While most Kuchipudi ballets depicting Draupadi’s life begin with her birth and end with her Swayamwara, Swati Somnath considers the Swayamwara the focal point of Draupadi’s life and therefore, begins her performance there. Her ballet goes on to depict her vastrapaharanam, her provoking statements to Dharmaraja, and finally, the Pandavas ascent to heaven.
Swati’s ballet portrays the moments where Draupadi topples downwards during her hike, and calls out for help. Dharmaraja tells Bhima who steps forward, not to help her because she had only loved Arjuna all her life and therefore, wasn’t deserving of their mercy. Bhima returns to her and asks her if there is anything else he can do for her. She says there is nothing now, but when she is reborn, she would like to be the wife of the five Pandavas again, only this time with Bhima at the helm since he was the only husband who ever stood up for her.
Swati Somnath is the disciple of Sumati Kaushal and practices both Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi, although Kuchipudi is her personal favourite. She has performed 11 ballets in Kuchipudi so far, which include Sarvagnyashankara, Kamasutra and Draupadi. The Draupadi theme, she believes, has the strongest potential to portray all the Navarasas.
In her 20+ year career so far, she has received the Ugadi Puraskar and International Woman Of The Year Award from the State Of AP, apart from Nritya Kaushal from Dr. Channa Reddy and Best Kuchipudi Dancer from the Vice President Of India. Her academy, Nritya Bharati, in West Marredpally, Hyderabad, trains youngsters in Kuchipudi, Bharatnatyam and Carnatic music.
She will be performing at Thyagaraja Gana Sabha from 1800 hrs onwards on the 23rd of March. Please contact Bhaskar Rao of Kalarajyam at 93473-58271 for further details.