Muktika Kalagiri

Muktika Kalagiri will perform a Rangapravesam dance Saturday, Aug. 7, at the Azalee Marshall Cultural Activities Center in Temple.

Local student Muktika Kalagiri will offer Central Texans a taste of Indian culture when she performs a Rangapravesam dance 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7, at the Azalee Marshall Cultural Activities Center, 3011 N. Third St. in Temple.

Rangapravesam, which means “ascending the stage” in Sanskrit, is a full-length solo dance performance. It marks the transition of the artist from a student to a blossoming dancer.

During the Rangapravesam, the artist must exhibit an understanding of the Kuchipudi, which is one of the eight major Indian classical dances.

Kuchipudi is a village in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, where this art form has been nurtured for thousands of years. Kuchipudi dance has its roots in the ancient Hindu sanskrit text of Natyasastra and is particularly famous for Yakshaganas (dance dramas).

“Classical Indian dance is a combination of foot work and expressions which are expressed to various degrees in various pieces. Kuchipudi dance is very elegant and expressive,” said Dr. Suma Pokala, founder and director of the Veni School of Dance.

Pokala started the Veni School of Dance in 2012 in Temple in memory of her mother, Krishna Veni. Her students have performed at venues throughout Central Texas as well as Lubbock and India.

Kalagiri, 15, has been a Veni School of Dance student for the last four years. She currently attends Lake Belton High School, where she participates in tennis and choir. She says that “it is dream of my life” to graduate from a dance school and she plans to continue to learn and perform dance.

For information about the dance school visit www.facebook.com/venischoolofdance.