DANCE ORIGIN: India
Sindhu Ravuri has been studying Indian dance since the age of four. At the age of 10, she is the youngest soloist in Festival history. As a disciple of Padmabhushans Sri Raja and Smt. Radha Reddy, Sindhu caught the attention of the Reddys during one of their Bay Area visits, and was invited to study with them exclusively, through constant visits to India and web-cam. Sri Raja and Smt. Radha Reddy bring kuchipudi classical dance to modern audiences through performances and through their Natyatarangini Kuchipudi School in Delhi.
The world-renowned dancing couple has given a new magnitude to the age-old art of kuchipudi dance, while retaining the traditional poetry and dramatic aesthetic. Sri Raja Reddy is originally from the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, the birthplace of kuchipudi form. He expanded the scope of kuchipudi dance by becoming the first non-Brahmin to dance the form professionally, and by supporting women kuchipudi dancers—including his wife and daughters—in a form that was historically male.
In 2007, Sunnyvale Hindu Temple honored Sindhu for her superior quality in kuchipudi dance with the title of “Natya Sumanohari” and for her dedication for dance and bhakti, or reverence towards God. She performed this dance last August for the President, Prime Minister, and Parliament House of India, sharing the stage space with the Padmabhushans.
Sindhu performs a devotional dance for Mother Earth. She begins as a frozen temple sculpture, a goddess saddened that she doesn't participate in the living world. Hearing beautiful music, the goddess wakes up and begins to dance, with lithe and expressive movements and the stamped rhythm of bells. She dances for love of nature and the beauty of Earth, and when it is time for her to return, the dancer hesitates, takes one last glance, and is again saddened by her loss. The sand grips her heel and holds her, until—unwillingly—she freezes back to sculpture.
Taraana is a Hindustani musical piece, especially composed for choreographers Sri Raja and Smt. Radha Reddy by Bharat Ratna Pandit Ravi Shankar. Pandit Ravi Shankar's music is in raag nata bhairavi and taalam ektal. Kuchipudi Dance Masters Raja and Radha Reddy choreographed the dance in classical kuchipudi style. Today, Sindhu shares the stage with her honored guru Sri Raja Reddy who performs taalam rhythmic patterns and percussion for his student.