down and selective use of the rib cage and torso has brought in almost a sea change in the execution of movements in Vempatiâ€™s training. This is evident in Nritya, as the basic constitute the form. As a result, one can observe a lot of difference in the very texture of the movement in his training.
Vempati also made an effort to formulate the basics in a standard format with logical groupings of the same. His training starts with simple steps followed by those that are grouped together. These groups have one common movement with various combinations. Thus we can see three caturasra groups, one tisra group, one khanda group, one misra group, and the ending which are set to sankirna and khanda gatis. Thus a dancer is attuned well to go further into complexities of movement in the following jatis.
In Vempatiâ€™s training, besides the traditional caturasra jaati jatis, there are jatis set to tisra gati, misra and khanda chapu talas and sankirna jaati. Each of the caturasra jatis are affixed and suffixed with proper entries and exits. These illustrate the use of the steps in the Nritta. Along side, the steps of the corresponding jaati are practiced before the jatis. This makes easy for the performer to follow the intricate patterns of nritta in the items.
In abhinaya, a judicious blend of natyadharmi with lokadharmi is what is the speciality of Guru Vempati. The lokadharmi which predominated Kuchipudi as it was a dance drama tradition, was very well used in his dance dramas. Vempati, besides choreographing new solo numbers, has also re-choreographed some of the traditional numbers by resetting them to accommodate the variations that he brought in Nritta and abhinaya in the form of sancharis and sattvika bhavas. Some examples of them are the Pravesa daruvu of Usha, Manduka Sabdam etcâ€¦ He has widened the repertoire of Kuchipudi by choreographing more than 250 solo items and extensively taking up the compositions of Dikshitar, Uttukaddu Venkata Subbayya, Annamacharya, Tulsidas, and other contemporary composers.
His dance dramas, set a trend in the arena of dance in independent India. His first dance drama, Ksheerasagara Madhanam, commissioned by Andhra Pradesh Sangeetha Nataka Academy, included the then stalwarts of Kuchipudi like Yamini Krishnamurthi, Vedantam Satyanarayana Sarma and many others. Suggestion in every aspect of movement, dÃ©cor, music and dance made his dance dramas different from the Yakshaganas of Kuchipudi. More importance to dance and setting it up suitably according to the mood, character and situation, with omission of dialogues that dominated Yakshaganas made his dance dramas appeal equally to both laity and the learned. His dance dramas, which number more than ten in total are each a masterpiece. Their subjects range from social to mythological. Among the social, a special mention should be made of his Chandalika based on Tagoreâ€™s work. Thus Guru Vempati is truly the colossus of Kuchipudi.
The decade of 1930â€™s could perhaps be called the period of renaissance in Indian dance. It gave a new lease of life to various classical dance forms of India. The period also witnessed the attempts made towards the reconstruction of various forms. One of the major initiatives in this