direction was consolidation of the practical and theoretical construct of the technique of dance. Concerted efforts were made by scholars to cull out the treasure of the age-old textual traditions of dance and the study of various dance treatises became imperative. Bharataâ€™s NatyaSastra, of theses treatises and the earliest text dealing with Angikabhinaya, Nandikeswaraâ€™s Abhinaya Darpana, became central to scholars. Written in Sanskrit, they were not accessible to the majority of gurus and performers who were handicapped by the language barrier. Translations of these texts in Sanskrit with commentaries were made both in English and the vernaculars. Works by Manomohan Ghosh, V. Raghavan, P.S.R. Appa Rao and several others made available the theoretical aspects of dance and its technique to the traditional practitioners and gurus.
The creative genius of many a guru was kindled who made a comparative study of the existing practices in their respective forms with the technical aspects incorporated in the classical texts. This scholarly exercise resulted in incorporating certain unknown or non-existing aspects into their practicing techniques.
The translation of Natyasastra into Telugu with copious references by P.S.R Appa Rao in 1959 enabled the gurus of Kuchipudi to obtain more insights into the detailed aspects of the treatise. Some tried to identify the hastas and some the basic major limb movements and some others the abhinaya aspects. A major attempt at identifying various practicing aspects of Kuchipudi with those found in Natyasastra was made by Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam. Besides incorporating a regular rendering and practice of the Hastabhinaya, including Nritta hasta-s, Vempati included the practice of Sthana-s, Cari-s and others. Cari-s, being the basic units of Nritta technique, are identified with some of the basic steps (adugulu) of Kuchipudi.
A Cari is defined by Bharata as a combined movement of the hip, thigh, shank and foot. It is generally the movement of a single foot (ekapada pracara). The cari forms one of the important units for Karanas and Angaharas. They are generally used in Nritta, movement (gati pracara), fighting (yuddha) and in the release of weapons. In Natya, only when a situation demands a suggestion of war or has a predominance of rhythm, Cari-s come into play.
The eleventh chapter of Bharataâ€™s Natyasastra explains thirty-two Cari-s. They are classified into two large groups on the basis of the nature of the movement. When the movement of the foot is largely on the ground, they are called Bhaumi (earthly) Cari-s and when above the ground Akasiki (arial) Cari-s. Each of these groups contains sixteen cari-s and together they are thirty-two in number.
Some ancient theoreticians like Nandikeshwara and Govindachari, who are later to Bharata, prescribed suitable hand movements for the Cari-s. In fact, Bharata himself explained a few Cari-s along with the hand movements: for example, the Bhaumi Cari-s, Janita and mattalli. Bharatarnava names the fifteen hasta-s, which can be used in the practice of Cari-s. Natyasastra Sangraha gives hand movements for Marga Bhaumi Cari-s and in the case of Marga Akasiki Cari-s; it says that the hand movements should be in accordance with the leg movement. Texts from Sangita Ratnakara onwards mentioned Desi Cari-s,