Kuchipudi (Koochipoodi) is a Classical Indian dance form from Andhra Pradesh, India. It is also popular all over South India. Kuchipudi is the name of a village in the Divi Taluka of Krishna district that borders the Bay of Bengal and with resident Brahmins practicing this traditional dance form, it acquired the present name.

The performance usually begins with some stage rites, after which each of the character comes on to the stage and introduces him/herself with a daru (a small composition of both song and dance) to introduce the identity, set the mood, of the character in the drama. The drama then begins. The dance is accompanied by song which is typically Carnatic music. The singer is accompanied by mridangam (a classical South Indian percussion instrument), violin, flute and the tambura (a drone instrument with strings which are plucked). Ornaments worn by the artists are generally made of a light weight wood called Boorugu.

Kuchipudi dancers are quicksilver and scintillating, rounded and fleet-footed. Performed to classical Carnatic music, it shares many common elements with Bharatanatyam. In its solo exposition Kuchipudi numbers include ‘jatiswaram’ and ’tillana’ whereas in nritya 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 of Kuchipudi which is unique in that the dancer must dance upon a brass plate, placing the feet upon the raised edges. The dancer moves the plate with much balance as the indiviudal is traditionally dancing on the plate with two diyas (small oil-burning candles) in his or her hands while balancing a “kundi” (small vessel) containing water on their head. At the end of the dance, typically, the dancer extinguishes the candles and washes his or her hands with the water from the vessel.

There are also subtle differences in the costumes of both types of dances. Generally, Bharatanatyam dresses have three fans of differing heights that form the illusion of the spreading pleats of a sari. However, in Kuchipudi there is typically only one fan which tends to be longer than the longest of the three fans present on Bharatanatyam dresses.

The 20th Karana is very often used in Kuchipudi dance. Apart from six padabhedas, Kuchipudi dancers also use some adugulu or adavus traditional to this school: Chaukam, Katteranatu, Kuppi Adugu, Ontaduvu, Jaraduvu, Pakkanatu

Kuchipudi, a blend of music and abhinaya, is Andhra Pradesh’s unique contribution to dance.

The dance styles in the State are based on the standard treatises, viz. 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.Nattuva Mala is of three kinds, viz. 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

Kuchipudi Dancers Set World Guinness Record
Over 2,800 Kuchipudi dancers, including 200-plus natyagurus created a Guinness Book of World record 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 staged as part of the concluding ceremony of the three-day 2nd International Kuchipudi Dance Convention.

The Chief Guest of the Event President of India, Smt.Pratibha Patil, the Governor of Andhra Pradesh , Mr E.S.L. Narasimhan, and the Chief Minister, Mr N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, congratulated the participants.

Rapturous applause filled the venue as the programme came to an end and a representative of the Guinness Book of World Records announced that she was speechless with the magnitude of the programme.

Kuchipudi exponents Vempati Chinasatyam, Yamini Krishnamurthy, Raja Reddy Radha Reddy, and Sobha Naidu were felicitated by the President.

Later, disciples of Raja Reddy Radha Reddy performed Devi Smriti invoking the goddess to remove people’s sufferings.

Mr Kiran Kumar Reddy who had announced an assistance of 25 lakh Rupees on the Inaugural Day, handed over a cheque for the amount to the Union minister of state for Human Resources Development, Smt. Daggubati Purandeswari.

Well known people in this tradition

  • Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam
  • Guru P. V. Bharani Shenkar (“Nrityakala Thapaswi”, “Natyakala Prapoorna”,Guru P. V. Bharani Shenkar National Second Generation Guru for Kuchipudi Tradition), Honoured by the Central Sangeeth Natak Akademi, New Delhi.)
  • Anurag Deb(Ayush- Paglu Chhaglu Maharaj)Kolkata,west bengal
  • Debasis Pradhan(botu maharaj)kolkata,west bengal
  • Guru :- Bhagavathula Yagna Narayana Sarma.
  • Guru Jayarama Rao and Vanashree Rao
  • Srinivasa Rao Ravi
  • Vedantam Lakshminarayana
  • Dr. Uma Rama Rao
  • Tadepalli Perayya
  • Chinta Krishna Murthy
  • Vedantam Sathya Narayana Sarma
  • Dr. Korada Narasimha RaoOne should remember Guru C R Acharyulu also,a receipient of Sangeeta Natak Academy award,served long at “DARPANA DANCE ACADEMY”,Ahmedabad established by Ms Mrinalini Sarabhai,who taught many artists including Ms Asha Parekh.
  • Guru Bala Kondala Rao
  • Guru Bhagavathula Venkata Rama Sarma
  • P.B Krishna Bharathi
  • Pasumarthi Venu Gopala Krishna Sarma
  • Dr.Raja Radha Reddy
  • swagath kuchipiudi
  • Sobha Naidu,
  • Mahamkali Surya Narayana Sarma,
  • Dr. Yashoda Thakore
  • Vijayapal Pathloth
  • Vamshee Krishna Varma
  • Mallika Ramprasad
  • Indira Sreeram Dixith

Ravi Vempati, Sasikala Penumarthi, Kamala Reddy, Vanaja Ayyalaraju Dasika, SandhyaSree Athamkuri, Sarada Jammi, Anuradha Nehru, Himabindu Challa, Yamini Saripalli

The prominence of Kuchipudi dance form is not limited to India alone. There are now a number of popular Kuchipudi teachers, choreographers and dancers in North America, United Kingdom, Australia and many parts of the world.

Source: Wikipedia