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Transcending Cultural Barriers: Simhadnandini

For Lasya Mavillapalli, a well known performer of Simhanandini dance form, she and her family eats, breathes and lives dance. Born in a family of dancers and Sangeet Natak Akademi and Kalaimamani awardees, Sri Narasimhachari and Vasanthalakshm, Lasya was introduced to dance at the age of 5.

Simhanandini is a dance form dedicated to the Mother Goddess of strength, the one who suppressed evil over good and came out victorious at the end. It celebrates victory over the dark forces, which is still relevant.

This dance form dates back to 14th century when the dancers used to draw the picture of a lion (in front of the temple), the vehicle that Goddess Durga used while gaining her victory over evil on the auspicious occasion of Vijayadashami.

Simhanandini dance presentation has now been recast and recreated once more as a part of Shankarananda Kalakshetra. The dance is set in six rythmic cycles all together with about 128 talas or counts. The final countdown begins with the dancer's rhythmic footwork, where a picture of lion is drawn with the feet with abhinaya in praise of the Mother Goddess. As the dancer moves on a white cloth, over a carpet of coloured powder on the floor, the drawing emerges gradually. 

Indian classical seemed to have already having a slow death but with artists like Lasya, it seems as if the dance forms are reviving and transcended beyond the fences gaining applauds throughout the world.



By: Subrata Dey


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