Some our own dance treasures that remain unexplored or worse still, have vanished without a trace. The Kuchipudi dance repertoire contains several invaluable temple ritual dances which are rarely performed. Hence, it was heartening to see the extraordinary restoration work by Reshma U Raj performing the beautiful ‘Simhanandini’ natyam.
On International Women’s Day, meet Reshma, a techie from Kochi Technopark, who performs the art of ‘Simhanandini’, a crest jewel of Kuchipudi.
“About half a century ago, noted Kuchipudi guru C R Acharya found it worthy to highlight the ‘Simhanandini’ episode which was practiced by the devadasis”, said Reshma to Mathrubhumi news.
“Devadasis used to perform them during festivals and draw lion, the vehicle of Goddess Kali on rangoli powder sprinkled on floor, before starting rath yatras. It’s called Simhanandini as it is performed in Simhanandana thaalam,” explains Reshma, who is probably the first artiste to perform it in Kerala. These were part of ‘Alaya Nrityas’ (temple dances), presented by Devadasis.”, she added.
Reshma, who has been into dance from the age of four, was a regular face at school youth festivals and was the district kalathilakam of Thiruvananthapuram in 2000. She was also the winner of many laurels including the Young Talent Award last year from the Ministry of Culture and the Balasree Award a few years ago.
The virtuosity and skill required to create this marvellous piece of art with mere footwork never fails to amaze.