facial expressions. Everything in this dance
The costume is usually white or off-white in colour, similar to a sari.
Adornments include various ornaments, ankle bells and garlands of jasmine
in the hair. The style of vocal music is classical Carnatic. The lyrics
composed by Maharaja Swati Tirunal and Irayimman Thampi are in
Manipravala (a mixture of Sanskrit and Malayalam). Famous Exponents of
Mohiniattam are: Kalamandalam Kalyaniamma, Krishna Panicker, Madhavi
Amma and Chinnammu Amma.
Kuchipudi village in Andhra Pradesh lends its name to this dance form and
hence it is called the Kuchipudi. Ever since its origin in the 3rd century BC, it
has remained a continuous and living dance tradition of this region. For a
long time, Kuchipudi was presented only at temples and that too only for
annual festivals of certain temples in Andhra Pradesh. It was actually a
ritualistic performance full of religious fervor and devotion. Generated by the
Bhakti cult, Kuchipudi has imbibed elements both from Bharatanatyam and
folk forms. If traditions are to be believed, Kuchipudi dance was originally
performed only by men who all belonged to the Brahmin community, known
popularly as Bhagavathalu of Kuchipudi.
Their performances were to make offerings to the deities and they never
allowed women in their groups. Kuchipudi was conceptualized as a dance
drama requiring a set of character and never as a mere dance by a soloist
which is common in present times. This dance drama is sometimes known as
Ata Bhagavatham. Renowned gurus like Vedantam Lakshminarayana, Chinta
Krishna Murthy and Tadepalli Perayya made superior contribution to the
dance form by bringing in women. Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam added
several dance dramas and choreographed many solo performances, thus
broadening the horizons of this dance form. Today Kuchipudi is considerably
a different dance style and, in most cases, it is a solo performance done by
female dancers, just opposite of what it was at the beginning.
However, the main expressional numbers are somewhat the same like
Jayadeva"s Ashtapadi, the Ramayana, the Puranas, Krishna Leela Tarangini
or Tyagaraja"s compositions. In Bhama Kalapam, the most famous play in the
Kuchipudi repertory, Satyabhama is the heroine who is deceived by her lover