The rhythm of anklets announcing her arrival… we are at once charmed by her graceful appearance. The lovely face of this lady, whose kohl-lined eyes expressing a bhava replete with warmth and instant camaraderie, her long braided hair complimenting the six yards that she carries with poise, Alekhya's story unfolds with myriad abhinayas. “My life is my tribute to art. I dance because it is in dance that I find the complete expression of total being”, says the danseuse. A series of her dancing pictures and awards dotting the walls of her drawing room literally light up the space, speaking volumes of her dedicated work in the field of performing arts over the years
An artistic journey
A top ranking exponent in both the Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam styles of dance, recipient of the prestigious Ugadi Visisht Puraskar for the year 2002 by the Government of Andhra Pradesh, as well as the highly coveted Hamsa Award for her service and commitment to Dance, Alekhya started dancing at a very tender age under the tutelage of Late Shri Dayal Sharan. Continuing with Dr. Uma Rama Rao, she is also an artist to reckon, with over three decades of work in these two styles.
Her performances rendered at the highest level in India and abroad, include all the prestigious and sought after dance festivals conducted in various parts of the country, as well as over the world, including The United States of America, The United Kingdom, Syria, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Muscat, Qatar, Lebanon, Bahrain, Cyprus, Poland, Turkey, Bulgaria and Mauritius, both through the Indian Council of Cultural relations, as well as on invitation through organizations there. These were highly appreciated and still remembered as renditions of the highest class. Her performances have been highly appreciated in these areas, in spite of the extreme difference in cultures. She also was awarded the highly acclaimed Prathibha Rajiv Puraskar - 2009.
Alekhya had the honor of performing twice at the prestigious Khajuraho festival which conducts annual performances by artists of the highest level. Her other highly appreciated and cherished performances were at the prestigious Haridas Samaroh, Kalidas Kuchipudi Mahotsav, Soorya and Konark, Nishagandhi, Natyanjali, Siddhendra Yogi, Parangat and Kalakshetra, Nritya Sammelan, Sangeet Utsav (Mauritius), Vishwaroopa and Kuchipudi art festivals, to name a few, organized by reputed organizations both in India and abroad, as well as festivals organized by Central Sangeeta Nataka Academy. Apart from above solo performances, she has brought to life many mythological heroines like Alamelu Manga, Gouri, Paravathi, Thilla Kali, Mandakini, Durga, Sasirekha, Andal, Draupadi, Radha. Plus historical characters like Lakuma in several dance ballets which have brought her lot of laurels and appreciation both from critics and connoisseurs alike.
Accolades are not far behind…
While reviewing her portrayal as Radha, leading national daily, The Hindu (October 2, 2006) says 'Alekhya looks great as Radha and her movements on the stage and the many adavus she uses earned grace for the character of Radha. She underplays the role to elevate its dignity'. The Hindu (Friday June 29th, 2007) says Alekhya as Lakuma was simply superb and bewitching, both in her drama as well as dance.
It was her presence that changed the total complex of the drama.
Her traditional and innovative repertoire in solo technique, her portrayals as mythological heroines in various dance ballets, as also her subtle presentation of Satvika Abhinaya have become her hallmark through which she carved special niche for herself and is recognized as one of the rare artists from the younger generation to carry out the legacy of Kuchipudi greats like Padmashri Vedantam Satyanarayana Sharma and Late Shri Pasumarthi Krishnamurthy.
Alekhya's scholarly demonstrations on various subjects like the compositions of Annamacharya, Kshetrayya, Jyadeva, Sarangapnai and the technique of Kuchipudi at different institutions, universities both in India and abroad while participating in several seminars and conferences, have won wide acclaim from great masters, scholars and rasikas.
Apart from being a member of several cultural organizations and academic bodies, Alekhya is a member of the Advisory board of Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Andhra Pradesh region, and member, programme advisory committee of Doordarshan and All India Radio, (Prasar Bharathi) A.P., Hyderabad.
Alekhya is a graduate in English Literature, psychology and philosophy and also holds a bachelor's degree in dance (Bharata Natyam) Osmania university. She holds a postgraduate degree in ancient Indian history, culture and archeology. Alekhya has been awarded PhD for her extensive work on 'Kshetrayya Padams' – their importance in the Abhinaya Aspect of Kuchipudi dance, A Historical perspective.
Apart from achieving fame through her on-stage performances and the above mentioned academic pursuits, Alekhya has been actively involved in teaching and propagating dance. Presently she is teaching dance to students in the capacity of Head, Department of Dance, Patti Sriramulu Telugu University, in the past. She had been academically involved with this prestigious university for nearly 20 years in various capacities.
Last several years have seen her devote her time and effort to the study and propagation of Kuchipudi dance from. Being a dedicated teacher, and in order to pass on the art form to the younger generation, she has taken an initiative to train young, budding and upcoming Kuchipudi artistes through 'TRISHNA', a centre she has started in her quest for excellence. Alekhya firmly believes in sharing her training expertise and experience with the younger generation and she sees TRISHNA as means to build this legacy.
Alekhya has in a span of thirty devoted and dedicated years, emerged not only as a great exponent of the Kuchipudi and Bharata Natyam art forms, but has also established herself as a dedicated teacher, a sincere research scholar and a choreographer par excellence!
Dr. Alekhya Punjala a unique artist who describes art as 'transforming, redeeming and intoxicating. My life is my tribute to Art. I dance because it is in dance that I find the complete expression of total being. With my body, mind and soul, in dance I find my Samadhi'.
Alekhya's initial forays…
Abhinaya Tapasvini – Alekhya
Alekhya Punjala described once as a jewel in the world of dance is one of the foremost exponents in both the Kuchipudi and Bharata Natyam styles of dance.
A recipient of the prestigious Ugadi Visisht Puraskar for the year 2002 by the Government of
Andhra Pradesh as well as the highly coveted Hamsa award 2003, Pratibha Rajiv Puraskar 2009, for her service, commitment and excellence in dance, Alekhya started dancing since a very tender age under the tutelage of late Shri Dayal Sharan, continuing with Dr. Uma Rama Rao and is an artist to reckon, with over 3 decades of work in these two styles.
Today she is one of the most outstanding dancers of Kuchipudi, representing the art form in several dance festivals, conferences & seminars. Her traditional and innovative repertoire in solo technique, her portrayals as mythological heroines in various dance ballets, as also subtle presentation of Satvika Abhinaya has become her hallmark through which she has carved a
special place for herself as a danseuse, teacher, researcher & choreographer.