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GenreIndian classical dance
OriginAndhra Pradesh, India

Andhranatyam is a dance in the Nattuva Mela tradition, one of the two ancient dance traditions in India. Natya Mela which is performed by men, and Nattuva Mela which women perform.

Andhranatyam, the ancient classical temple dance of Andhra which has been in vogue for the past 2000 years. It was performed in the Buddhist Aramas, temples, and royal courts by the cultured and dedicated female artists. Andhranatyam is formerly known with different names like Aradhana, Kacheri, Darbar,  Kelika, Chinna Melam, Mejuvani, and Dasi Ata, etc.

Unlike other female dances like Bharatanatyam, temple, and court dances, Andhranatyam had become inert at one point in time. It was later revived in 1970 and is being propagated for the last 50 years at national and international platforms, particularly in the Telugu-speaking regions

The Repertoire

Andhranatyam includes beautiful, delicate body movements with graceful gestures and slenderness of the Kaisiki Vritti, performed by the female artists. It has Agama, Asthana, and Prabandha styles in it. It is performed in Marga tradition in temples as prescribed in Agama sastras. With a tinge of the Desi tradition, it is performed in the classical style in temple asthanas and courts of kings called Kacheri, Darbar ata, etc. The Prabandha style is famous for its classical regional rendition with lokadharmi.

Andhranatyam is a combination of Agama, Asthana, and Prabandha traditions, which a female artiste can showcase on the same stage and in the same performance. It is an Eka Patra Kelika, i.e. a solo performance by a female artist. It has been designed and is being depicted as one of the earliest female-oriented dance traditions, with a well-knit repertoire to suit the modern theatre.

The distinct feature of Andhranatyam is the process that depicts the ancient tradition to suit the current stage. The repertoire contains the three traditions: Agama nartanam, Asthana nartanam, and Prabandha nartanam.

Agama Nartanam

Agama Nartanam, also called as Temple Dance. This form of repertoire is dedicated to the temple deities and performed in the temples. The usage of traditional Kumbha Harathi as a part of the worship to the God is done.[1]

In addition to the items in the image to the right, the following items are also performed:

  1. Kauthams
  2. Kaivarams
  3. Ashtadikpalaka Aaradhana
  4. Navasandhi
  5. Adhyatma Ramayana Keerthanas, etc.

Asthana Nartanam

This form of the repertoire is performed in King's courts[1]

In the Asthana sampradaya, selected items like Sabda, Swara, Sahithya Pallavis, Sabdam or salam jatis, Padavarnams, Padams, Javalis, Slokas, etc are performed. Asthana kelika in a temple is different from a kelika in the court of a king. According to the king’s taste, the former leads the audience towards spiritualism, whereas the latter is for entertainment for kings, scholars, intellectuals, and others. Saatvikabhinayam predominates in the depiction of Padam. Slokabhinayam is unique to the version of "Anvayam." Padyams are also performed as part of the repertoire.

Prabandha Nartanam

This form of repertoire is performed in public places used as a method for story telling.[1]

Kalapams are performed as part of the Prabandha nartanam. The Kalapams are Bhamakalapam, Gollakalapam, Radhamadhavam, etc. In Nattuva Mela tradition, the Bhamakalapam was performed for nine nights outside the temple and called Navajanardhana Parijatham. Earlier it was performed for nine consecutive nights at Kunti Madhava Temple by Late Pendyela Satyabhama and artists from the same family of Pithapuram.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Repertoire | Andhra Natyam". Andhranatyam-Perini.