Kuchipudi is a dance-drama performance, with its roots in the ancient Hindu Sanskrit text of Natya Shastra. The traditional Kuchipudi was performed by all males troupe. A dancer in a male role would be in Angivastra , also known as Bagalbandi , wear a dhoti a single pleated piece of cloth hanging down from the waist. The Kuchipudi performance usually begins with an invocation. Then, each costumed actor is introduced, their role stated, and they then perform a short preliminary dance set to music dharavu.
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Kuchipudi is a dance-drama performance, with its roots in the ancient Hindu Sanskrit text of Natya Shastra. The traditional Kuchipudi was performed by all males troupe. A dancer in a male role would be in Angivastra , also known as Bagalbandi , wear a dhoti a single pleated piece of cloth hanging down from the waist.
The Kuchipudi performance usually begins with an invocation. Then, each costumed actor is introduced, their role stated, and they then perform a short preliminary dance set to music dharavu. Next, the performance presents pure dance nritta. The popularity of Kuchipudi has grown within India, and it is performed worldwide.
Kuchipudi is named after the village in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh named Kuchipudi — shortened form of the full name Kuchelapuram or Kuchilapuri  — where it developed. Kuchipudi, like other classical dance forms in India, traces its roots to the Sanskrit Natya Shastra , a foundational treatise on the performing arts. The dance-drama tradition in Andhra Pradesh is of ancient origins, and the region is mentioned in the Natya Shastra.
Bharata Muni credits a graceful movement to Andhra region and discusses it as Kaishiki vritti. The pre-2nd century CE text calls one raga as Andhri , that is from Andhra. Dance-drama performance arts related to Shaivism , in Telugu-speaking parts of South India, are evidenced in 10th-century copper inscriptions, and these were called Brahmana Melas or Brahma Melas. According to Manohar Varadpande, the Kuchipudi dance emerged in the late 13th century, when Ganga rulers from Kalinga were patrons of performance arts based on the 12th-century Sanskrit scholar Jayadeva , particularly the Gita Govinda.
The modern version of Kuchipudi is attributed to Tirtha Narayanayati , a 17th-century Telugu sanyasin of Advaita Vedanta persuasion and particularly his disciple, a Telugu Brahmin  orphan named Sidhyendra Yogi. Narayanayati's disciple, Sidhyendra Yogi, followed up with another play, the Parijatapaharana , [note 2] more commonly known as the Bhama Kalapam. Kuchipudi enjoyed support from medieval era rulers. The region saw wars and political turmoil with Islamic invasions and the formation of Deccan Sultanates in the 16th century.
Kuchipudi declined and was a dying art in 17th-century Andhra,  but in , the last Shia Muslim Nawab of Golkonda , Abul Hasan Qutb Shah , saw a Kuchipudi performance and was so pleased that he granted the dancers lands around the Kuchipudi village, with the stipulation that they continue the dance-drama. After the death of Aurangzeb in , the Mughal Empire collapsed, Hindu rebellion sprouted in many parts of India, including the Deccan region.
During the colonial era, Hindu arts and traditions such as dance-drama were ridiculed. Christian missionaries and British officials stereotyped and dehumanized artists, calling Indian classical dances as evidence of "harlots, debased erotic culture, slavery to idols and priests" tradition.
In , the Madras Presidency of the British Empire altogether banned temple dancing. After the ban, many Indians protested against the caricature and cultural discrimination, launching their efforts to preserve and reinvigorate their culture.
Sastri worked closely with other revivalists, between and , particularly Balasaraswati and others determined to save and revive Bharatanatyam.
The three influential figures in Kuchipudi, during the first half of twentieth century, were Vedantam Lakshminarayana Sastri, Vempati Venkatanarayana Sastri and Chinta Venkataramayya. Some Western dancers joined the Indians in preserving dance. The American dancer Esther Sherman, for example, moved to India in , learnt Indian classical dances, changed her name to Ragini Devi, and joined the movement to save and revive classical Indian dances.
Some of the Indian movie actresses such as Hema Malini started their career as a Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam dancer. Kuchipudi is a team performance, with roots in Hindu religious festivals. Traditionally the traveling dance troupe consisted entirely of men often Brahmins  , who moved from village to village, and performed on a stage set next to a Hindu temple.
The repertoire of Kuchipudi, like all major classical Indian dance forms, follows the three categories of performance in the ancient Hindu text Natya Shastra. These are Nritta , Nritya and Natya. A complete Kuchipudi show sequence always consists of nritta and nritya in solo or group performance, but when the underlying text is a play, it may include a natya.
The nritta or pure abstract dance parts of Kuchipudi, states Reginald Massey, may include parts such as darus , jatis , jatiswarams , tirmanas and tillanas. A Kuchipudi performance traditionally is a night performance,  when rural families return from their farms and are free of their daily work. It has been performed in or next to a Hindu temple, and the stage lit by the yellow lights of castor oil burning torches. This may be an on stage prayer to Ganesha , the Hindu god of good beginnings, or may be an invocation expressing reverence to various Hindu gods, goddesses, earth, or one's guru teacher.
The conductor of the performance enters and plants an "Indra's banner" staff,  then introduces all the actors and the characters they play, who are revealed behind a curtain, and when each actor arrives, colored resin is thrown into the flame of one or more torches for dramatic color effects and audience's attention.
After the actors have been introduced, the nritta part of the Kuchipudi performance starts. The actors present a pure dance jatis or jatiswarams , performed rhythmically to a musical raga , and these are called Sollakath or Patakshara.
Thereafter comes the nritya , the expressive part called abhinaya , and this is the heart of the play. Parts set to poetry that are love lyrics or express deeper sentiments are called a padam , and this part constitutes expressing the emotional, the allegorical and the spiritual aspects of the play.
Kavutvams are a feature of the performance that is distinctive to Kuchipudi. These are performed either as nritta or nritya, to different talas , wherein the dancer adds acrobatics to the complexity of presentation.
For example, the dancer may perform the footwork, rhythmically to music, while balancing a series of pots on his or her head, and then add burning Diya lamp in both hands, as the show goes on. Modern productions retain the male dress, but are more elaborate and Bharatanatyam-like for the female roles. Women artists wear a brilliantly colorful Sari or a body fitting dress with a pleated fan stitched in front to help highlight the exacting footwork.
A Kuchipudi artist braids her hair somewhat differently than a Bharatanatyam artist, to reflect the regional traditions, yet wearing flowers are common. Both have symbolic elements embedded in their hair and face jewelry, such as the Vedic symbolisms for the sun and the moon, the soul and the nature, and she sometimes sets her hairdo in the tribhuvana style which represents the three worlds.
Some special Kuchipudi plays may include unusual costumes and theatrics, such as round bottom water pot balanced on the head, dancing with gymnastics or stilt athletics. Musical instruments used in Kuchipudi are cymbals, mridangam, violine, thamburi, flute.
The Kuchipudi performance is led by a conductor chief musician called the Sutradhara or Nattuvanar , who typically keeps the beat using cymbals and also recites the musical syllables; the conductor may also sing out the story or spiritual message being enacted, or this may be a role of a separate vocalist or occasionally the dancer-actors themselves.
Kuchipudi has several regional banis styles , which developed because of the uniqueness and creativity of gurus teachers. The dance styles are based on the standard treatises, Abhinaya Darpana and Bharatarnava of Nandikeshwara, which is sub-divided into Nattuva Mala and Natya Mala. Natya Mala is of three kinds — ritual dance for gods, Kalika dance for intellectuals and Bhagavatam for common place.
The most popular dance-drama is Bhama Kalapam of Sidhyendra Yogi. Kuchipudi training, as with all major classical Indian arts, have traditionally begun at a young age. The training includes physical exercises, theory, demonstration lessons and a lot of practice.
The physical exercises range from yoga to special exercises to develop a supple body and flexibility in leg muscles, lower body, core, arms, shoulders and neck. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the village where this dance came from in Andhra Pradesh , India, see Kuchipudi, Krishna district.
Main traditions. Vaishnavism Shaivism Shaktism Smartism. Rites of passage. Philosophical schools. Gurus, saints, philosophers.
Other texts. Text classification. Other topics. Mythology and folklore. Mythology folklore Indian epic poetry Vedic mythology Buddhist mythology. Architecture Sculpture Painting. Indian poetry. Music and performing arts. Radio Television Cinema. World Heritage Sites. Flag Coat of arms List. This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. July In the first, Lord Krishna appears before Sidhyendra and promises moksha if he told this love epic.
The Hindu. Retrieved 5 April Krishna Theatre in India. Abhinav Publications. Lochtefeld The Rosen Publishing Group.
The Cambridge guide to Asian theatre Pbk. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. Richmond, Darius L. Zarrilli , p. Stone; James Porter; et al. Body — Language — Communication. De Gruyter. Zarrilli , pp. Amsterdam University Press. University of California Press. A Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and philologically arranged.
Natya: theory and practice in Academia
Natya is the Sanskrit word for dance, which requires devotion, dedication and discipline to master the theory and practice of this ancient art. There are several styles of Indian classical dance, which includes Bharathanatyam and Kuchipudi. My classes emphasize the importance of mastering the theoretical and practical aspects of Bharathanatyam and Kuchipudi, as well as understanding the principles of South Indian Classical music, called Carnatic music. I teach and present Bharathanatyam and Kuchipudi as a performing art and not as a religious art form. I focus on the technical aspects of dance and drama since Indian Classical dance present both dance movements not associated with a story and dance movements to enact a story. I focus on the use of hand gestures, body movement, and basic steps to present Indian Mythological stories, contemporary stories, and poems. I emphasize the use of natya to portray a story, transcending all language and cultural barriers.
Theory of the dance. Hastas and Abhinaya
Each aspect of Abhinaya, or the expressive means available to people, is given a detailed description in such competent treatise as Natyashastra written by the great Bharatamuni. The Kuchipudi style follows Natyashastra more than any other dance form in India. There are four kinds of abhinaya means of expression : 1. Angika Abhinaya - the expression through various parts of body. Vachika Abhinaya - the expression through voice, speech and song. Sattvika Abhinaya - the expression through bhavas, i.
July 7, Leave a comment. Dance emanated from the primeval destroyer of the world : Lord Nataraja himself. The energy which would later either destroy or beatify the world, depending on the grace of the Lord. As such, dance emanated from a single source, and spread into the world. It has been standardized in many texts and commentaries. There are clear cut rules laid down, defined structures for performances and detailed expostulations on everything from the movement of eyebrows to the vigorous jumps on the proscenium.