Kuchipudi is one of the most popular classical dance traditions of India. It is perhaps the only tradition that takes its name from the village of its origin, Kuchipudi, located in Krishna District of Andhra Pradesh. Originating as a natyamela tradition this form was initially practiced exclusively by a group of vaidiki Brahmin men, having 15 different surnames.

The repertoire of Kuchipudi originally included both kalapas and yakshaganas. The kalapas had few characters with theme revolving around a single incident or character. Yakshaganas, in contrast had a complete story line involving several characters. The yakshaganas used popular literary genres of Telugu in their text. The most popular kalapa of Kuchipudi is Bhamakalapam.

During the 20th century, which saw India’s struggle for independence and the consequent formation of independent India and its linguistic provinces, Kuchipudi, like several other classical dance forms underwent changes. Significant among them are (i) entry of women into the form, (ii) widening of its social base when people from other than the traditionally practicing families started learning the form, (iii) emergence of the present day dance dramas and a strong solo repertoire, and (iv) consolidation of its teaching methods through institutionalized training.

When compared with other Indian classical dances, Kuchipudi stands apart in several aspects. It is basically a dance drama evolved into solo. Thus has a rich repertoire of Kalapas, Yakshaganas, dance dramas and solos. In its technique, the movement patterns are flowy and rounded. There is an ingredient sway of the torso and ribcage. Angularity in any movement is absent. The ease with which movements are executed brings a natural grace to the Nritta aspect of Kuchipudi.

The abhinaya aspect of Kuchipudi is unique for it combines both the stylistic (Natya) and the realistic (loka) ways of expression. With a wide variety of character and theme portrayals, the solos stand apart. The sancharis are exploited to the maximum, and narration and elaboration of a story is brought in whenever there is an opportunity.

One of the well -known solo numbers of Kuchipudi is Tarangam. This number has a very interesting execution of the Nritta, wherein the dancer stands on the rim of a brass plate and interweaves several rhythmic variations. This is to show the prowess of the dancer over rhythm.

In the past two decades due to the effort of Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam and his creative genius in adapting the codes of Natya Sastra in the pure dance, viz, Caris, Sthanakas, Karanas, etc, one can observe a wide variety of movement patterns emerging in the Nritta aspects of Kuchipudi thus making it much stronger.

Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam, the colossus of Kuchipudi dance form has played a pivotal role in the rejuvenation and spread of the form. His contributions are significant for it breathed a new lease of life into the form, which was at a point of time, was at the verge of receding into oblivion. It was the time after Independence when almost all the cream of Kuchipudi dancers and Gurus were lured into cinema world

(His approachand contribution to Kuchpudi)