Women’s Day brings Kuchipudi nayikas to the fore

Heralding Women’s Day, a national festival, ‘Nayika’, revolving round Kuchipudi, was mounted by Bengaluru’s Shambhavi School of Dance (dancer Vyjayanti Kashi’s art initiative) jointly with Kartik Fine Arts, at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan hall in Chennai. Given the prominence of the traditional nayikas in what was an all-male nurtured dance repertoire, this event was conceived to discuss the contribution of pre-eminent Kuchipudi women performers. As the participants of the morning seminar, on the first floor of the mini auditorium of the Bhavan earnestly read their papers, substantiated by demonstrations, the irony of discussing the contribution of women in what was traditionally an all- male tradition, would seem to have been felt by only this critic.