Definition - What does Kuchipudi mean?

Kuchipudi is a classical Indian dance known for its dramatic nature and distinctive for its use of speech and singing. It is named after the village, Kuchelapuram, in the Krishna district in South India. According to legend, the dance was founded by an orphan called Siddhendra Yogi.

A typical Kuchipudi dance combines music, dancing and acting to present a scene from a Hindu scripture, myth or legend. It includes worship rituals and invocations of the gods and goddesses, devotion being the key element in the choreography of the dance. The purpose of Kuchipudi is to emphasize bhakti, which is the worship and devotion toward the Hindu gods, and to connect devotees and deities through dance.

Yogapedia explains Kuchipudi

Although Kuchipudi was originally performed by men of high caste only, nowadays most of the dancers are women. The dance is a poetic presentation of different moods and feelings, shown by rhythmic patterns, mudras (hand gestures), facial expressions and expressive eye and eyebrow movements.

The three fundamental parts of Kuchipudi dance are nritta (pure rhythmical dance), nritya (interpretative dance) and natya (drama). It is the only classical Indian dance that incorporates dialogue and acting, and is accompanied by carnatic music and musical instruments like the mridangam, flute, tambura and violin.

The simplest and most important goal of this dance is to invoke immortal joy and bring one nearer to the path of salvation.

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