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Kuchipudi

Kuchipudi, the indigenous style of dance of Andhra Pradesh took its birth and effloresced in the village of the same name, originally called Kuchelapuri or Kuchelapuram, a hamlet in Krishna district. From its origin, as far back as the 3rd century BC, it has remained a continuous and living dance tradition of this region. The genesis of Kuchipudi art as of most Indian classical dances is associated with religions. For a long time, the art was presented only at temples and that too only for annual festivals of certain temples in Andhra. According to tradition, only men originally performed this dance and they all belonged to the Brahmin community. Their programs were offerings to the deities and they never allowed women in their groups. In an era of the degeneration of dance due to exploitation of female dancers, an ascetic, Siddhendra Yogi redefined the dance form. In the late 18th century women were introduced and the dance form got refined.

The transition has been great from a time when men played female parts to the present when women play even the male parts. The most popular Kuchipudi dance is the pot dance in which a dancer keeps a pot filled with water on her head and feet kept on a brass plate. She moves on the stage manipulating the brass plate, with the feet kept on its rim and doing some hand movements without spilling a drop of water on the ground thus astounding the audience. The make up and costumes are characteristic of the art. There is nothing elaborate in the costumes and the makeup is not so heavy. The important characters have different make up and the female characters wear ornaments and jewellery and a long plait decorated with flowers. Today Kuchipudi has undergone many changes. The present day dancers having advanced training in this style, present this art in their own various individual ways.

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