cultural heritage of Andhra Pradesh is rich with classical
and folk arts ranging from the ballad singing 'Burrakatha'
to the refined classical form of 'Kuchipudi' dance.
As the home of abundant folk tradition, Andhra Pradesh
has more than sixty classical and folk dance forms.
A few of the popular performing arts are:
one of the famous classical dances in India takes
its name from a village, Kuchelapuram, 60km away from
Vijayawada. This dance drama enactment throbs with
Telugu lyrics and Sanskrit verses. It is distinguished
from other dance forms by narrative interruptions
that makes it very popular and expressive. This art
form emphasizes on animation. Apart from that it is
akin to 'Bharathanatyam'. The present style of Kuchipudi
and its developemet are accredited to 'Siddhendra
Yogi' and 'Tirtha Narayana'.
traditional dance form of 'Andhra Natyam' originated
as a temple dance that dates back to as early as 2000
years. The dance form was categorized as 'Agma Nartana'
performed in the temples, 'Carnatakam' performed in
the royal courts, and 'Darbari Attam' performed in
the courtyards of temples for the common man. Andhra
Natyam is similar in style to Bharatanatyam and is
based on Nandikesa's 'Abhinaya Darpana' and Bharata's
'Natya Shastra'. This was the female tradition (Lasya)
of dance that was characterized by a rich display
of foot work and superior 'abhinaya'. Unlike the original
version, the present Andhra Natyam is performed with
stylish costumes, makeup, ornaments and orchestra.
Thandavam' is a vigorous male dance form flourished
during the Kakatiyas of Warangal. The warriors enacted
the dance in front of the idol of 'Lord Siva' before
they left for the battlefield. The dance is done to
the resounding beats of drums. The dancers invoke
and invite Siva offering their bodies to him to dance
through. Perini almost disappeared after the decline
of Kakatiya dynasty. Dr. Nataraja Ramakrishna revived
the dance form to the present day status.
is a folk dance in narrative form that combines devotion
with entertainment. 'Tappatta Gallu' is confined to
Visakapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts.
The dance involves 15 - 30 dancers dressed in colorful
attire with a small drum locally called 'tappetta
gundu'. With rhythmic beat of the drum, the performers
sing and dance to enchant the villagers. This dance
form has become a popular ballad being performed at
important cultural festivals in Andhra Pradesh.
Katha' is the most popular narrative folk form in
Andhra Pradesh. The name Burra Katha came from the
percussion instrument used in the narrative. This
folk form has perfected by fusing the dramatic and
narrative elements with music and humor. The performing
team consists of three narrators in colorful dress.
The main narrator co-ordinates with narration, description,
explanation etc. while the assistants provide rhythm
with a small drum and chorus.
to publicize information and royal orders in the olden
days, the present 'dappu' dancer still plays an important
role during village festivals and village Panchayat.
Using 'dappu', a percussion instrument, the dappu
dancer moves rhythmically in circles during a performance.
Over the years 'dappu dance' had transformed into
two variations, dappu with songs and 'kolattam dappu'
where players use sticks to make rhythmic strikes
at each other's.
or the stick dance is one of the most popular dance
narratives in Andhra Pradesh. Known in different names
in different places of the state, kolattam can be
traced back to 7th century AD. A rural art usually
performed during village festivals, kolattam is a
combination of rhythmic movements, songs and music.
In kolattam, performed by 8 to 40 artists grouped
in pairs, The stick provides the main rhythm. The
artists lead by the leader move into two circles,
the inner circle receiving the strikes while the outer
circle delivering them.
as a ballad singing art form in the olden days, Yakshagana
transformed into a dance drama form. It was initially
performed by a single dancer and gradually evolved
into a complete dramatic form with many characters.
The ballad form, the poetic patterns, the musical
styles and the theoretical works contributed to the
making of Yakshagana. With passing of time, the structure
of Yakshagana form underwent a lot of changes with
the interaction of classical drama tradition. The
evolution of Kuchipudi Yakshagana form set an example
for the performing groups where verses and prose were
introduced. The art form is experimented with social
themes without altering the basic structure.
is an open air performance usually enacted during
Dasara or Moharrum in villages and during festivals
in towns. It is one of the most popular dance forms
in Andhra Pradesh and variations are seen throughout
Puli Vesham is a dance performed by two, the hunter
and the hunted. The dance is supplemented with musical
instruments. The dance usually starts with the 'tiger'
jumping and marching to the rhythm of drum-beats.
The hunter enters and wounds the tiger. Then the encounter
to subdue each other begins. The dance ends with the
tiger falling dead.
costume and makeup of the Puli Vesham is complicated.
The body of the person who plays tiger is smeared
with yellow paint with bold black stripes. He also
wears a mask and a long tail. The acrobatic skills,
fearful facial expressions and charging moves make
Puli Vesham a very active, awe-inspiring and popular
Bhama refers to Satyabhama , Krishna's beautiful
but jealous wife and kalpam means complaint or argument.
Bhamakalpam is both a theatre form (like Gollakalpam)
and a drama. The drama was created by Siddhendra Yogi
in the seventeenth century for the devotional use
of Kuchipudi performers. The theatre is performed
by several troupes in Andhra Pradesh and is a fine
example of the feminine movements in dance (lasya)
as opposed to the masculine tandava movements of Kathakaliand
Lord Siva, outraged at the humiliation met by his
consort, picked up a strand out of his Jata-Jhuta
(hair) and created Veerabhadra.
The Veeramusti community 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 birth place of Veerabhadra
12. Butta bommalu
A typical folk dance form, popular in Tanuku of West
Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh, Butta Bommalu
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.
Associated with daily tasks harvesting, planting,
sowing etc., the Lambadi is performed by the Ganjaras,
a seminomadic tribe seen all over Andhra Pradesh.
Costumes embroidered with glass beads and mirrors,
ornate jewellery, ivory bangles, brass anklets and
a natural rhythm make this dance a colourful exposition
of joy which is the highlight of many a festive occasion
The folk festival of Bonalu in the Telangana region
brings with it celebrations which see the colourfully
dressed female dancers balancing pots (Bonalu), step
to the rhythmic beats and tunes in praise of the village
Male dancers called Potharajus precede the female
dancers to the temple lashing whips and neem leaves
adding colour to the festivity
Generally performed in the local fairs and festivals
of Araku Valley in Visakhapatnam District, this tribal
dance sees 15-20 women forming a chain and dancing
in praise of the local deity. Women attired in typical
tribal dresses and ornaments dance to the beat of
instruments like Mori, Thudum and Dappu played by
the male members