Andhra Natyam

Originally called Lasya Nartana and practised only by temple dancers, this vibrant style of the Telugu people is today popularly called Andhra Natyam. Besides temple dancing, court dances by courtesans known as kalavantulu and open air performances for the general public known as kalapam are also included under the category of Andhra Natyam.

The most vigorous proponent of this dance form has been the renowned guru Dr. Nataraja Ramakrishna who has worked tirelessly to give Andhra Pradesh a style distinct from Kuchipudi. It was only in 1982 that the form was offcially recognised and a formal syllabus created by experts.

Andhra Natyam in its reconstructed form contains items in the following order. First is the Kumbha Hariti which contains recitations of churnika or hymns, followed by Pushpanjali, a pure dance nritta item and expressional nritya. Then the programme continues with abhinaya dances from the court repertoire called kelika and concludes with the performances of daruvus from Parijatam. The last mentioned item contains navajanardana parijatam relating to the temple dance performed in the Sri Vaishnava temples in the East and West Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh. After studying it from Pendala Satyabhama, Dr. Nataraja Ramakrishna taught his male student Kala Krishna who successfully impersonates the female role of Satyabhama.