Folk Dances in Andhra Pradesh

There are special folk dances that bring happiness and joy to all festivals and family ceremonies.

Folk dances are always performed in a group during festivities and enjoyment.

Villagers sing and dance together on the beat of traditional musical instruments and enjoy moments of harmony and togetherness.

There are some very famous folk dances of Andhra Pradesh which include the Gobbi dance, dandaria dance, veeranatyam, butta bommalu, dhimsa, bonalu, dappu, dhamal dance, mathuri dance, and bathakamma.

Well, dappu is a traditional drum made of goat skin and is struck with sticks for creating rhythm.

You can see dappu dancers right in front of any procession – jatras, marriages, festivals, etc.

The colourful costumes look beautiful with mythological themes used during dance and music.

Andhra Pradesh, a state in southern India, has a rich cultural heritage, including a diverse range of folk dances that reflect the traditions and customs of the region.

Some of the popular folk dances of Andhra Pradesh are: Various Dances Prevalent in Andhra Pradesh

Let us learn more about these dance forms and how these are performed by the talented dancers in Andhra Pradesh who have worked hard to keep the traditional art alive even today

These are just a few examples of the vibrant folk dance traditions in Andhra Pradesh. Each dance form carries its unique style, costumes, and significance, showcasing the cultural diversity of the state.

Kuchipudi Dance-Folk dances of Andhra Pradesh

Although Kuchipudi is primarily known as a classical dance form, it originated in the village of Kuchipudi in Andhra Pradesh.

It has both classical and folk elements and is characterized by its intricate footwork, expressive gestures, and storytelling.

Kuchipudi often portrays mythological stories and is performed with live music.

The dance form comprises dance along with fine gestures, song, and speech.

You need to be conversant with acting, singing, language, and theoretical knowledge to perform this dance well.

Kuchipudi dance form actually during the Bhakti movement and was started by Siddhendra Yogi in the 17th century.

The dance has its origins in a village named ‘Kuchipudi’ in Andhra Pradesh.

This dance form resembles Bharatnatyam a lot.

Legends

Legends in Kuchipudi dance include names like Lakshmi Narayan Shashtri, Chinta Krishna  Murti, Vedantam Chinna Satyam, etc.

Chinta Krishna  Murti was good at doing roles like Satyabhama in Bhamakalapam.

Today, Kuchipudi is not only solo but also with beautiful choreography.

costumes

The costumes in Kuchipudi dance are known for their intricate designs and vibrant colors, enhancing the visual appeal of the performance.

Here are some key elements of the traditional Kuchipudi dance costume:

1. Sari for Female Dancers: Female Kuchipudi dancers typically wear a traditional sari, which is draped in a unique style. The sari is usually brightly colored with rich patterns and borders. The pleats are arranged in a fan-like manner, allowing freedom of movement during intricate footwork.

2. Langa Voni for Younger Performers: Younger girls or female performers portraying young characters often wear a variation of the sari called the Langa Voni. It consists of a long skirt (langa) and a dupatta-like drape (voni) that is worn diagonally across the torso and over one shoulder.

3. Jewelry: Kuchipudi dancers adorn themselves with traditional jewelry to enhance their appearance. This includes a variety of pieces such as necklaces, earrings, bangles, anklets, and headpieces. The jewelry is usually ornate, featuring intricate designs and embellishments.

4. Makeup: Kuchipudi dancers apply specific makeup to highlight their facial expressions on stage. This includes bold and expressive eye makeup, accentuated eyebrows, bright lip color, and sometimes decorative bindis on the forehead.

5. Hair: The hair is typically styled traditionally. Female dancers often create

Lambadi-Folk dances of Andhra Pradesh

Folk-Dances-of-Andhra pradesh
Folk-Dances-of-Andhra Pradesh

This can be called the dance of the nomads.

Lambadi: Lambadi is a vibrant and colorful folk dance performed by the Lambadi tribe, also known as the Banjara community. It involves a lively combination of rhythmic movements, hand clapping, and footwork. The dance is accompanied by traditional songs sung in the Lambadi language and traditional musical instruments like the dholak (a drum) and the harmonium.

The Lambadi tribe in Andhra Pradesh performs this dance form to celebrate the sowing season and a good harvest.

They wear beautiful costumes which are decorated with beads, and embroidery and deck up well with jewelry, bangles, and anklets.

The nomads or banjaras perform this dance in a group of 15-20 dancers during festivals.

Lambadi dance, also known as Banjara dance or Lambani dance, is a lively and vibrant folk dance form that originates from the Lambadi or Banjara community of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and other parts of India.

The Lambadis are a nomadic tribe known for their colorful attire, rich culture, and unique dance traditions.

Lambadi dance

Lambadi dance is characterized by its energetic movements, rhythmic footwork, and graceful hand gestures.

The dancers, both men, and women, wear vibrant and heavily embellished costumes adorned with mirror work, embroidery, and colorful accessories.

The women typically wear long, flowing skirts with a choli (blouse) and a veil, while the men wear traditional dhotis and shirts.

The dance is accompanied by lively folk music, with the dancers often singing traditional Lambadi songs in their native language. The music is enhanced by the use of traditional musical instruments such as the dholak (a two-headed drum), harmonium, flute, and sometimes the Jew’s harp.

In Lambadi dance, the dancers form a circle or semi-circle and move in synchronized patterns. The footwork is an essential element of the dance, involving fast-paced steps, stamping, and intricate rhythmic patterns. The dancers also use hand movements, swaying motions, and expressive facial expressions to depict various emotions and themes.

More about Lambadi dance

Lambadi dance is performed during festive occasions, weddings, cultural events, and social gatherings within the Lambadi community. It is a celebration of their cultural identity, and through the dance, they express joy, unity, and a sense of community spirit. The lively and exuberant nature of Lambadi dance often captivates the audience and creates an atmosphere of festivity.

Over the years, Lambadi dance has gained recognition and popularity beyond the Lambadi community, and it is now performed at various cultural festivals and events across India, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the Lambadi people.

Both men and women perform classical dances in Andhra Pradesh and children start learning traditional performing art forms right from a very young age. Dance forms prevalent in the state include dances such as Kolattam, Bhagotam, Burrakatha, Kuchipudi, Bhamakalapam, Butta Bommalu, Dappu, Perini and Tappeta Gullu etc.

Bonalu Dance-Folk dances of Andhra Pradesh

This is a dance that needs you to do a balancing act.

Well, the dancers balance pots on their heads and this makes it quite a unique dance.

It is performed in praise of Goddess Mahakali.

First, the male dancers perform the Potharajus dance in the temple lashing whips and neem leaves.

This is followed by the bonalu dance performed by the females.

Bonalu is also a state festival in Telangana.

Bonalu means ‘pots’. The balancing of pots is done on rhythmic beats and songs sung in praise of Goddess Mahakali. 

Bonalu dance is a traditional folk dance form associated with the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh, particularly Hyderabad.

It is performed during the Bonalu festival, which is a Hindu festival celebrated in honor of the Goddess Mahankali.

Bonalu is derived from the Telugu word “Bhojanalu,” which means offering or feast.

The festival is dedicated to the goddess, who is believed to protect the community from evil spirits and diseases.

The Bonalu festival usually takes place during the months of Ashada and Sravana (July-August).

During the festival, devotees carry decorated pots, known as Bonam, filled with rice, curd, and other offerings, on their heads to the temple of Goddess Mahankali.

Bonalu dance

The Bonalu dance is performed as a form of devotional offering and to express gratitude to the goddess.

The dance is performed by women, who dress in traditional attire, wear colorful sarees, and adorn themselves with jewelry and flowers.

They balance a pot filled with water or turmeric water on their heads while performing intricate dance movements.

The pot is decorated with neem leaves, vermilion, and coconut on top.

The rhythm for the Bonalu dance is provided by the beats of traditional instruments like the dappu (a percussion instrument) and tambourine.

The dancers move in a synchronized manner, swaying their bodies, clapping their hands, and tapping their feet to the rhythmic beats.

The Bonalu dance is characterized by graceful movements, footwork, and the use of hand gestures.

The dancers often form circles or semi-circles and move in patterns, sometimes creating wave-like motions.

They also engage in a call-and-response style of singing, where the lead dancer sings a line, and the rest of the group responds.

The Bonalu dance not only has religious significance but also serves as a means of social bonding and cultural expression.

It is performed with great enthusiasm and fervor, creating a festive atmosphere during the Bonalu festival.

The dance is considered a way to invoke the blessings of the goddess and seek her protection and well-being for the community.

In recent years, Bonalu dance has gained popularity and is also performed at cultural events, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Butta Bommalu-Folk dances of Andhra Pradesh

 It is also known as Veeranna Bommalu.

It is a unique folk dance form performed in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh.

So involves the use of large puppets made of corn husks, which are manipulated by the dancers.

The puppets depict various characters and are animated through skillful movements.

Butta Bommalu is often performed during village fairs and cultural festivals.

“Butta” translates to “corn” in Telugu, and “Bommalu” means “puppets.”

It is a unique and colorful art form that combines elements of dance, music, and storytelling.

The puppets, typically measuring around 6-7 feet in height, depict various characters from mythology, folklore, and everyday life.

The puppets are then decorated with vibrant fabrics, beads, and other embellishments.

Each puppet represents a specific character, such as gods, goddesses, heroes, animals, or village figures.

During the performance, the puppeteers manipulate the Butta Bommalu puppets using strings and rods.

They skillfully maneuver the puppets, making them dance, spin, and interact with each other.

The movements of the puppets are synchronized with the accompanying music and songs.

The music for Butta Bommalu dance is provided by traditional instruments like the dappu (a percussion instrument), harmonium, and flute.

The puppeteers sing folk songs and narrate stories while animating the puppets.

The songs often reflect local culture, mythology, and social themes, engaging the audience and conveying messages through the performance.

Butta Bommalu

Butta Bommalu dance not only entertains the spectators but also serves as a means of cultural expression and preservation.

It carries forward the folk traditions and oral narratives of the Telangana region, passing them down through generations.

In recent years, Butta Bommalu has gained recognition beyond the villages and is also performed at cultural festivals and events to showcase the artistic heritage of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

The vibrant colors, lively movements, and unique storytelling make Butta Bommalu a captivating and delightful folk dance form.

This is a folk dance that is very famous in the Tanuku region of West Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh.

Butta bommalu means ‘basket toys’.

These toys are made of cow dung, wood husk, and dry grass.

The dancers wear various kinds of masks.

However, the dance is performed only on the beats of percussion instruments.

The masks worn during this dance portray diverse characters.

They tend to increase entertainment value and yes, there are delicate movements but non-verbal music in this dance!

Bhamakalpam and Gollkalpam

This dance is an amalgamation of dance and drama — both.

It is believed to have originated from the Kuchipudi dance.

The movements in this dance are delicate and feminine.

Gollkalpam dance and bhamakalpam dance were both inspired and started by Sidhendra Yogi in the 17th century.

The idea was to prevent prostitutes from learning this dance form.

So, males were chosen from the Brahmin community and trained in the dance.

Gestures and expressions give this dance form special meaning.

In Gollkalpam, the plot is philosophical – how God protects dharma on earth depicted in the form of dance-drama.  

Bhamakalpam-Folk dances of Andhra Pradesh

Bhamakalpam is a traditional dance-drama that originated in the village of Bhamakal in the Warangal district of Telangana, which was previously a part of Andhra Pradesh.

It is a unique art form that combines elements of dance, music, and drama.

Bhamakalapam is a unique dance-drama performed in the coastal region of Andhra Pradesh, particularly in the Srikakulam district.

It depicts the story of Satyabhama, one of Lord Krishna’s consorts, and combines elements of dance, music, and drama.

The performers, both male and female, wear vibrant costumes and use stylized movements to bring the story to life.

The performance of Bhamakalpam involves a group of performers, both male and female, who enact scenes from mythological stories, particularly those related to Lord Shiva.

The stories primarily revolve around the character of Satyabhama, one of Lord Krishna’s consorts.

The artists present the stories in a narrative form through dialogues, songs, and expressive dance movements.

Bhamakalapam

The performance often incorporates elements of humor, emotion, and drama to engage the audience.

The costumes and makeup used in Bhamakalpam are elaborate and eye-catching.

The performers wear vibrant, traditional costumes, adorned with jewelry and accessories, that are specific to the characters they portray.

Intricate makeup, including distinctive facial designs, is applied to enhance the character’s portrayal.

The musical accompaniment for Bhamakalpam typically includes traditional instruments like the mridangam (a percussion instrument), harmonium, and flute.

The songs are sung in a specific regional dialect and are integral to the storytelling aspect of the performance.

Bhamakalpam is not only a visual treat but also serves as a means of preserving and propagating cultural and mythological stories.

It has become an important part of the cultural heritage of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and is often performed during festivals and cultural events in the region.

Please note that the availability and prominence of specific folk dance forms may vary, and some dance forms may be more regionally or locally specific.

Costumes and Makeup

Bhamakalpam dancers wear vibrant and colorful costumes that are adorned with jewelry and decorative elements. They also use elaborate makeup to transform into the characters they portray during the dance.

Music and Instruments

The dance is accompanied by traditional Kerala music, including percussion instruments like the chenda (a type of drum) and cymbals. The music adds to the overall rhythm and energy of the performance.  

Kalapam-Folk dances of Andhra Pradesh

This is also a dance-drama with a moral for the audience.

It is a mono-play in which there is a main person and another comparatively less significant person.

Every character enters the stage introducing himself and the ‘sutredhaar‘ (narrator) imparts the running commentary on various sequences in the play.

The main character narrates his experiences and the other person asks questions and makes comments.

Veeranatyam-Folk dances of Andhra Pradesh

This is an ancient dance form of Andhra Pradesh and holds much religious significance.

Veeranatyam is a folk dance form prevalent in the Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh.

It is a male-dominated dance performed by the Kshatriya community.

Veeranatyam is inspired by the valor and heroism of warriors and depicts scenes from ancient epics like the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.

The dancers wear traditional warrior costumes and use martial arts-inspired movements.

It is also popular as Veerangam or Veerabhadra Nrityam. 

Veer means ‘brave’ and this is a dance of the brave and also finds mention in Hindu mythology.

According to a legend, when a function, Sati (Shiva’s wife) was humiliated, Shiva picked out a relic from his hair or ‘jatajuta‘ and began performing a vigorous dance.

A dance of Pralayam or destruction which could bring holocaust.

This dance is performed with musical instruments such as tambura, dolu, Tasha, and soolam.

It is very popular in Draksharamam (Dakshavatika).

So, the birthplace of Veerbhadra is in the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh.

The dancers carry a plate from palms to elbows with camphor fire.

The dance goes on till the fire is extinguished.

There is also the ‘Khadgalu recital’ (brandishing a long sword), holding a long pole marked with vibhuti (sacred ash) and bells on top and dancing with spears and tridents pierced into tongue, hands, and ankles.

All this dancing takes place on the beat of war drum or veeranam.

This dance is performed at Shiva temples all over the state by the Veerbhadra community — followers of Veerbhadra. 

Dhimsa dance-Folk dances of Andhra Pradesh

 Dhimsa is a tribal dance form performed by the Lambadi community in the Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh.

It is a lively and energetic dance that involves rhythmic movements, foot-tapping, and the use of traditional instruments like dappu (a percussion instrument) and flute.

Dhimsa is often performed during festivals and celebrations.

About 15-20 women perform this dance.

They form a chain and dance to the beats of drums.

They wear traditional jewellery, costumes and enjoy singing and dancing in a group.

This dance is common in the Araku Valley of the Visakhapatnam district.

Dhimsa dance is performed by tribes such as Bagata, Khond, Kotia, and Valmiki tribes inhabiting Araku Valley.

This dance is performed by old and young, men and women.

During festivals, dancers from one village visit another village and join the dance.

The joy is doubled with a community feast in the evening.

Such dances are also referred to as ‘Sankidi Kelbar’ as they aids in creating a bond of friendship and brotherhood among people belonging to different villages.

There are many variations of Dhimsa dance which include Boda dhimsa, Gunderi dhimsa (or Usku dhimsa), Goddi beta dhimsa, Potar-tola dhimsa, Bhag dhimsa, Natikari dhimsa etc.

Tappeta-Folk dances of Andhra Pradesh

This dance form is especially popular in Srikakulam district and Vizianagaram district.

It is a devotional dance form meant for invoking the Rain God.

The rhythm, vivaciousness, and energy of this dance can enthuse anyone to start tapping to the beat of the music and drums.

About 15-20 dancers perform the tappeta dance in a group.

A few acrobatic movements during the dance can enthrall everyone present

The Tappeta Gullu dance is a traditional folk dance from the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is often performed during festivals and celebrations, especially in the coastal regions of Andhra Pradesh. Tappeta Gullu is a vibrant and energetic form of folk art that involves a group of dancers. The dance is characterized by its rhythmic movements, colorful attire, and the use of traditional musical instruments.

 

 

Attire

Dancers wear colorful and traditional outfits, such as dhotis, turbans, and various ornaments. The attire is typically vibrant and reflects the cultural heritage of Andhra Pradesh.

 

Musical Instruments

The dance is accompanied by traditional musical instruments, such as drums, cymbals, and flutes, which provide the lively and rhythmic music that drives the dance.

 

Formation

Tappeta Gullu is usually performed by a group of dancers who form a circle or a semi-circle. The dancers move in a synchronized manner, creating visually appealing patterns and formations.

 

Movements

The dance involves a combination of footwork, hand movements, and body swaying. Dancers often perform intricate footwork and hand gestures while maintaining a high energy level throughout the performance.

 

Themes

Tappeta Gullu often portrays stories and themes from the local culture and mythology. The dancers use their movements and expressions to convey these narratives to the audience.

 

Festive Occasions

This dance is commonly performed during festivals, especially in the rural areas of Andhra Pradesh. It is a significant part of the cultural celebrations in the region.

 

Tappeta Gullu dance not only serves as a form of entertainment but also plays an essential role in preserving and promoting the rich cultural heritage of Andhra Pradesh. It is a captivating and lively dance form that reflects the spirit and traditions of the region.

Gobbi Dance-Folk dances of Andhra Pradesh

This is a dance popular in coastal regions of Andhra Pradesh.

It is performed during the Sankranti festival when houses are cleaned and courtyards decorated with ‘rangavallis‘.

At the center of these rangavallis, cow dung balls or gobble are placed and worshipped with flowers, turmeric, and kumkum.

In the evening, young girls dance around this gobble, all decked up for the festival.

Bathakamma-Folk dances of Andhra Pradesh

Bathakamma festival is a state festival of Telangana.

The bathakamma dance of performed during Bathakamma festivities in Andhra Pradesh.

Women perform this dance and worship Goddess Bathakamma’s idol before immersing it in the river after a month-long celebration.

The Bathakamma festival is especially important for married women who pray for peace in their family and happy married life.

According to a legend, Saijanbai, the beautiful daughter of a Rajput king, was married with great pomp and show.

However, she was sent back by her in-laws to her father’s house as she was unable to perform her household duties properly.

However, she worshiped Goddess Bathakamma and later led a successful and happy married life.    

Dandaria Dance

Dandaria dance is a stick dance that is performed by the Gond tribe in the Northern region of Hyderabad district.

The dancers visit different villages where they receive a warm welcome.

The guests and hosts dance in an anti-clockwise direction and dance to the beat of drums and trumpet and yes, sticks held in their hands.

Only men perform this dance form and women characters are also performed by young men dressed as women.

The group of dancers is led by musicians. According to a legend, Dandaria – a descendant of the Pandava prince started this dance form.

Gonds believe themselves to be the descendants of Pandavas.

Mathuri Dance

This is a tribal dance performed by the Mathuri tribe.

They perform this dance during rainy month (Shravana) and men and women both participate in this dance.

Women form the inner circle while men form the outer circle while dancing and singing in unison.

Men strike the sticks and women clap on the beats of drums.

It is similar to Ras Lila of Uttar Pradesh.

Mathuri tribe is originally from Mathura and settled here and so their dance is popular as ‘Mathuri dance’. 

Mathuri is a folk dance performed in the Krishna and Guntur districts of Andhra Pradesh.

It is primarily performed by women during the Mathurishtami festival.

The dance involves graceful movements and formations by a group of women who hold pots filled with water on their heads.

The dancers balance the pots while performing synchronized steps and intricate hand gestures.

Kolatam

Kolatam is yet another form of stick dance very popular in Andhra Pradesh.

It is also known as Kolannalu or Kolkolannalu dance.

It is performed during festivals and comprises music, dance, and song recital.

The dancers are in the age group of 8 years to 40 years and make up pairs and dance in circles with sticks providing the main rhythm.

This dance is quite similar to the ‘Dandiya dance’ of Gujarat and the Garbha dance of Rajasthan.

In the Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh, Kolatam is popular as Kolanna.

Kolattam is a group dance performed during festivals and social gatherings in Andhra Pradesh.

It involves a formation of dancers who move in a circle, holding sticks or decorated wooden pieces.

The dancers strike their sticks in rhythm while performing various patterns and formations.

Kolattam is not only popular in Andhra Pradesh but also in other parts of South India.

Burrakatha

Burrakatha is a traditional storytelling dance form that originated in Andhra Pradesh.

It combines elements of dance, music, and narration.

Typically, the performance involves two main performers who narrate stories from mythology, history, or social themes while using a tambura (a stringed instrument) and dappu (a percussion instrument).

The dancers enact the characters of the story through expressive movements and gestures.

Janapada Nrityam

Janapada Nrityam, also known as Sankranti Nrityam, is a folk dance performed during the harvest festival of Sankranti.

It is a group dance in which both men and women participate.

The dancers form a circle and move in rhythmic patterns, clapping their hands and singing traditional songs.

Janapada Nrityam celebrates the joy of the harvest season and is accompanied by instruments like the mridangam, harmonium, and cymbals.

Garagalu

Garagalu is a folk dance form performed by the people of the Telangana region in Andhra Pradesh.

It is mainly associated with the Goud community, who are traditional toddy tappers.

Garagalu is characterized by energetic movements, footwork, and the use of traditional musical instruments like the dappu and tambura.

The dance often accompanies the process of extracting toddy from palm trees.

 

Dappu Nrityam

Dappu Nrityam is a vibrant percussion-based folk dance form of Andhra Pradesh.

It is performed using the dappu, a traditional percussion instrument resembling a small drum.

The dancers, usually men, create rhythmic patterns by beating the dappu and performing energetic movements.

Dappu Nrityam is often associated with religious and festive occasions.

Andhra Natyam

Andhra Natyam is a traditional dance form from the state of Andhra Pradesh in South India. It is a classical dance style that has its roots in the ancient dance traditions of Andhra Pradesh, particularly the Telugu-speaking regions. Andhra Natyam is known for its rich cultural heritage and distinct characteristics. Here are some key features and aspects of Andhra Natyam:

Historical Significance

 Andhra Natyam has a long history and is believed to have evolved from the classical dance forms mentioned in ancient Sanskrit texts. It was patronized and performed in the courts of various Andhra rulers and has been passed down through generations.

Female Dominated

Unlike some other classical Indian dance forms like Kathakali or Kuchipudi, Andhra Natyam is traditionally performed by female dancers. The female dancers, known as “Andhra Natyam artists” or “Andhra Natyam performers,” are central to the art form.

Costumes and Makeup

Dancers of Andhra Natyam wear traditional Indian dance costumes, often adorned with elaborate jewelry and makeup. The makeup and costumes vary depending on the character being portrayed in the performance.

Themes and Repertoire

The repertoire of Andhra Natyam includes a wide range of themes, including mythological stories, historical narratives, and devotional pieces. Dancers often convey emotions and stories through expressive hand gestures, facial expressions, and body movements.

Music and Instruments

Andhra Natyam is accompanied by classical Carnatic music. Traditional musical instruments like the veena, mridangam, flute, and cymbals are commonly used to provide musical accompaniment to the dance.

Influence of Telugu Culture

The dance form reflects the rich cultural heritage of the Telugu-speaking regions of Andhra Pradesh. The songs and dialogues in Andhra Natyam performances are often in the Telugu language.

Mudras (Hand Gestures)

Like other classical Indian dance forms, Andhra Natyam uses a variety of mudras, or hand gestures, to convey meaning and emotions. The precise use of mudras is a significant aspect of the dance.

Devotional and Spiritual Significance

Many Andhra Natyam performances are dedicated to Hindu deities and have a devotional and spiritual context. They are often performed in temples and during religious festivals.

Contemporary Expression

While rooted in tradition, Andhra Natyam has also evolved and adapted to contemporary themes and styles, making it a dynamic and evolving dance form.

Andhra Natyam is an integral part of the cultural heritage of Andhra Pradesh and continues to be practiced and performed by artists who are dedicated to preserving and promoting this traditional dance form. It combines elements of grace, expression, and storytelling to create a unique and captivating dance experience.

      

Other Dance Forms of Andhra Pradesh

Vilasini Natyam

Vilasini Natyam is not practiced much now and was a dance form of the devadasis.

Many believe that this dance form must receive Indian Classical dance status.

The jangams – Shiva worshippers used to wander and exhibit ‘jangam katha‘ which today is known as Burrakatha and is a sort of theatre dance.

Burra means tambura, a musical instrument, which the main performer plays while narrating a story.

He plays music and dances simultaneously. Others in the group play drums and enrich the story by saying short sentences in between.

Origin

Vilasini Natyam was created in the late 20th century, primarily during the 1970s, by Swapnasundari. She sought to revive and reinvent traditional dance forms and bring a fresh perspective to Indian classical dance.

Influences

 This dance form incorporates elements from classical dance styles such as Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, and Odissi, but it also draws inspiration from other art forms like yoga, martial arts, and tribal dances.

Feminine Expression

 Vilasini Natyam places a strong emphasis on feminine expression and spirituality. The dance style seeks to celebrate the divine feminine and explore the inner emotional world of women through dance.

Costumes and Makeup

 Dancers of Vilasini Natyam wear traditional Indian dance costumes, but the makeup is often minimal, emphasizing the natural beauty of the dancer. The focus is on the expression and grace of movement.

Themes and Repertoire

 The repertoire of Vilasini Natyam includes a wide range of themes, from traditional mythological stories to contemporary social issues. Dancers often use their performances to convey messages and create awareness about various topics.

Fluid Movements

 Vilasini Natyam is known for its fluid and graceful movements. Dancers use both slow and fast-paced movements to convey emotions and narratives.

Music and Instruments

 The dance is accompanied by traditional Carnatic music, and instruments like the mridangam, flute, and veena are commonly used to provide musical accompaniment.

Spiritual and Philosophical Aspects

 Vilasini Natyam incorporates elements of Indian philosophy, spirituality, and mythology into its performances. It often explores themes related to spirituality, divinity, and the inner journey of the self.

Contemporary Relevance

 While rooted in tradition, Vilasini Natyam also addresses contemporary issues and challenges. It is a dynamic and evolving dance form that continues to adapt to the changing cultural landscape.

Overall, Vilasini Natyam is a unique and innovative Indian classical dance form that seeks to break boundaries and explore new dimensions of expression and spirituality through dance. It has gained recognition and popularity in the world of Indian classical dance, thanks to the pioneering efforts of its creator, Swapnasundari.

Tholu Bommalata

Tholu Bommalata is a dance of puppets.

Different episodes from epics are told in lucid language for everyone to understand.

These are very large puppets and not only serve as a medium of recreation, but also education.

For instance, there are Hanuman and Sita puppets in the Tholu Bommalata tradition of Andhra Pradesh which relate to various incidents from Ramayana.

Tappeta Gullu

Tappeta Gullu is a dance form performed to appease the rain, God.

It is especially popular in Srikakulam district and Vizianagaram district.

The drums hang around the necks of all dancers who dance with vigor and enthusiasm.

Dhamal dance

Dhamal dance is performed by Siddis and is a martial dance form in which swords and shields are used while dancing.

It is performed during marriage functions.

Siddis are originally believed to be from Africa and were brought by Hindu kings to Andhra Pradesh during the middle of the 12th century as slaves.

They guarded the palaces of the kings or became sailors, soldiers, and personal bodyguards.

Kommu Koya

Kommu Koya is another dance form of Andhra Pradesh.

The Kommu Koya troupes have helped to keep the age-old traditional dance alive even today.

Through their dance, they spread awareness about various social issues such as female foeticide, child marriages, AIDS, and other social evils.  

Stick Dances of Andhra Pradesh.

The Kommu Koya dance is a vibrant and energetic dance form that is often performed on special occasions and festivals. It is characterized by rhythmic footwork, hand gestures, and colorful traditional costumes. The dancers usually form a circle and move in a synchronized manner to the beat of traditional Koya music.

The musical accompaniment for the Kommu Koya dance typically includes traditional instruments like the dappu (a drum), tambourine, and flutes. The dancers often sing songs that are related to their culture, traditions, and daily life.

This dance form is not only a form of entertainment but also serves as a means of preserving and passing down the cultural heritage of the Koya tribe from one generation to the next. It helps strengthen their sense of community and identity.

The Kommu Koya dance, like many other indigenous folk dances, is a beautiful expression of the cultural diversity of India and reflects the deep connection that various communities have with their land, traditions, and history.

 

Conclusion

These are some of the diverse folk dance forms that showcase the cultural richness and traditions of Andhra Pradesh.

Each dance form has its distinct style, music, and significance, contributing to the vibrant folk heritage of the region.

 

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