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Andhra Pradesh

Dance & Music




'Kollattam' or the stick dance is one of the most popular dance narratives in Andhra Pradesh. It is also called as Kolannalu or Kolkolannalu. A rural art usually performed during village festivals, kolattam is a combination of rhythmic movements, songs and music.  It is known as Dandia ras in Gujrat, Garbha in Rajasthan etc. The Kolatam group comprises of dancers in the range of 8 to 40. In kolattam, performed by 8 to 40 artists grouped in pairs, The stick provides the main rhythm. The artists lead by the leader move into two circles, the inner circle receiving the strikes while the outer circle delivering them. Kolatam offers a great variety of entertainment to the spectators as well as the participants.




Puli Vesham

This is an open air performance usually enacted during Dasara or Moharrum in villages and during festivals in towns.The costume and makeup of the Puli Vesham is complicated. The body of the person who plays tiger is smeared with yellow paint with bold black stripes. The Puli Vesham is a dance performed by two, the hunter and the hunted. It is one of the most popular dance forms in Andhra Pradesh and variations are seen throughout South India. Both the Hindus and the Muslims  participate in this performance with full zest and spirit.

  The dance is supplemented with musical instruments.  Two participants perform the dance. One plays the role of a tiger and the other of an archer.  The dance usually starts with the 'tiger' jumping and marching to the rhythm of drum-beats. 

The entire atmosphere becomes hilarious  with the children watching the fun with awe and fear and the elders with excitement and thrill.



Kuchipudi - The Divine Dance Form

Andhra Pradesh is associated with the divine dance form, as it were, 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. Kuchipudi has always been an inherent and inseparable part of the Andhra tradition. The genesis of Kuchipudi art as of most Indian  classical dances is associated with religions. It is famous for its grace, elegance and charm. It was Abdul Tana Shah, the grand nephew of Sultan Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah of the Qutb Shahi dynasty. Kuchipudi is a perfect balance between three aspects- Nritta, Nritya and Natya.
According to tradition, Kuchipudi dance was originally performed only by men and they all belonged to the Brahmain community.These Brahmain families were known popularly as Bhagavathalu of Kuchipudi. A very charming form of abhinaya is the satvikabhinaya which includes three steps. It begins with facial expressions and eye movements, followed by hand gestures and eventually movements of the entire body. 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. Kuchipudi plays are enacted in the open air and on improvised stages. Kuchipudi, the dainty dance form of Andhra Pradesh is profoundly aesthetic and the experience of watching it live is most exhilarating and cannot be expressed in words !!




The Perini Thandavam is an aesthetically performed male dance of the warriors. The warriors performed this powerful dance in front of the idol of Nataraja or Lord Shiva, before they left for the battlefield. The kings of the Kakatiya dynasty in Warangal patronized this form. The sculptures of the Ramappa Temple at Warangal throw considerable light on this delightful male dance form. This dance is performed to the accompaniment of the beat of the drums.Although the Perini dance form almost disappeared after the decline of the Kakatiya dynasty, the renaissance of the dance form was brought about by the doyen of Andhra Natyam, Nataraja Ramakrishna. In short, Perini Tandavam has both spiritual and artistic significance.

Andhra Natyam

Andhra Natyam is a classical dance form the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is a style that became extinct but was revived in the 20th century. It is derived from the general soup of south Indian dance forms. Therefore, it shows strong similarities to such forms as Kuchipudi, and Bharat Natyam, as well as the older forms of Dasi Attam, Kacheri Attam, Chinna Melam, and a host of others. This was a spiritual dance form. The dances performed in royal courts to the accompaniment of classical music were called Carnatakam. This was an intellectual art form. The other kind of dance form Darbari Aatam, appealed more to the commoners and educated them about their religion, culture and social life. These dances were performed outside the temple precincts in the courtyards. Each group had a coterie of dancers and those who resided in the temple premises did not go to the court of kings or zamindars to dance. The dance form of Andhra Natyam was initially known by different names - Kacheri Aatam, Kelika, Daasi Aatam, Chinna Melam, Nattuva Melam, Carnatakam and so on.  Originally it was a temple dance performed by devadasis as a form of worship. In the days of yore, wherever there was a temple, there was some form of dance associated with the region. These dance forms were categorised into three kinds - Agama Nartanam, Carnatakam and Darbari Aatam. There are a number of unresolved questions concerning Andhra Natyam. Is it really a distinct dance form, or is it just another flavour of the Kuchipudi / Bharat Natyam tradition? How rigorous was the scholarship in its reconstruction? Can we assign an age that extends back further than its reconstruction? Is it even possible to reconstruct a tradition, especially in a near absence of reliable documentation? It is unfortunate that these questions are being answered according to political agendas, and not according to valid academic and artistic criteria.







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