Classical Dance: Kuchipudi

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By Augustus Binu, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37301868

Kuchipudi is a recognized dance form from Andhra Pradesh. This timeless dance is called after a village Kuchelapuram, 65 km from Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh, and also became famous as a result of the patronage of the Brahmins exercising it. Kuchipudi is understood for its remarkable, quick maneuvering, dramatic characterization, expressive eye activities as well as spirited narrative. It is a combination of tandava and lasya aspects. A distinguishing characteristic of this dancing is the implementation of a brass plate as well as moving the plate to the enhancement of Carnatic songs. The Kuchipudi entertainer, apart from being a professional dancer and actor, has to be experienced in Sanskrit as well as Telugu languages, music, and manuscripts of the efficiency. The Kuchipudi is a dance-drama of Nritta, Nritya, and Natya. The Nritta consists of Theermanams and also Jatis, the Nritya of Sabdams, and the Natya of acting with Mudras (hand gestures) for the tracks. Nritta includes steps and even activities in the form of patterns of dancing, which, though lovely, have no significance to communicate. While fast becoming a solo presentation, Kuchipudi still has substantial ties to the dance-drama custom. It incorporates the components of speech, mime as well as pure dance.

The Kuchipudi professional dancers put on light makeup and also accessories like the Rakudi (head ornament), Chandra Vanki (armband), Adda Bhasa, and Kasina Sara (pendant). A lengthy plait is embellished with blossoms as well as jewelry. The ornaments are made of light timber called Boorugu. The costumes resemble the one worn in Bharatnatyam- The saree is put on with a follower designed fabric ahead and a Pallu (section of saree dangling over the shoulder) at the back that is stitched. Ghungroos (anklets) are worn on the feet– these are specially produced creating the sound to the rhythm of the footwork and also are a setup of bells stitched in a towel tied to the feet. Tarangam is a preferred style unique to Kuchipudi– source literature being Narayana Teertha’s Sree Krishna Tarangini. This is the type where the dancer places a pot loaded with water on her head and feet stabilized on the edge of a plate and also manipulates the brass plate with motions without spilling a single drop of water. The Natya– mala is a dance troupe including men that perform the feminine duties.

In the current day scenario, Kuchipudi is majorly done as a Solo performance by the female dancers. The storyteller has been eliminated as additionally the expressional numbers, which were sung by vocalists behind-the-scenes– now the same is enacted by the dancer herself. The aspect of dedication to gods has been replaced by a lot of ‘sringar’ or erotic flavor. The drama element has been lowered. The significant expressional numbers are from Jaidev’s Ashthapadi, the Ramayana, the Puranas, and also Tyagaraja’s structures.

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