Kuchipudi in Andhra

The Classical Indian Dance of Andhra Pradesh is called “Kuchipudi”. Since the Lonely Planet claims that there is nothing to see in Andhra, the Telugu-speaking part of India has been spared from entertainment-hungry tourists interested in “authentic traditional local culture” and willing to pay the insane prices that they are being charged to watch “simplified and shortened”(=fake) Kathakali dances in Kerala. A further reason may be that Andhra not only contains multicultural high-tech cities such as Hyderabad, but also some of the poorest areas in the world with shockingly low literacy rates especially amongst the female population – whereas Kerala boasts with a close-to-100% literacy.

Kuchipudi is revered by the selected few Indians with abundant time/money to engage in the art of classical dancing, as well as by the neglible number of tourists that do not rely on the Lonely Planet as guidebook to the subcontinent (tell me truthfully: is there ANY other subcontinent in the world that you can name?). The reasons for the unusually high degree of affection that Kuchipudi enjoys are usually given as follows: Such elaborate storytelling via the means of dance! Such emotions conveyed merely via the eyes of the dancers! Such graceful scintillating movements! Such deep, true, heartfelt religious beliefs! Such untouchedness by evil corporate commercialism!

Unfortunately, all these arguments remain at the surface. If you really want to know what Kuchipudi is all about, you better stick with Phil Collins of the band Genesis, who already realized in 1991 that he “can’t dance” and he “can’t talk” – the only thing about him is “the way that he walks”:

Because one of the truly most amazing features about Kuchipudi are the 100% street-credibly cool walk moves. Just look at the ease at which the dancers stride across the stages with an almost pop-music style bounce in their feet. Self-assured they conquer the world by the mere virtue of “the way that they walk”. With great self-confidence they defy the boundaries set to them by the apparent inadequateness of the sarees that they are wearing – Thus, while dancing, they achieve the remarkable feat of breaking out of the tightly-knit societal conventions of India while firmly remaining at the very center-stage of that same society:

If you’re interested in more such timeless walks, do check out the 5000-years-old-and-still-kicking walk portrayed in the Bangles “Walk like an Egyptian”:

and of course the authentic traditional local culture signature dance of Micheal Jackson – The Moonwalk:

This week, don’t forget the wise words of Edward Abbey: “Walking talkes longer[…] – Thus is stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed.”

Have a bouncing week,

PS: I feel a bit sorry for England after their (admittedly controversial) 4:1 defeat against Germany on Sunday. At the very least, their timeless official 1996/1998 song by the Lightning Seeds “3 lions” reveals their surprisingly laid back attitude towards the fact that once again in a World Cup, English football’s coming home well before the end of the tournament:

(the video contains a re-enactment of the match England-Germany)