The inception of their 50-year-journey was without fanfare and in the face of quite some opposition, but the commitment and passion of iconic dance couple Raja and Radha Reddy brought Kuchipudi on to the cultural map of the world.
“What is Raja doing? He is unnecessarily getting into this classless business and also bringing his wife into it,” they said.
“People were saying all kinds of things, but we were mad about dancing,” Raja Reddy told in an interview, speaking for the duo.
And, to celebrate their golden milestone, the dancing couple organised a night-long concert at Saket’s Natya Tarangini Performing Arts Centre on Friday to pay obeisance to Lord Shiva on Mahashivratri for their success.
Even so, it was a tough start to their phenomenal journey, Reddy reminisced.
But their persistence resulted in the dyad becoming the first dancing couple from India to perform in the International Dance Festival of Avignon (France) and Salzburg (Austria) in 1974.
They later went on and participated in many important international dance festivals including the prestigious Festival of India at New York, Washington and London.
“Our journey started when we performed Kuchipudi in a full length recital in Delhi for people from all cultures of our country.
The maestro, despite all his struggles, has always been optimistic about the survival of Kuchipudi.
“The only way classical dance is suffering is because there is not enough patronage by the various bodies that are there to propagate and support these dance forms,” he said.
“State governments should help their artists locally to preserve the rich heritage of their respective art forms and the central government should definitely (do more) to support and help artists, various art forms from fading away.”
“A very good number of kids from all over come up to learn Kuchipudi. Their parents take interest in the classical forms. The problem is that there is not a lot of time as life today is very fast. They have so many things to focus on and not just dance.”
“We still continue to work tirelessly towards the propagation and preservation of our rich Indian heritage of dance and music as a way of giving back to society in the form of imparting knowledge and presenting shows all across,” he said.
By: Mudita Girotra