In the Dasarupaka, an ancient text on Dramaturgy by Dhananjaya, 10 forms of drama are identified: Natakam, Anka, Vyayoga, Bana, Samavakara, Veedhi, Prahasanam, Dimam, Ihamgriya. Out of these Veedhiform clearly corresponds to the format of the Kuchipudi dance drama, specially Bhamakalapam. The word Veedhi has been incorrectly assumed as referring to street even though that is the more popular interpretation. Veedhi here means ‘conversation through dance’ and is divided into 5 categories each of which can be formed in Bhama. These five categories are udghatyakam or sending some one loved and closely related on a mission, usually of the romantic kind. Avalagetam or posing a question, Avaspanditam or questioning indirectly, Nalika (Prahelika) orï»¿ describing a person or object humorously and Asatpralapam or needlessly expanding and elaborating the matter in hand. Kuchipudi very neatly falls into this classification and can therefore be included among the classical styles. Bharat Muni, in the first two chapters of his Natya Sashtra made a list of the essentials, like Purva Ranga Pooja, the hoisting of Indra’s flag, the Nandi stuti, Pari Parsvakas, the Kutilika, etc. Which are still in vogue in Kuchipudi system. As one pursues the instructions pertaining to the performance and presentations of dance-dramas one realizes that there is a close link between these and the rules governing Kuchipudi in its present form.
In its technical aspects also Kuchipudi meticulously follows the rules laid down in the Natya Sastra as, for example for the six PADABHEDAS, mentioned in the 10th chapter, verse 253: Udghattita, Sama, Agratala-Sanchara, Anchita, Kunchita and Suchi.
The 67 Hasta-mudras, which include 13 Samyuta, 24 Asamyuta and 32 Nrittahastas, as mentioned in chapter 9, verses 3-17 in the Natya Sastra, are all to be found in Kuchipudi, also the 108 Karanas and also the Charis and Mandala are part of the Kuchipudi repertoire. In chapter 4 of the Natya Sastra, the verse defining a Karana is precisely applicable to Kuchipudi in all its technical details.
In accordance with the imperative of classical dance, Kuchipudi is evenly balanced between the three aspects of dance: Nritta, Nritya and Natya without one element overshadowing another.
Each and every Kuchipudi performance is illustrative of this fact. The Jathis or rhythmic sequences punctuating or concluding a verse or song are nritta. The Sabdams in which an interpretative line alternates with a rhythmic passage are nritya, while the dance dramas depicting a continuous story with a number of characters are natya. This kind of complete and clear-cut classifications is not found in the other classical styles of India.
The four aspects of abhinaya, i.e., Angika, Vachika, Aharya and Satvika are also to be found in ample measure in Kuchipudi style. Rasaprakarana or the delineation of the appropriate sentiment is done with these four elements of abhinaya. While angika and aharya are performed in a manner not very different from the other classical styles, the use of vachika abhinaya is a special feature of the Kuchipudi style. The dancer not merely dance, but also acts with gestures as well as words. And towards this end he has o train his voice also in order to project it properly in the improvised theatres. As already mentioned, through training in music is part of the curriculum. The Kuchipudi artiste should learn to sing with his voice, interpret the meaning of the song with his gestures, express the sentiments with face and eyes and echo the rhythm with his feet. Satvikabhinaya is also taught to the students with great care and diligence. While the eyes become the mirror of the soul, the face becomes a veritable playground of varied emotions which being natural and spontaneous evokes instant response from the audience.
The Kuchipudi style is a dance drama based on classical treatise on the subject, particularly Bharata’s Natya Sastra. Conforming to the principles laid down in the Natya Sastra the Kuchipudi style has some distinctive features.(Any number of example s can be cited). Adugulu or Adavus and Pravesika Daruvu are among the significantly symbolic elements typical in Kuchipudi. Form time immemorial, there have been two parallel schools of dance: Nattuva Mela and Natya Mele. The first with a devotional purpose performed in temples by devadasis and type second intended for special occasions in the temples such as festivals, rituals, ceremonies etc., for the benefit of pilgrims. Though the difference between the two disciplines their root is the same; Bhatata’s