Perfection, beauty and grace are the few adjectives that can be used to define the legendary Kuchipudi duo Raja and Radha Reddy. Their name can be used as a synonym for the art of Kuchipudi Classical dance throughout India and abroad as well. Through their togetherness and unison they brought life to the ancient art form of Kuchipudi. Their perfection in performing and hearfelt expressions make their so mesmerising.
Raja Reddy was born in 1943 in Hyderabad where as Radha was born in 1955. Both of them hold a Diploma in Choreography from the Osmania University. In 2010 the couple were conferred Doctorate by University of Hyderabad for their contributions towards Kuchipudi. This brilliantly gifted dance duo is the first to receive some of India’s highest civilian recognitions together. They were awarded Padma Bhushan, Padma Shree and the prestigious Sangeet Natak Award by the government of India. Recently they finished 50 years of togetherness in their dance journey.
The achievements in their journey are innumerable. In 1974, they had the honour of being invited as the first Indian dancers to participate in the international Dnce Festival of Avignon in France and Salzburg in Austria. In 1996, they stood as the star attraction of the All-Star Ballet Gala Festival in Japan. With their heartfelt performances, they enthralled the Cuban President Fidel Castro who wrote a letter to the then prime minister Indira Gandhi saying that he saw the whole India in Raja and Radha. As a sign of honour to this power couple, Indira Gandhi presented them with their first residence in the capital of India, New Delhi.
They also performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall London where Raja was given the title of Black Shiva. After he was given this title, they were chosen to play Shiva and Parvati for the German Television group, WDR’s documentary ‘Cosmic Dance of Shiva’. They had the honour of performing before President Ford of United States of America, Prime Minister of U.K., Princess Madelaine of Sweden, Prince of Bhutan and so on. Raja Reddy also has much choreography to his credit, namely, ‘Shivas Dance’, ‘Mahanatam’ (which has travelled to three continents), ‘Shiva Leelas’, ‘Raasa Shabdam’, ‘Kuru Yadhunanandana Ashtapadi’, and many more.
Today they not only stand as one of the greatest classical dance performers, but they are also the prominent teachers of Kuchipudi in India. Their dance school Natya Tarangini Institute of Kuchipudi is located in the Saket locality of Delhi. This institute has been training numerous students under their wings since 1976. They also started ‘Parampara’ which is a series of showcasing the art of classical dance. Their daughter, Yamini Reddy is also a classical dancer has a training academy here in Hyderabad. She and her sister Bhavana Reddy are continuing the legendary legacy of the dancing duo. After serving so much to this ancient dance form, they say that their only wish is to be remembered as someone who has done service to Kuchipudi and dedicated their whole life for this dance form.
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