Classical Dance


Kuchipudi – A Dance Form Worshiping Lord Krishna

Kuchipudi is a dance form that originated in Kuchipudi in the Krishna District of Andhra Pradesh.  It is a dance-drama performance with once again roots in Natya Shastra.  Like all classical dances, it started as a religious art devoted to the Hindu God Krishna-devoted Vaishnavism and was performed in temples.  The current form of this dance form was developed by Tirtha Narayana Yati and his disciple Siddhendra Yogi in the 17th century.  It was originally performed by only males with the dancer in the male role wearing Angivastra or dhoti and the male dancer in the female role wearing a sari with makeup.  It is now performed by men and women as solo performances or group dances.   It has two main aspects namely pure dance and expressive dance.

The Order In This Dance Recital

The Kuchipudi dance drama consists of Nritta with Theermanams and Jatis, the Nritya with Sabdams, and the Natya with acting with mudras.  Nritta includes beautiful patterns of dance which are a visual delight with no particular message to convey.  The performance begins with an invocation after which each actor-dancer is introduced and his role stated.  This is followed by a short introductory dance that is set to music called dharavu.  This is followed by the nritta or pure dance performance and then the nritya where the story is narrated with rhythmic hand gestures or mudras.  Carnatic music in Telugu both vocal and instrumental accompanies the dance performance.  The musical instruments used here are the mridangam, cymbals, flute, veena, and the tambura.

All You Need To Know About This Dance Form

The Kuchipudi dance form was revived by Vedantam Lakshminaryayan Sastri and Vempati Venkatanarayana Sastri in the 20th century.  Chinna Venkataramayya popularized this dance form.  This dance is embodied through footwork that executes rhythmic patterns that are rather complex.  The rest of the body follows this pattern with either forceful precision or graceful flowing movements as per the requirement of the drama.  In abhinaya, every part of the body brings alive the story or the text that is being recited.  The mudras or hand gestures convey a precise language and the facial expressions convey a wide range of emotions and sentiments.  It is a harmonious mixture of pure dance that is rhythmic, vivacious, bright, graceful, and full of beauty and narrative elements based on Hindu mythology.  Kavuttams are a feature distinctive to Kuchipudi in which the dancer adds acrobatics to the presentation such as balancing pots on the head and then adding a burning diya in the hands or drawing pictures with their toes.

Gearing Up For The Dance Recital

The Kuchipudi dancer wears light makeup and ornaments such as the Rakudi which is a head ornament, the Chandra Vanki which is the arm band, and the Adda Bhasa and Kasina Sara which are necklaces.  The hair is worn in a long plait decorated with flowers and jewelry.  The saris are similar to those worn by Bharatnatyam dancers.  The ghungroo is essential to emphasize the footwork and the eyes are ringed with black collyrium to emphasize the eye movements.  Like all dance forms, learning Kuchipudi helps to tone your body and keep you healthy.  It also exposes students to the cultural traditions of their land.


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