Students of dance schools from decades ago relive dance lessons on video chat at Edexlive


The lockdown brought back many childhood memories in Mumbai Alakananda Devi Duggirala much of her childhood was in Kuchipudi’s classes at Sri Nrutya Art Academy which she would follow under the guidance of her guru Bhagavathula Venkatarama Sharma in her hometown of Vijayawada. “Most of the teammates in my dance class were and still are very good friends. Back then, we would train for hours and wait for idlis to devour as snacks. We were traveling by train to perform elsewhere and decided in advance how to spend our time on the trip. All the fun we would have backstage before and after a performance on stage are some of my fondest memories of my childhood, ”she recalls fondly.

It all started when Alakananda and his friends decided to surprise Guruji with a video conference to wish him his birthday. “It was so nice to get back together, even though it was on a call,” said the 25-year-old. After the call, they decided to get back together, virtually, and go back to their roots by practicing Kuchipudi.

Refresh their memory
Everything else fell into place easily. They scheduled Zoom meetings and danced together. Then they moved on to recording their sets separately and putting it all into one video. And it is so Quaranteam Kuchipudi was born. There were several reasons they decided to go ahead with this project. “My mom really enjoys watching ballet shows. She would go there on her own too. So this content is for anyone who really enjoys watching shows and misses them because of the lockdown,” says Alakananda, who works as Assistant Manager – Legal at Reliance Jio. Then there’s the fact that it helps them hone their own skills and more importantly, they even started a campaign on Ketto to support the institute in these trying times and give back to their guru. “This is very important according to the guru-shishya parampara (teacher-student tradition)”, explains the dancer who obtained her law degree from Nirma University in Ahmedabad.

Alakananda and six other teammates released their first video on April 9, 2020 of Jathiswaram (a pure dance presentation). While Alakananda moved to Mumbai in 2017, the rest of the teammates are scattered around the world. So pulling that off and the coordination was definitely a challenge. They had to break the whole sequence down into minutes, assign it to different dancers, and make sure it synchronized well at the end. But another aspect that was really difficult was the editing. Since neither of them were good at editing, one of them offered to learn it and do it. Currently, they are all trying to acquire the skills so that they can share the burden. For their second video, Hindolam Thillana, they were joined by their guru and his daughter, Dr Bhagavathula Sowmya. This way other lots have also joined and now there are 20!

Guru Bhagavathula Venkatarama Sharma | (Photo: Alakananda Devi Duggirala)

Guru speaks
Speaking about his guru Bhagavathula Venkatarama Sharma, Alakananda informs that he is from the village of Kuchipudi and comes from a family of dancers. As a child he was strict with Alakananda and his other students, but now he appreciates the fact that they are trying to continue dancing again, in their own way, and is like a parent to them. “I felt really happy to know that they are pursuing the art I instilled in them. After so many years moving away from Vijayawada and pursuing challenging careers, returning to the practice is a matter of greatness for this. art form. It gives satisfaction and health. I was so proud of my students who went about it and spent their time despite busy schedules, “he says.

Their plan is to post a video every week, at least until the lockdown is lifted.

To learn more about them, see



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