The Department of Dance, S.N.School, University of Hyderabad conducted a condolence meet on 31-May-2021 to commemorate the loss of renowned Kuchipudi gurus and advocates of the dance form and one of the research scholars of the department.

The month of May has been a month of grief and loss to the Kuchipudi dance fraternity. Guru Pasumarthy Kesava Prasad, Guru Chinta Adi Narayana Sarma and Sri Vempati Venkat – allhailing from hereditary families of Kuchipudi village succumbed to Covid. Their association with the Department of Dance has been treasuredover the past few decades. One of the research scholars of the department, a senior dancerand a teacher, P.Dayanand also lost his battle to Covid in the recent times.

The virtual meet was organized by the Head of the Department Prof. Aruna Bhikshu. The rest of faculty Prof. J. Anuradha, Sri. P.Ramalinga Sastry and Vocalist Sri. DSV.Sastry along with Students from MPA and Ph.D. courses attended the meeting and paid their respects.

Prof. Anuradha spoke about the invaluable services of Sri. Kesava Prasad garu to the dance fraternity and was saddenedthat with his demise, a vital link between the Kuchipudi village and the rest of the worldis lost. She mentioned that Sri. Kesava Prasad was like a spokesperson and a representative of the Village and the Form and helped several generations of dancers from various dance forms to get connected with the Village, especially through his organization, Akhila Bharata Kuchipudi Natya Mandali. She said that the fraternity still is in remorse of loss of great gurus like Sobha Naidu, Natarajan last year and now the grief is paramount. She recollected her association with Sri Chinta Adi Narayana Sarmagaru and recognized him as the humblest guru with a wealth of knowledge. Many of his students completed their masters from the Department of Dance of UoH. She is pained by the demise of Sri Vempati Venkat, the eldest son of Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam, who worked as the support system for the functioning of Kuchipudi Art Academy.

Sri DSV.Sastry recollected his association with Sri Kesava Prasad garu since his childhood and hailed him as a person who worked relentlessly till his last breath to the promotion of Kuchipudi and Kuchipudi Village. He remembers Sri Chinta Adi Narayana Sarmagaru as the most dedicated teacher who has trained several students for the Certificate and Diploma courses and spoke about his remarkable choreographies. He mentioned the keen eye that Sri Vempati Venkat had for the documentation of the history of Kuchipudi. Though, Sri Vempati Venkat was not himself a practitioner, he dedicated his life for the promotion and preservation of the dance form.

It was both a personal and professional loss for Sri Pasumarthy Ramalinga Sastry belonging to the Kuchipudi hereditary families. He fondly recollectedhis childhood days in the village where he grew up with Sri KesavaPrasad and Sri Adi Narayana Sarma together. He narrated how Kesava Prasad garu established Akhila Bharata Kuchipudi Natya Mandali and how he persistentlyworked for the promotion of Kuchipudi and in preserving of the culture of the Village. His immense services to the fraternitywill be dearly missed. He remembers Sri Adi Narayana Sarma as a highly knowledgeable person, yet so simple and humble in personality. While speaking about his association with Sri Vempati Venkat, Ramalinga Sastry remarked at the excellent organizing and perceiving capabilities of him and cherished the discussions he had with Venkat.

Prof. Aruna Bhikshu recalls Sri Kesava Prasad garu as an irreplaceableman with great vision and tremendous open mindedness, a person with strong and inspiring personality. She mentioned that he, by conducting several Festivals of Music and Dance in the village, helped several artistes across various dance forms to connect with the roots of Kuchipudi. He always had an eye to look out for new talents and new productions and a strong desire to promote and support them. She fondly recollected her association with him and narrated how he supported and encouraged her. She remembers Sri Adi Narayana Sarma as a composed and dignified person with an ever-smiling face. He trained hundreds of students who are now teachers propagating and preserving the dance form. She mentioned that it was only because of Gurus like Adi Narayana Sarmagaru, Kuchipudi has spread to the grass roots level in Hyderabad. Talking about SriVempati Venkat, she said that he was the one who was always at the backstage but worked for the preservation and promotion of Kuchipudi throughout his life.

The department is deeply saddened by the untimely demise of one of their research scholars, Sri P. Dayanand due to Covid. Dayanand also completed his Masters in Performing Arts from the same department. He is remembered as a dance teacher and researcher who has dedicated his life to this art and is fondly missed by the faculty, colleagues, and friends alike.

May God give strength to the families of the departed souls and to the dance fraternity to cope up with this irreplaceable loss of the great gurus and advocates of Kuchipudi.