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Sunday, December 20, 2020

Indian Classical Dance Form- Kuchipudi


In the first instance performed by the group of actors going from village to village, known as Kusselavas, Kuchipudi derives its name from the village Kusselavapuri or Kuchelapuram in Andhra Pradesh.

In the 17th century, Siddhendra Yogi ratified and systematized the tradition. He authorized "Bhama Kalapam" and many other plays.

With the exposure of Vaishnavism, the dance form became a monopoly of the male Brahmins and began to be performed at temples. Stories of Bhagvat Purana became a central theme of the recitals, and the dancers came to be known as Bhagvathalus. The dance form gained greatness under the patronage of the Vijayanagar and Golconda rulers

However, it endured confined to the villages and remained obscure till the advent of the 20th century, when Balasaraswati and Ragini Devi revived this dance form. Lakshminarayan Sastri, in the early 20th century, brought in new practices such as solo recitals and female participation.

Some of the features of Kuchipudi dance are:

  • Most of the Kuchipudi recitals are based on stories of Bhagwata Purana but have an earthly theme. There is a predominance of Shringara ras.
  • Each vital character introduces itself on the stage with a "daaru", which is a small composition of dance and song, specifically choreographed for the revelation of each character. 
  • In a Kuchipudi recital, the dancer may Integrate the role of a singer into himself/herself as well. Hence, it becomes a dance-drama performance.
  • Both Lasya and Tandava elements are paramount in the Kuchipudi dance form.
  • Apart from the group the executions, there are some popular solo elements in Kuchipudi as well.
  • A Kuchipudi recital is generally escorted by Carnatic music. Violin and Mridgangam being the principal instruments. The recital is in the Telugu language.

The dance involves all three components of the classical dancers: Nritta, Natya, and Nritya. It is similar to Bharatnatyam but has its own attributes.

The performance has:

  • Sollakath or Patakshara: The Nritta part, where the movement (gesture) of the body is made.
  • Kavutvams: The Nritya part involves extensive acrobatics. It may also be performed as Nritta.

Apart from group performances, there are some admirable solo elements in Kuchipudi as well. Some of them are:
  • Tarangam: The dancer represents with his/her feet on the edges of a brass plate and balancing a pot of water on the head or a set of diyas.
  • Jala Chitra Nrityam: In this element, the dancer draws a picture on the floor with his or her toes while dancing.

Famous exponents: Radha Reddy, Raja Reddy, Yamini Krishnamurthy, Indrani Rahman, etc.

Fig: Kuchipudi (Tarangam) 

Fig: Kuchipudi



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