Kuchipudi, one of India's seven main classical dance styles, combines fast rhythms with fluid movements, creating a nice blend of control and abandon, strength and delicacy.
Archeological evidence and literature trace the origins of Kuchipudi to the 2nd century B.C., but little is known of who shaped and propagated the art form, until the 14th century. Many of Kuchipudi's distinctive features, as we know them today, have been traced to the innovations introduced by the brilliant scholar, performer and dancer, Siddhendra Yogi, who lived in the 14th century. He had inherited an all-female dance form that had fallen into grave disrepute. Siddhendra Yogi, through hard training of young Brahmin boys and dedication, succeeded in rejuvenating Kuchipudi. For the next six centuries, Kuchipudi became established as an all male dance tradition.
In the early 1900s, another towering figure in Kuchipudi - Vedantam Lakshminarayana Shastri - once again changed the dance form's stylistic direction. He moved from the little village of Kuchipudi, the birth place of this art form, to the larger metropolis of Madras (now Chennai), a major center for art and culture in India. His talent and brilliance was immediately recognized. He introduced women to Kuchipudi and choreographed several solo dances, which have become part of the Kuchipudi repertoire today.
His student, and today's foremost exponent of Kuchipudi, is Guru Vempati Chinnasatyam. Guru Chinnasatyam further popularized Kuchipudi worldwide. His choreography is known for its creativity, polish, refinement and complexity.