Kuchipudi Classical Dance

Kuchipudi is a Classical Indian dance from Andhra Pradesh, India. It is also popular all over South India. Kuchipudi derives its name from the village of Kuchelapuram, in Andhra. Kuchipudi is one such unique form of Art which is the tasteful blend of grace and vigour, elevation and sensuality, of control and abandon.

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.


Kuchipudi dancers are quicksilver and scintillating, rounded and fleet-footed, they perform with grace and fluid movements. Performed to classical Carnatic music, it shares many common elements with Bharatanatyam. In its solo exposition Kuchipudi numbers include 'jatiswaram' and 'tillana' whereas in nrityam it has several lyrical compositions reflecting the desire of a devotee to merge with God.

Beyond the stylistic differences of Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam steps, there are certain types of dances that are unique to Kuchipudi: Specifically there is the Tarangam which is unique in that t plate with two diyas (small oil-burning candles) in his or her hands while balancing a "kundi" (small vessel) containing water.

The dance styles in the state are based on the standard treatises, Abhinaya Darpana and Bharatarnava of Nandikeshwara, which is sub-divided into Nattuva Mala and Natya Mala. Nattuva Mala is of two types — the Puja dance performed on the Balipitha in the temple and the Kalika dance performed in a Kalyana Mandapam. Natya Mala is of three kinds — ritual dance for gods, Kalika dance for intellectuals and Bhagavatam for common place. The Natya Mala is a dance-drama performed by a troupe, consisting only of men, who play feminine roles.

Movements and music

The songs in Kuchipudi are mimed with alluring expressions, swift looks and fleeting emotions evoking the rasa. In Tarangam at times she places a pot full of water on her head and dances on the brass plate. The song accompanying this number is from the well known Krishna Leela Tarangini, a text which recounts the life and events of Lord Krishna

In expressional numbers a dancer sometimes chooses to enact the role of Satyabhama, the proud and self-assured queen of Lord Krishna, from the dance-drama Bhama Kalapam. She goes through various stages of love. When in separation from Lord Krishna, she recalls the happy days of union and pines for him. At last they are reunited when she sends him a letter.

One more number from the Kuchipudi repertoire that deserves mention is Krishna Shabdam, in which a milkmaid invites Krishna for a rendezvous in myriads of ways giving full scope for the dancer to display the charms of a woman

About the Living Legend (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.
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.
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. 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.

Kuchipudi dancers set a Guinness World Record

Over 2,800 Kuchipudi dancers, including 200-plus natyagurus created a Guinness World Records on December 26, 2010 performing Hindolam Thillana at the GMC Balayogi Stadium in Hyderabad.

The spectacular show performed by dancers from 15 countries and every state was staged in praise of Kuchipudi choreographer Siddhendhra Yogi. The 11-minutes programme was part of the concluding ceremony of the three-day second International Kuchipudi Dance Convention.

The chief guest, the President of India, Smt. Pratibha Patil, the governor of Andhra Pradesh, E.S.L. Narasimhan, and the chief minister, N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, congratulated the participants. Kuchipudi exponents Vempati Chinasatyam, Yamini Krishnamurthy, Raja Reddy Radha Reddy, and Sobha Naidu were felicitated by the president.

Rapturous applause filled the venue as the programme came to an end and a representative from Guinness World Records announced that she was speechless with the magnitude of the programme. Later, disciples of Raja Reddy Radha Reddy performed Devi Smriti invoking the goddess to remove people’s sufferings.