by Tirumala Narayanacharyalu, Sashirekha Parinaya and others.
     In a Kuchipudi performance, at the beginning, each principal character
starts with an introduction itself on the stage with a daru. A daru is a small
composition of dance and song specially designed for each character to help
him or her reveal his or her identity and also to show the performer"s skill in
the art. The main Kuchipudi performance could include Rangapuja—the
equivalent of an alarippu, with the directions, the stage, the audience and the
teachers and elders propitiated; Kautvamu—jatis and lyrics in praise of a
deity; Jatiswaram—pure dance set to musical syllables; Shabdamu—a lyrical
piece in praise of god or royalty; Kirtanam—an expressional piece, generally
composed by saint-poets; Ashtapadi—another expressional piece derived
from Jayadeva"s Geet Govinda and Shivalila Natyam—stories about the Lord
of Dance in his various forms. Padam, Javali, Simhanandini, Shloka and
Tillana may also feature.
     But the highlight of a typical Kuchipudi performance is the Tarangam,
where the dancer stands on the edge of a brass plate, balances a pot of water
on her head and/or lighted diyas in her hands and moves through complex
jatis. The music in Kuchipudi is classical Carnatic. The mridangam, violin
and a clarinet are the most common accompanying instruments. Famous
exponents of Kuchipudi are: Vempatti Satyanarayana, Chinna Krishna
Murthy, Yamini Krishnamurthy, Swapna Sundari, Radha and Raja Reddy,
Vedamtam Satyam, Sitaramaiya and Sarla Kumari.
The origin of the word Kathak is "Katha", which literally means "story". In
ancient times, storytellers used song and dance to adorn their narration. This
took the form of Kathakalakshepam and Harikatha in southern India, and the
form of Kathak in the north. In the beginning Kathak was very similar to the
Bharatanatyam. However, around the 15th century, the dance form underwent
a drastic transition due to the influence of the Mughal tradition. This gave it a
distinct Hindu–Muslim texture. It gradually got altered from a temple dance
to a piece for entertainment in the courts of kings. Traditionally danced by
both men and women, what distinguished Kathak from other dance forms are
its spontaneity, freedom from uniformity and the room for innovation and