Monday, March 24, 2014

Indian Dance Forms 2: Kuchipudi


This famous classical form originated in the Kuchelapuri (modern Kuchipudi in Andhra Pradesh), as a dance drama with religious themes. Traditionally, Kuchipudi dance was performed solely by men hailing from the Brahmin community. Such families were known popularly as Bhagavathulu of Kuchipudi.

Basic features
The movements in Kuchipudi are quicksilver and scintillating, rounded and fleet-footed. Invariably accompanied by Carnatic music, it shares many features with Bharata Natyam. In its solo exposition Kuchipudi nrittanumbers include jatiswaram and tillana whereas in nritya it has several lyrical compositions reflecting a devotee’s yearning to merge with God – symbolizing the union of the soul with the Supreme Spirit.The songs are melodious and the facial expressions, with the swift looks and fleeting emotions evoking the various rasas. A special number in the Kuchipudi style of dancing is called tarangam, in which a female dancer balances herself on the rim of a brass plate and executes steps to the beat of a drum. At other times, she dexterously places a pitcher of water on her head and dances nimbly on the brass plate.
The song accompanying this number is a verse, recounting the life and activities of Lord Krishna. A highly popular presentation is the Krishna Shabdam, in which a milkmaid invites Krishna for a rendezvous, giving the danseuse full scope for displaying her feminine and physical charms through the medium of dance.

The graceful Kuchipudi
Costumes and ornaments

A long pleat in the centre with a border and a back kachcha (literally meaning: between the legs, a way of draping a sari or dhoti with a series of pleats in the front. The centre pleat is then drawn back through the legs and tucked into the waist, creating some kind of pants) along with a small side fan, comprises the typicalKuchipudi costume.Cross pleats are used for both Bharata Natyam and Kuchipudi, which is particularly suitable for the male dancers. Thick lines of black eyeliner/kajal/kohl, are applied to the eyes to make them appear longer and larger. The dancer applies red lipstick and blush. Other make-up is used for greater definition of the facial features. The female characters wear ornaments such as Rakudi on the head, Chandra Vanki on the arms,Kasina Sara, on the neck and a long plait studded with flowers and jewellery.

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