Source: The Hindu; Author: Ranee Kumar; Photo Courtesy: M .Subhash

Dance runs in their genes; it’s been their ancestral profession. Yet, antiquated custom did not permit daughters of the families to learn, perform or teach dance. That is the quintessential Kuchipudi for you. It was not a blind belief nor a superstition nor chauvinism. It was just a matter of risk and exposure to the vagaries of nature as these dancing troupes of Kuchipudi in the past, often travelled by foot to various regions, performing on streets for days together. And obviously their women folk could not be exposed to such a wandering life and profession. What started as shielding women later turned into a denial of the art form which became the unwritten law of the land. Kuchipudi doyen Vempati Chinna Satyam’s daughters faced the same fate despite having an educated upbringing in Chennai! Yet, witnessing just two or three performances by their pupils is enough to find that the Satyam brand is intact them.

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NO FRILLS M. Kameswari (left) and Chavali Bala Tripurasundari. Photo: M. Subhash