Kuchipudi, one of seven main classical dance forms of India, combine fast rhythms and fluid movements creating a nice blend of control and abandon, strength and delicacy.
Archeological evidence and literature trace the origins of Kuchipudi to the 2nd century B.C., but little is known about who shaped and propagated the art form, until the 14th century. Many of Kuchipudi’s distinctive features as we know it today, have been traced to the innovations introduced by the brilliant scholar, performer and dancer, Siddhendra Yogi, who lived in the 14th century. He had inherited an all female dance form that had fallen into grave disrepute. Siddhendra Yogi, through hard training of young Brahmin boys and dedication, succeeded in rejuvenating Kuchipudi. For the next six centuries, Kuchipudi became established as an all male dance tradition.
Another towering figure in Kuchipudi was Vedantam Lakshminarayana Shastri of the 20th century who once again changed its direction. He moved from the little village of Kuchipudi, from which this art form takes its name, to the larger metropolis of Chennai, a major center for art and culture in India. His talent and brilliance was immediately recognized. He introduced women to Kuchipudi and choreographed several solo dances, which have become part of the Kuchipudi repertoire today.
His student and today’s foremost exponent of Kuchipudi, is Guru Vempati Chinnasatyam. He has further popularized Kuchipudi worldwide. His choreography is known for its creativity, polish, refinement and complexity.