|SNIPPETS OF INFORMATION |
DANCE - ANDHRA NATYAM, PERINI SIVATANDAVAM
revived by Dr. Nataraja Ramakrishna
* 16 Sep 21
Different names of Andhra Natyam
Andhra Natyam belongs to Andhra Pradesh and it enjoys a supreme place in
the history of Indian dance. Known as the feminine tradition, it is
more than two thousand years old and is enriched and embellished with
bhava (expressions), raga (musical melody) and tala (rhythm).
Andhra Natyam is also known by other names like Agama Nartanam, Kelika,
Darbar Ata, Kutcheri Ata, Karnatakam, Nattuvamelam, Meju Vani etc. Each
name has a particular significance like the dance performed according to
Agama Sastra is known as Agama Nartanam. Similarly, the dance performed for entertainment is called Kelika. The dance performed in the presence of gods in the Kalyana Mandapa or the courts of kings is called Darbar Ata. The dance performed according to traditional classical music is called Karnatakam. The dance performed with expert leadership of a female dancer is known as Nattuvamelam and the dance performed by expert scholarly female dancer is known as Meju Vani.
More than 45 years earlier, all these names were prevalent until a
series of meetings with scholars under the auspices of Andhra Pradesh
Sangeet Natak Akademi put these names together and called it Andhra
Over the period of 2000 years, three distinct traditions developed known
as Agama Nartanam, Asthana Nartanam and Prabandha Nartanam.
The dance was performed as part of worship in marga style according to
Agama Sastra and was dedicated to gods. The dancers were Deva Ganikas
who performed in the presence of the main deity in the Natya Mandapa
only. The Agama Nartanam which was performed in the presence of Lord
Shiva was different from that performed in the presence of Lord Vishnu
or the Ashta Dikpalakas (eight guards in the eight directions of the
The dance is considered an intellectual feast as the dancer displays her
command over dance and the Sastras. The dance is performed during
festivals and changes according to the likes of the particular king.
A combination of education and entertainment, this dance is based on
Puranas and Vedanta, incorporating Parijatams, Kalapams and Bhagavatham
for the benefit of the common folk.
Andhra Natyam recital
If the dancer is a male, he is expected to be attired in female
disguise. The dancer enters the stage with a Kumba Harati (a flame on a
pot) and performs a churnika (lyrics in praise of God). After
Pushpanjali, she performs nritta (pure dance), nritya (pure dance and
expressions) and abhinaya (drama) based on the compositions of
Annamacharya, Kshetragna or Siddhendra Yogi. For that matter, Sattvika
abhinaya (divine gestural language) is considered the highlight of
Andhra Natyam. The dancer also sings while dancing, so it is compulsory
for the dancer to learn classical music. If she is unable to sing, she
is supposed to give lip movement according to the supporting artiste who
would sing in the background.
Source: The feminine tradition of Andhra Natyam by Vijay Shanker, narthaki.com
* 31 Aug 2021
Dr. Nataraja Ramakrishna hailed from Telangana but was born in
Bali in 1923 to Damayanti Devi and Rammohan Rao. Due to his dancing
skills he was bestowed with the title 'Nataraja.'
He was responsible for reviving the ancient temple dance forms of Andhra Natyam and Perini.
He revived Perini from its description in the Nritta Ratnavalli
written (in 1253-54) by Jayapa Senapati, the 12th century
commander-in-chief of the Kakatiya armies, and its depiction in the
sculptures of the famous Ramappa temple
near Warangal in Telangana. Performed by the warrior worshippers of
Shiva, this dance belongs to the Tandava tradition - quick in tempo and
depicting Veera Rasa.
He is credited with the revival of the Andhra Natyam dance form, a
devotional temple dance tradition performed in Andhra Pradesh for over
400 years that became virtually extinct. It took him nearly 2 decades to
revive some features of the Telugu devadasi dances. He called it Andhra
Natyam to classify it as a dance form that originated in Andhra
Pradesh. There are two ancient dance traditions in India, Natya Mela
performed by men, and Nattuva Mela, which women perform. Andhra Natyam
belongs to the Nattuva Mela tradition. Andhra Natyam, the ancient
classical dance form of the Telugu regions (Telangana, Rayalaseema and
Andhra), was almost extinct for the past 2000 years. It is as old as our
ancient culture and the temples. It was performed in the Buddhist
Aramas, temples, and royal courts by the cultured and dedicated female
artists of Telugu regions. Andhra Natyam was formerly known with
different names like Aradhana, Kacheri, Darbar, Kelika, Chinna Melam,
Mejuvani, and Dasi Ata. Andhra Natyam was revived in 1970s and is being
propagated for the last 50 years at national and international
platforms, particularly in the Telugu speaking regions.
He believed that folk art forms are as important as the classical forms
and helped promote Chindu Yakshaganam, an ancient folk form of
Telangana, and revived other folk arts like Tappetagallu of Srikakulam
and Vizianagaram districts, Veera Natyam and Garagalu of East and West
Godavari districts, and dance tradition of temples performing Adhyatma
Ramayana. He also encouraged folk dance artistes like Dommaras,
Guravayyalu, Urumulu and Veedi Bhagavatulu.
Dr. Nataraja Ramakrishna authored about 40 books on dance traditions of Andhra Pradesh and ancient dance forms.
Some of his foremost disciples include Uma Rama Rao, Kala Krishna,
Alekhya Punjala, Perini Venkat, Raghava Kumari (first disciple of
Read more Nataraja Tejam - A tribute to Dr. Nataraja Ramakrishna by Vijay Shanker, narthaki.com
Andhra Natyam, narthaki.com