Kuchipudi is one of the major dancing traditions of India from Andhra Pradesh. The village named Kuchipudi situated 50 km from Vijayawada gives the form, its name. Kuchipudi originates from Bhāgavata Mela Natakam dance-drama that was prevalent in the region since 14th -15th century CE. Rooted in Vaishnava Bhakti, Bhāgavata Mela Natakam artists known as Bhāgavatulu performed extensively on the excerpts from Bhāgavata Purāṇa. Krishna was their primary deity and elaborates on themes such as Bhamakalapam, Sri Krishna Parijatam where sequences between Krishna and Satya Bhama were emphasised with dramatic effect. Today Kuchipudi includes a wide variety of solo pieces like Krishna Sabdam, Dasavatara Sabdam, Jathiswaram, Swarajathi, Javali, Padam, Varanam etc. A pièce de résistance of Kuchipudi is Tarangam where the dancer after showcasing various episodes from Krishna’s life from the text Sri Krishna Lila Tarangini written by Yati Nārāyaṇa Thirtha, balances herself on a rim of brass plate and executes complicated rhythmic patterns on it.
Guru Smt. Seetha Nagajothy is a well-established name in the field of Kuchipudi. She is one of the senior most disciples of Padmabhushan late Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam and ardently follows his style in her teachings. She has been felicitated and awarded several times over the years for her achievements in Kuchipudi. She has received Senior Fellowship from the Ministry of Culture for her research on Vrtti and Pravrtti in Kuchipudi according to Nāţya Satra. For her contribution to the field of teaching and propagating Kuchipudi for half a century, Sangeet Natak Academi has produced a documentary The Life and Works of Guru Smt. Seetha Nagajothy. Her contributions to the creative field of Kuchipudi remain par excellent.
Guru Sri P. Nagajothy was also one of Padmabhushan late Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam’s disciples. He has to his credit the choreographies and conceptualisations of several dance dramas and solo numbers. These have been widely been performed all the over the world by more than 1000 of his disciples. He has won many accolades for his role as Bhasmasura in his choreography of Mohini Bhasmasura drama. The duo’s disciples have been recognised by Doordarshan as both grade A & B artists. They have more than 20 disciples who have won CCRT and National Scholarships for dance from Ministry of Culture.
Abhinaya Nagajothy is a Kuchipudi artiste and researcher. She was a recipient of CCRT and National Scholarship in dance from Ministry of Culture. She is Grade A Doordarshan Artiste since 2011. She has toured Africa for Festivals of India Abroad organised by Government of India. She is currently pursuing PhD from Centre for Historical Studies, JNU where she is researching on Kuchipudi. She has assisted her Gurus in all their teaching tours in India and abroad and has performed widely for several festivals in countries including, UK, Spain, Malaysia, Indonesia, USA and in India. Post pandemic, she has produced more than 70 episodes of Teach Dance and Practice Dance series on her YouTube Channel.
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