DANCE ORIGIN: South India
CHOREOGRAPHER: Jyothi Lakkaraju
First appearance in EDF: 2018
Soloist Ananya Tirumala began her dance journey at age four, learning kuchipudi in 2015. She loves dance and currently studies Vaganova classical ballet at Bayer Ballet. She's given multiple stage performances, winning awards at regional and national competitions, including 3rd place in the 2018 YAGP Ballet competition. Ananya also likes math, coding and reading. Cupertino's Natyalaya School of Dance and Music was established by renowned artist and instructor Jyothi Lakkaraju in 2000 to honor and promote Indian classical kuchipudi dance, and foster its stylistic evolution in the US.
TITLE: Ananda Narthana Ganapathim
CHOREOGRAPHER: Jyothi Lakkaraju
COMPOSER: Sri Oothukaadu Venkata Subbaiyer
SOLOIST: Ananya Tirumala
Ananya Tirumala is our ten-year-old kuchipudi soloist, performing Ananda Narthana Ganapathim. Her elegant elephant poses depict beloved Lord Ganesha, the Hindu elephant-headed god of knowledge, intellect, and wisdom. Ganesha dances with Gandharvas, celestial beings, in paramandanam, supreme bliss.
Ananya says, "I am trying to portray Ganesha, how he looks, how he likes to dance a lot. He has an elephant head, a trunk, a lot of brothers. He also sits a lot, he's chubby. He’s competing in dance with celestial beings, performing for the drum—it's a prayer. Between the instrument players are celestial beings. I nod my head and put my arms over my head; the drummer says go ahead, do that. I make a circle with one finger for the end of his trunk and show how he takes water and feeds himself: he’s eating a modak (coconut dumpling, Ganesha's favorite). The end pose is Ganesha holding out his trunk."
Ananya's costume is traditional, modeled after ancient temple sculptures and bridal attire, with a center pleat, gold borders, flowers, traditional and trendy jewelry, and elaborate makeup. While dancing, she silently sings sacred Hindi verses:
I meditate upon the joyously dancing Ganapati,
Spirit incarnate, origin and the foundation... the
greatest; hidden in the mind of Shiva Shankara;
dwelling as after-song when celestial musicians
endowed with lute and rhythm strike a note...
His feet are like the lotus. He resembles an
emerald. He has a face of an elephant. He is
the sound of Om. He is the supreme. He wears
golden clothes. He has one tusk...
Kuchipudi originated around 200 BCE in Andhra Pradesh. It stems from the ancient Sanskrit text Natya Shastra, in which the stated goal of dance is to bring us to a parallel reality of wonder, reflection, and spiritual consciousness. Like Indian classical bharatanatyam, it tells story through nritya (pantomime), natyam (theater), and nritta (pure dance), but it's more exaggerated. In the 14th-century Siddhyendra Yogi added Yakshagana folk dance influences, stylized footwork, and Carnatic music; and in the 20th century, women's solo presentation emerged. Ananya's performance today is a living thread to ancient worlds, linking generations of masters and students; and a reminder of the Bay Area's true wealth—our dedicated culture bearers.
Choreographer Jyothi Lakkaraju, Artistic Director of Natyalaya School of Dance and Music, learned the dance from Dr. Uma Rama Rao in Hyderabad, India and created this inspired choreography. The wonderfully rhythmic song is set to raga Nattai, an auspicious South Indian melodic/rhythmic cycle that opens many concerts.
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