Celebrated Kuchipudi dancer Shobha Naidu, aged 64, passed away on Wednesday while undergoing treatment in Hyderabad. The demise has been grieved by several members of the art fraternity. Prominent personalities, including Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao, and renowned film actor Chiranjeevi, expressed grief over the sad demise of the dancer.
A disciple of renowned Kuchipudi exponent Vempati Chinna Satyam, Shobha Naidu was conferred with the prestigious Padma Shri in 2001 and the Sangeet Natak Academy award in 1991. She was also awarded the coveted titles of ‘Nritya Choodamani’ by Sri Krishna Gana Sabha of Madras and ‘Nritya Kala Siromani’ by the Nungambakkam cultural association.
Born in Anakapalle in 1956, Shobha Naidu took to dance at an early age. Shining the most in the roles of Satyabhama, Padmavathi, and Chandalika, she performed and choreographed ballets- Vipranarayana, Kalyana Srinivasam, Jagadananda Kaaraka, Sarvam Saimayam, and Navarasa Natabamini to name a few. An exceptional dancer with several titles to her credit, she was known for her brilliance as a performer. She is described as a perfectionist and an uncompromising purist. Shobha Naidu groomed around 1500 students across the globe and founded the Kuchipudi art academy in Hyderabad. She has 80 solo performances (as a dancer) and 15 ballets (as a choreographer) to her credit. Touring across the globe, she presented her performances in different countries which included the US, UK, Russia, Syria, Turkey, Hong Kong, and Bangkok.
While touring Vizag in 2018, in a conversation with Yo! Vizag, the eminent artist had said, “Vizag is culturally very aware and our Kuchipudi performances here have always met a packed audience. In fact, the fourteen ballets that I composed and produced, have all been presented to the city. I’d call it the best place in Andhra Pradesh for art lovers. The many performances that we have done here at Kalabharati and other venues have been well received.”
Shobha Naidu will be remembered for her unrelenting efforts to keep the glory of dance form of Andhra Pradesh alive, for making Kuchipudi transcend the boundaries, and for spreading the spirit and beauty of art-form through her beautiful performances.