(Last Updated on : 13/07/2017)
Kuchipudi dancers are the artists who perform the classical dance
which was originated in the village
of Kuchipudi in Southern India
. For a long time, the Kuchipudi dancers
presented the art
only at the temples
and that too only during the annual festivals
of certain temples in Andhra Pradesh
History of the Kuchipudi Dancers
According to the tradition, the Kuchipudi dancers were only men at first and they all belonged to the Brahmin community
. The Brahmin families who produced Kuchipudi dancers were popularly known as Bhagavathalu of Kuchipudi. The very first group of Brahmain Bhagavathulu of Kuchipudi was formed in 1502 AD. The programs of these Kuchipudi dancers were offerings to the deities and they never allowed women
in their groups.
However, in the 15th century, a saint
called Siddhendra Yogi, codified the movements of Kuchipudi and enriched the popularity of the Kuchipudi dance form. Siddhendra Yogi is believed to be the pioneer of Kuchipudi dancers. Kuchipudi was next enriched by the advent of the female dancers.
Popular Kuchipudi Dancers
Following are the famous and popular Kuchipudi Dancers:
Guru Smt. Vijaya Prasad
: Guru Smt. Vijaya Prasad is one of the most famous Kuchipudi dancers, who has been practicing and teaching Kuchipudi dance for the last 50 years. She started to learn this art
form at a tender age of three by the great Kuchipudi Natya Acharya, Shri Vedantam Lakshmi Narayana Sastry. She has performed for more than 500 functions throughout India. She is best known for her own unique elegant and mellifluous style. Vijaya Prasad is the recipient of many prestigious awards like Natya Sundra Kala Pravina and others.
Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam
: Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam is another Kuchipudi dancer, who established the Kuchipudi Arts Academy in Chennai
that is specifically for Kuchipudi training. Through his dedication, talent and sheer hard work, he renewed and restored a diluted and cruder form of Kuchipudi, forging a very personal and pure style. Today, because of him, Kuchipudi occupies a privileged position among other Indian classical forms.
: Kalpalathika is a disciple of the reputed Kuchipudi dancer, Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam. Kalpalathika comes from a cultured and respected family of Landlords of Sirkali in Thanjavur District
, the birth Place of Saint Thirugnanasambandar. She made her debut at the Music Academy.
Raja and Radha Reddy
: The world-famous dancing couple, Raja and Radha Reddy, has given a new dimension to the art of Kuchipudi. The exceptional art of Raja and Radha Reddy received the official recognition like the award of the Padma Shree
in 1984, the Sahitya Kala Parishad Award
in 1990 and the prestigious Sangeet Natak Award
in 1992. They have also had the honour of being awarded with the 2nd highest civilian award in India, the Padma Bhushan
award of the new millennium, separately but concurrently in the year 2000.
She is considered as one of the most talented and famous artists of the Kuchipudi. Kaushalya is a fantastic exemplar of the blending of a strong tradition with enthusiasm to experimentation through her intelligence and artistic values. Her representation of young Prahlada
in a dance drama
staged by Raja-Radha Reddy is still believed as brilliant by many art critics.
: Yamini Reddy learnt Kuchipudi from her parents and gave her first solo performance at the tender age of three in New Delhi
that got her standing applause. She is the daughter of the famous Kuchipudi exponents, Raja and Radha Reddy in 1982. Yamini has been awarded with the Yuva Ratna Award, Youth Vocational Excellence award, FICCI young achiever's award, Devadasi National Award, Sangeet Natak Akademi, Bismillah Khan
Yuva Puraskar for dedication towards Kuchipudi Dance.
: She is dedicated to learn Kuchipudi dance
. Bhavana has a very good stage presence, with good expression that comes naturally to her. She is outstanding in the musical and the expressions part of Kuchipudi dance. She enacted the role of Prahlada in "Prahlada Charitam" at United States of America which got her large commendation.
Atisha Pratap Singh
: She performed Kuchipudi dance in Namaste France festival in Paris in November 2016. She presented the dance with actress Pernia Qureshi in Delhi occasions in 2016 and 2017. She has also performed in Singapore. She has learnt the Indian classical dance from Raja and Radha Reddy.
: Sreelakshmy Govardhanan is a Kuchipudi artist in Kerala
. Sreelakshmy is one of the extraordinary artists who have gone in exploration of the roots of Kuchipudi and has been auspicious to study it from the most genuine artist belonging to the Kuchipudi Yakshagana. She has been portrayed as a dancer who has connected the power of Abhinaya
: He is famous for his act of Bhama Kalapam and a variety of roles in Annamacharya
kirtanas. Haleem has presented more than 800 dance shows across the world, as well performed Kuchipudi workshops abroad.
: Vyjayanthi Kashi is an Indian Classical Dancer
and a Kuchipudi proponent. Smt.Vyjayanthi Kashi is a reputed Kuchipudi dancer, a famous performer and choreographer along with an artistic director of a dance school Shambhavi School of Dance.
: Prateeksha Kashi is an Indian Kuchipudi dancer and a daughter of Vyjayanthi Kashi. She also got 1st Rank in junior Kuchipudi Dance Examination conducted by Govt. of Karnataka
. Prateeksha Kashi recently got selected for Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar award by Central Sangeet Natak Akademi. She received the titles of Nalanda Nritya Nipuna instituted by the famous Nalanda Dance Research Centre and Nritya Jyoti to her credits.
: Mungara Yamini Krishnamurthy is a distinguished Indian dancer of Kuchipudi. She has received many awards, including the Padma Shree, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan
: Arunima Kumar has received the award of Sangeet Natak Akademi Yuva Puraskar for Kuchipudi in the year 2008. She has also performed in several ballets like the, Chitrangada Ballet, where she played the role of Chitrangada
; Nala Damayanti
, where she played the role of Damayanti. She is an established performer with the ICCR, Ministry of External Affairs
and is an A grade artist of the All India Radio
: Achuta Manasa is a Kuchipudi dancer. Manasa has received several awards like Natyamayuri, Ugadhi Puraskaram, Kala Sravanthi, Natya Kalamai, NTR Memorial "Telugu Mahila Award" and international award "UNESCO Millennium Best Cultural Ambassador".
: Shobha Naidu is the leading Kuchipudi dancer. She has performed with her guru's group in all over the country and abroad, shining in the roles of Satyabhama
. She has received the title of Nritya Choodamani from Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai. She has received the awards of Padma Shri, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Nritya Kala Siromani, Late Sri N T Rama Rao
Uma Rama Rao
: She was a Kuchipudi dancer and also the Founder and Director of Lasya Priya Dance Academy, established in 1985 in Hyderabad
. She received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, National Senior Fellowship bestowed by the Department of Culture. She was honoured with the Sri Kala Poorna from Saint Annamacharya project of North America.
V. Satyanarayana Sarma
: Vedantam Satyanarayana Sarma was the leading example of Kuchipudi. He was recognized for his representation of female characters such as Usha
, Satyabhama, Deva Devi, Mohini
, Sasirekha and Gollabhama. He was a receiver of several honours including Kalidas Samman
, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship and Padma Shri.