The Dance Drama Forms popular in Konaseema of Godavari Districts
Kuchipudi is variation of one of the classical forms of India, named after the village of its origin in Krishna Distruct of Andhra Pradesh.
The performance starts with stage rites followed by dharavuto introduce the story and the characters. Then the drama begins, accompanied by song composed in Carnatic music. The singer is accompanied by violin, mridangam violin, tambura and flute.Kuchipudi dances are depicted graceful with fuild movements. There are several expositions- 'jatiswaram' , 'tillana' or nrityam. The composition of Tarangamare unique to this dance form. The Natya Mala is a dance-drama performed by a troupe, consisting only of men, who play feminine roles.
The songs in Kuchipudi are mimed with alluring expressions, swift looks and fleeting emotions evoking the rasa. In Tarangam at times she places a pot full of water on her head and dances on the brass plate. The song accompanying this number is from the well-known Krishna LeelaTarangini, a text which recounts the life and events of Lord Krishna
In expressional numbers a dancer sometimes chooses to enact the role of Satyabhama, the proud and self-assured queen of Lord Krishna, from the dance-drama BhamaKalapam. She goes through various stages of love. When in separation from Lord Krishna, she recalls the happy days of union and pines for him. At last they are reunited when she sends him a letter.
One more number from the Kuchipudi repertoire that deserves mention is Krishna Shabdam, in which a milkmaid invites Krishna for a rendezvous in myriads of ways giving full scope for the dancer to display the charms of a woman.
VilasiniNatyam is dance tradition of deva dasisin Andhra Pradesh. It faced near extinct after anti-deva dasi act and fortunately revived by few remaining dancers. It is yet to receive Indian Classial Dance status.It has been a popular dance form of the Konaseema temples from 15th century onwards.
Burrakatha is the modern version of the older theatre art ‘Jangam Katha’ and is a oral story telling technique in the Katha tradition, performed in villages of Coastal Andhra. "Burra" is referred to tambura, a musical string instrument with a hollow shell. "Katha" means story.
The troupe consists of one main performer and two co-performers. It is a narrative entertainment that consists of prayers, solo drama, dance, songs, poems and jokes. The topic will be either a Hindu mythological story or a contemporary social issue. The main storyteller (kathakudu) narrates the story playing tambura and dances to music. The co-performers plays gummeta (also called dakki or budike), earthen drums with two heads.
The right side performer-hasyakaacts as a joker and the left performer-rajakiyatalks about politics and social issues. The main performer and co-performers constantly address each other. The co-performers interrupt the kathakudu with doubts, and they sometimes add emphasis to the main events in the story with short words similar to "Wow!" "Aha!" and "That it it." Whenever the main performer sings a song, he or she starts with "vinaraveera kumara veeragadhavinara" followed by the co-performers singing "tandhanatanetandhanana."
Veeranatyam is an old form of dance with religious significance…This vigorous dance form is also known as Veerangam and VeerabhadraNrityam. The term ‘Veera’ means brave. It was a localised origin at Draksharama, a town in the heart of Konaseema, in East Godavari district.
The illustration of Veeranatyam is found in Hindu Mythology. The humiliation of Sati Devi by her father Daksha infuriated. Lord Shiva, outraged at the humiliation met by his consort. He is believed to have portrayed out His extreme anger by performing a vigorous dance; thus justifying the name Veeranatyam. It was the dance of ‘Pralayam’ or Destruction. The angry destructive Shiva or the ‘Pralayankar’ in the ferocity of rage tarnished the ‘DakshayagnaVatika’, the place where the function was held. During the dance, Lord Shiva picked out a relic out of His hair or ‘Jatajuta’, which created Veerabhadra. The Veerabhadriya (Veeramusti community, changed its name recently from Veeramusti to Veerabhadriya) which claims to be the descendant of Veerabhadra, performs this vigorous dance with instruments like Tambura, Soolam, Dolu, Tasha and Veeranam usually at Draksharamam in East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh, which is believed to be Dakshavatika, the birthplace of Veerabhadra.
The first stage "VeerabhadraPallem", holding a huge plate carried from the palms to the elbows bearing a camphor fire. The dance goes on vigorously to the tempo of several percussion instruments until the fire is extinguished. Part of this ceremony consists of the ‘Khadgalu’ recital, where a pujari brandishes a long sword representing that of Veerabhadra. The second stage lies in holding a long consecrated pole, marked with Vibhuti (sacred ash) representing the ‘DhwajaSthamba’ of the Lord with bells tied to the top. In the third stage the performers dance with spears and tridents pierced into their ankles, hands and tongue. This is called ‘Narasam’. The dancers are dressed in colorful knee-length dhotis secured by waist-sashes smeared with vibhuti all over their body. The main percussion instrument is the ‘Veeranam’ or ‘war-drum’.
Veeranatyam initially started as a ritual that was performed in all the Shiva or the shaivite temples in honour of Lord Shiva.Dressed in colorful ‘Dhotis’ and ‘Dattis’ the dancers perform Veerabhadra. To the rhythm of drumbeats, the dancers perform the dance of destruction. Veerabhadra dancer holds veerakhadgam (sword) dances in synchronisation to words called 'Dhandakas' chanted by the other dancers beating simultaneously veerabhadrapallem, which is similar to war cry to challenge enemy, veerabhadra dance is very furious and expresses high degree of emotions.
A typical folk dance form, popular in Tanuku of West Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh, ButtaBommalu which literally means basket toys are made of woodhusk, dry grass and cow dung. Each dancer wears a different mask over the head and shoulders enlarging the scope of the performer and dances to a nonverbal rhythm which adds colour to the movements.
TholuBommalatais a form of puppetry which originated in the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.  It mainly depicts episodes from the epics. Puppets are large with jointed waist, shoulders, elbows and knees. The classical music of the region influences the music played in the show.
Made of goatskin, a tambourine-like drum is beaten with sticks creating a rhythm that is softened only by the ankle bells that the 16 to 20 dancers wear. Part of a Telangana custom which sees the Dappu dancers at the front of any procession, whether it be for jataras, festivals or marriages, this is truly a celebration of the percussive powers of dance. This lively art form hails from Nizamabad District. The performers wear colorful make-up and even more colorful costumes dance to the musical patterns set by cymbals, tabla and a harmonium. Mythological themes are usually enacted and the audience are the rurals.
Popular in Srikakulam and Vizianagaram Districts, this is a devotional dance which invokes the Rain God with its vigour, rhythm and tempo. Also performed during festivals, the dance sees 15 to 20 vibrant artists with drums around their necks creating mesmerising beats and heartstopping acrobatics.Kolatam
'Kolatam', or the stick dance, is one of the most popular dance narratives in Andhra Pradesh. It is also called as Kolannalu or Kolkolannalu. A rural art usually performed during village festivals, kolatam is a combination of rhythmic movements, songs and music. It is known as Dandiaras in Gujarat, Garbha in Rajasthan, etc. The Kolatam group comprises dancers in the range of 8 to 40. In kolatam, performed by 8 to 40 artists grouped in pairs, the stick provides the main rhythm. The artists led by the leader move into two circles, the inner circle receiving the strikes while the outer circle delivering them. Kolatam offers a great variety of entertainment to the spectators as well as the participants.
Harikatha (lit. "stories of the Lord"), otherwise called Katha Kalakshepa is a form of Hindu religious discourse, also known as Katha storytelling format, in which the story teller explores a religious theme, usually the life of a saint or a story from an Indian epic.Harikatha is a composite art form composed of story telling, poetry, music, drama, dance, and philosophy. In Hindu mythology, the first Harikatha singer was sage Narada who sang for Vishnu, other prominent singers were Lava and Kusha twin sons of Rama, who sang the Ramayana in his court at Ayodhya.
Telugu Harikatha originated in Coastal Andhra during the 19th century. HarikathaKalakshepam is most prevalent in Andhra even now along with Burrakatha. Haridasus going round villages singing devotional songs is an age-old tradition during Dhanurmaasam preceding Sankranti festival.
Harikatha involves the narration of a story, intermingled with various songs relating to the story. Usually the narration involves numerous sub-plots and anecdotes, which are used to emphasise various aspects of the main story. The main story teller is usually assisted by one or more co-singers, who elaborate the songs and a Mridangam accompanist. The storyteller uses a pair of cymbals to keep beat.
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