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"Naatya Kousthubh Nrithyotsav – 2013" All Indian Classical Dance Festival - View Detail
::Development and Importance
Kuchipudi is one such unique form of Art which is the tasteful blend of grace and vigour, elevation and sensuality, of control and abandon. With its roots buried in the soil of Andhra Pradesh in India, Kuchipudi was born in a remote Village from which it derived its name. In the early days, the Kuchipudi style of dance was in the form of dance dramas, the main purpose being to inculcate divine ecstasy which invokes immortal bliss and brings one closer to the path of salvation .It is strictly classical in nature incorporating Lasya, Thandava and Abinaya in the interpretation of Slokas. It incorporates Samyutha and Asamyutha Hasthas, Karana, Chari, Angahara, Mandala, Nrutha Hasthas etc. All mentioned in the NatyaSasthra. Kuchipudi dance is the only dance form where all the four Abhinayas (Angika, Vachika, Aaharya and Satvica) are given equal importance. The use of Vachikabhinayam is a special feature in the Kuchipudi dance style. The Dancer not only merely dances but also acts with gestures as well as words. It takes atleast ten years for an ordinary dancer to master this art and be able to express Bhava through eyes and Rhythm through foot work.

There were two parallel schools of dance, Nattuva Mela and Natya Mela. Nattuva Mela developed into Bharathanatyam (performing solo items) and Natya Mela into the Kuchipudi dance in dance drama style. Nattuva mela is basically solo dance performed by women and the nattuvangam is generally done by men. The repertoire of this style of dance consists of both erotic and devotional items, Sringara and Bhakti. This is the form of dance that both the temple dancers and the court dancers used to perform, with God or king as the hero, as the case may be. The second style of dance is Natya mela which is generally performed by both men and women. Their repertoire consists of dance dramas with themes, not necessarily religious, to entertain the audience. This later form of dance is believed to be the forerunner of the present day Kuchipudi dance.

::Women kept out
Sidhendra Yogi, an exceptionally gifted scholar and artiste, who lived in the 16th century gave a definite format and purified this ancient art. Sidhendra abstained from training women fearing that they might exaggerate the sentiments expressed and dispel it of its spiritual tone. Kuchipudi became an all male domain. The female roles were also impersonated by men.

All the families residing in Kuchipudi were devoted to either in teaching on performing this austere dance style. Dance was their one and only source of living. Kuchipudi remained confined to the narrow limits of an obscure village with little exposure.

::Contreversies
Unfortunately in the last forty odd years the revival of Kuchipudi has raised a lot of dust. Controversies have been ragging over its classical character. Also some misguided dancers have convinced the public that drawing the pictures with colour powders with foot is part of the Kuchipudi repertoire. This is not only damaging the spirit of the dance form, but is also irrelevant in the extreme.
::Women find a place
Late Guru Sri. Vedantam Lakshmi Narayana Sastry, an unparalleled maestro in the filed created aflutter by introducing women to Kuchipudi. He has taken Keertanas, Astapadis, Padams, Sabdams, Tarangams for solo performance.
::Performing 'TARANGAM'
The major attraction in Kuchipudi dance style is performing Tarangam. The source literature is Narayana Teertha's Srikrishna Leela Tarangini. Dancing with the feet settled on the rims of a brass plate was introduced to make the style more attractive and outshine when in comparison with its kindred styles. This is not a gimmick, nor is it an effort to bring in irrelevant acrobatics. Such sequences reveal the artiste's mastery over rhythmic complexities. Solo items were choreographed; compositions of eminent poets were taken and set to choreography. These changes lent a glimmer to the art and Kuchipudi. Bhama Kalapam and Golla Kalapam are the two major Kalapams that are practiced by the Kuchipudi dancers.
......... ABOUT THE GURU ............
The living Legend Padmabushan Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam is the only present recognized Guru and Author of Kuchipudi Dance over the world. He not only followed his Guru's footsteps but proceeded even further down through the road of revolution. He made a detailed study of the oldest available treatise on dance.
::A new dimension
Kuchipudi acquired a wholly new dimension. He refined Kuchipudi, bringing it completely within the boundaries of Natya Sastra and gave it wholly new perspective. Guru Vempati enlarged and enriched the repertoire both in solo items and dance dramas.Compositions of eminent poets in all regional languages were set to the dance.
Kuchipudi
Apart from mythological themes, Social themes also formed the main subject of dances dramas. Kuchipudi, which is known only in and around Andhra Pradesh, spread all over India and abroad under Guru Vempati's efforts. Gone were the days when men donned even the female roles. Guru Vempat's ballets showed a complete cycle were women not only performed but even adorned male roles.
::A living legend
Padmabushan Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam Guru has become a legend to look upon with reverence for all times to come in the annals of Kuchipudi. With his arduous efforts to plant Kuchipudi firmly on the cultural map of India, Kuchipudi has spread its wings all over the globe erasing the boundaries of one country and one continent.
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