipudidancer
Subscribe to Goodclap - Causes: Addressed, Talents: Nurtured, Innovations: Supported!
Get the latest posts delivered right to your inbox