Kuchipudi Indian Classical Dance

The Nawab, being highly impressed, gifted the village of Kuchipudi to the artists with the promise that they would continue the tradition of performing. From that day onwards all the male scions of the Kuchipudi village have pursued this art.The hereditary art of Kuchipudi dancing was the special preserve of the Brahmin families, known as Bhagavathalu of Kuchipudi, with occasional interaction with the devotional dance forms of the temples and other Indian Schools of Dancing.

As a dance form, Kuchipudi can best be understood as located between Odissi (traditional dance form of Orissa, India) and Bharatnatyam (Classical dance form of Tamil Nadu, India). Kuchipudi blends the sensuousness and fluidity of Odissi with the geometric line of Bharatnatyam, and evolves in a manner of its own. As in all the classical dance styles of India, the dance is both interpretive and lyrical. Kuchipudi dance retains its devotional character with an emphasis on dramatic expression. The Kuchipudi dance drama tradition is regarded as the closest to the Sanskrit theatrical tradition followed in Bharata's Natya Shastra.

Originating out of the Bhakti Cult, Kuchipudi is unique among the Indian classical dance styles. It uses fast rhythmic footwork and sculpturesque body movements. Stylised mime, using hand gestures and subtle facial expression, is combined with more realistic acting, occasionally including dialogues spoken by the dancers. Traditionally, Kuchipudi was performed as a dance drama based on scriptures and mythology, and the portrayal of certain characters is a central motif of this dance form. Another unique feature of Kuchipudi is the Tarangam, in which the performer dances on the edges of a brass plate, deftly executing complicated rhythmic patterns, while sometimes also balancing a pot of water on the head. Kuchipudi is accompanied by Carnatic music. A typical orchestra for a Kuchipudi recital includes the mridangam, flute and violin. A vocalist sings the lyrics, and the nattuvanar conducts the orchestra and recites the rhythmic patterns.

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