Kuchipudi is the classical dance form of Andhra Pradesh. It is one of the major eleventh classical dances of India. Kuchipudi derives its name from the Kuchipudi village of Andhra Pradesh. Kuchipudi is a dance-drama performance with the ancient Hindu Sanskrit text of Natya Shastra.
It is known for its impressive quick footwork, drama, and expressive eye movements. It is a mixture of tandava and Lasya elements. The Kuchipudi performer apart from being a dancer and actor has to be skilled in the music of performance. Kuchipudi is performed on classical Carnatic music.
Kuchipudi uses a lot of fast rhythmic foot movements with gracefulness in body movements which highlights the dance form. The dance even consists of hand gestures and facial expressions. The instruments used for music include Mridangam, flute, and violin.
The Kuchipudi dancers wear light makeup and ornaments like Rakudi, Chandra Vanki, Kasina Sara, and long plait decorated with flowers and jewelry. The ornaments are made of Borough. The costumes are similar to the Saree worn in Bharatnatyam.
Ghungroos are specially made for creating sound to the rhythm. Before starting the dance, there are certain rituals to perform in front of the audience. Kuchipudi dance is enacted during the night in the open air on stage.
Features of Kuchipudi Dance
It involves difficult foot movements and is generally a team performance. Most of the Kuchipudi recitals are based on stories of Bhagwat Purana but have a secular theme. There is a predominance of Shringaara ras. The Dance involves all three components of classical dance: Nritta, Nritya, and Natya. It is similar to Bharatnatyam but has its own features.
The performance has –
- Sollakath or Patakshara: the Nritta part, where the movement of the body is made.
- Kavutvams: The Nritya part involves extensive acrobatics. It may also be performed as Nritya (Pure Dace).
In a Kuchipudi recital, the dancer may combine the role of a singer into himself/herself as well. Hence, it becomes a dance-drama performance. Both Lasya and Tandava elements are important in the Kuchipudi dance form. A Kuchipudi recital is generally accompanied by Carnatic music; Violin and Mridugangam being the principal instruments. The recital is in the Telugu language.
- Marduk Shabdam – This tells the story of a frog.
- Tarangam – The dancer performs with his/her feet on the edges of a brass plate and balances a pot of water on the head or set of Diyas.
- Jala Chitra Nrityam – In this item, the dancer draws pictures on the floor with his or her toes while dancing.
Radha Reddy and Raja Reddy, Indrani Rehman, etc