Kuchipudi is a classical dance form of South India.
It takes its name from a small village called Kuchipudi, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, where it was born.
Like all Indian classical dance forms, it is based on the Natya Shastra, a 2000 year-old treaty on dramatics, which gives a very precise and highly developed codification of dance, music and theater.
Kuchipudi has two important aspects : pure dance and expressive dance.
Pure dance is rhythmic and abstract.
The footwork executes the complex rhythmic patterns of the accompanying music, while the rest of the body, from the head to the tip of the fingers, follows, sometimes with forceful precision, sometimes with flowing, graceful movements.
Expressive dance, or abhinaya, is a narrative aspect where each part of the body is used to bring alive the text, poem or story, recited in the song.
The hand gestures – mudras – are codified into a very precise language.
The facial expressions are stylised so as to convey a wide range of complex and subtle sentiments and feelings.
The whole body comes alive to communicate the emotions which arise from the song.
Kuchipudi is a harmonious combination of these two aspects, alternating moments of pure dance, rhythmic, bright, vivacious, full of beauty and grace, and narrative moments based on the Hindu mythology, where the focus is on the use of gestures, facial expressions and body language.
The Kuchipudi performance is accompanied by a traditional, live orchestra comprising singing, flute, veena and percussions.
Through his dedication, talent and sheer hard work, Master Vempati Chinna Satyam renewed and restored a diluted and cruder form of Kuchipudi, forging a very personal and pure style.
Today, thanks to him, Kuchipudi occupies a privileged position among other Indian classical forms.
For more information :
Biography of Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam