Similar to other Indian Classical Dances, it originated from the famous essay on theatrical Indian Arts: the “Nātyaśāstra” (200 B.C.). As the most ancient text and authority on theater theory, it included a wide range of topics; from set design to the music, gestures, and even the proper use of the dancer’s make-up and costumes.
Kuchipudi involves symbolic hand movements (MUDRA), evocative facial, eye and eyebrow expressions (ABHINAYAM), as well as intricate and complex footwork that enables the performer not only to be a dancer, but a type of drummer as well.
The dance Initially was only performed by males belonging to the Brahmin cast, and it was seen as a worship to the God Vishnu, and was later extended to the other divine and increasingly popular personification of Vishnu, Krishna.
The purpose of these dances was to accentuate the cult of “BHAKTI”, the pure and unconditional devotion towards the Gods of the Hindu mythology, and to establish a direct connection between devotees and deities, through the channel of dance.
Having been recognized from an early age as a dance prodigy, SathyaPriya Ramana began her Kuchipudi training at the age of 8 under the tutelage of her guru Vempati Chinna Sathyam.
She taught at the “Kuchipudi Art Academy” for several years, as well as performing internationally with them in over 1.000 programs.
In 1993 she started her own school, NARTHANA SAALA, in the centre of Chennai.
Since then, she has trained students in India, US, Germany, Italy and Australia.
Vempati Chinna Satyam
Guru Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam dedicated his life to preserving and promoting Kuchipudi throughout India and all over the world.
A charismatic performer, a brilliant choreographer and an inspiring teacher; he has been mainly responsible for the revival of Kuchipudi dance after India’s Independence.
Vempati Chinna Satyam was born in 1929 into a traditional family of dancers in the village of Kuchipudi, Andhra Pradesh. Following the centuries old tradition of the village families, Vempati began dancing from a very early age.
He was intensely eager to popularize this art form, and with this burning desire he left his native village at the age of 18 and moved to Madras, the cultural capital of South India(Chennai).
With the single pointed vision of establishing Kuchipudi as a recognized, purely classical art form, Vempati Chinna Satyam founded the Kuchipudi Art Academy in Madras in 1963, which has trained thousand of students over the years.
Possessing a deep knowledge of the Natya Sastra, he elevated Kuchipudi to a highly classical dance form. By refining movements he considered outdated and unpolished, he also established a structured syllabus for students to learn the art form.
With his personal creativity, imagination, perfectionism and aesthetic approach he created beautiful solo choreographies and dance dramas that combined both the grace and vigor of Kuchipudi (Nritta, Nritya) with the dramatic elements (Natya).