|This classical art form derives its name from
the village of Kuchipudi in Andhra Pradesh and is an embodiment of Telugu culture in its
variety and richness. Nimble movements and the chiseled perfection of ancient Hindu temple
carvings are the forte of the Kuchipudi style of dancing. About 500 years ago, some
Brahmin families in the Telugu speaking areas created a new form of dance drama called Bhagavata
Mela or Natya Mela. Although this new style was famous, it remained formless
until Siddhendra Yogi in the 16-17th gave it some shape and brought glory. He wrote
masterpieces like 'Bhama Kalapam' and also initiated the male members of his
community into dance.
The credit of introducing the concept of solo dance by female artistes would no doubt go to Guru Vedantam Laxminarayana Sastri (1875 - 1957). Kuchipudi has also imbibed the abhinaya numbers from the Andhra 'Nattuvamela' traditions, introducing rich expressions. It is the scintillating rhythm and fluid style that captivate the audiences interest.
The Kuchipudi repertoire today includes songs from Usha Parinayam, Prahlada Natakam, Golla Kalapam, besides Ashtapadis, Sabdams, Padams, Varnams and Tillanas. Narayana Teerthas Tarangam Bala Gopalam' remains the main attraction of most Kuchipudi recitals and includes an intricate dance on a brass plate.
The chief exponents of this art form today are Vempatti Chinna Satyam, Shoba Naidu, Kanaka Durga, the dancing couple, Narasimhachari and Vasantalakshmi, Shoba Natarajan, Dr. Ambika Kameshwar, Uma Muralikrishna and so on.
To be continued
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