|Classical Dance Forms of India|
story of Siddhendra Yogi is the story of Kuchipudi. Once upon a time in
the 13th century, a young man called Siddhappa was on his way across the
river for his wedding when his boat capsized. On the verge of drowning, he
prayed for his life - which he pledged to God thereafter. As a yogi, he
wrote a drama in praise of Lord Krishna, to be performed by male dancers
in a style which had its roots in the Bhagavata Mela Natakam. A group
performed in this style at the court of a local nawab, and were given the
village of Kuchelapuram or Kuchipudi in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh,
from which the dance form gets its name, as a gift.
Kuchipudi was danced only by men. Krishna is generally the central figure
of any presentation, most often in drama form. Humour also plays a
prominent role and there is always a comic character in every performance.
It is believed that the style is, in fact, the most closely related to the
original Natya Shastra.
Kuchipudi performance could include
- the equivalent of an alarippu, with the directions, the stage, the
audience and the teachers and elders propitiated
But the highlight of a typical Kuchipudi performance is the Tarangam, where the dancer stands on the edge of a brass plate, balances a pot of water on her head and/or lighted diyas in her hands and moves through complex jatis.