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Posted at: May 18, 2016, 12:34 AM; last updated: May 18, 2016, 12:34 AM (IST)

Dancing daughters

Mother daughter duo - Vyjayanthi Kashi and Prateeksha Kashi – is enamoured by the theatrical elements, lyrical grace and charm that
Dancing daughters
Bonding over dancing: Vyjayanthi Kashi & Prateeksha Kashi

SD Sharma

With an impressive dossier of performances in India and the world, the vibrant Kuchipudi classical dance guru and theatre artist, Vyjayanthi Kashi is carrying forward the rich legacy of her grandfather the legendary Dr Gubbi Veeranna, a theatre stalwart. Vyjayanthi Kashi had her grooming as Bharatnatyam dancer but after marriage to Vijaya Kashi, a television, theatre and actor of regional films she had extensive training in Kuchipudi under late Guru C R Acharya and others. Her young daughter Prateeksha Kashi, who is also a prolific Kuchipudi dancer, performs with her at international venues. In city on the invitation of Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi she shares her journey.

What tempted you to switch over to Kuchipudi after initial training in Bharatnatyam ?

In fact, Kuchipudi came as my second innings at the age of 25 after my original love and training in Bhartanatyam. This happened after my marriage to the busy film actor when I had enough time for creative pursuits. As I wished to opt for a dance with theatrical element, lyrical grace and charm, Kuchipudi was the obvious choice. Though coming from a family of celebrated artistes, my mother was not allowed to perform and she wanted her dreams to be realized through me. I was enamoured by the intimate surroundings, the simplicity and the reverence for gurus when taken to the sleepy village of Kuchipudi, the Mecca of this dance form. It was so inspirational to relish the wisdom of stalwart gurus, who remained celebrities for decades, especially my guru Acharya ji who later addressed me as ‘ Dancing daughter’.

How was your experience of maiden public performance?

I worked very hard to present an item Painting of Peacock to the best of my ability but was nervous due to the presence of many dance legends. Surprisingly the chief guest the cultural minister remarked : “Long back I had watched the item performed by her guru and I am rather embarrassed to compliment Kashi for emulating and doing better than her guru””. Needles to say my guruji was elated.

Were you serving in a bank during your formative years of dancing?

My guru had once told me that creativity flourishes only when your stomach is full. Now there is a substantial shift in the art scene in all genres. Many acclaimed gurus had to see penury in their life time. It is imperative for art practitioners to be practical in life to secure livelihood.

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