Last Spring, I spent a semester studying Kuchipudi dance in India. Kuchipudi is the dance form that originated in the state of Andhra Pradesh, home of the University of Hyderabad. The dance department there has practical dance courses in the Kuchipudi and Bharatnatyam techniques as well as lecture classes on the history of Classical Indian Dance. I took a practical course with other Americans and a graduate course on the textual tradition of Kuchipudi. We ended the semester with a cultural showing which included performances by the language classes, sitar, tabla drums, and Kuchipudi. The whole experience was so cool. We spent the day doing hair, makeup, and costumes which actually did take the entire day. First came the makeup which was very detailed and very thick. Next came the hair pieces and waist long braids, which was a lot of extra weight to carry. After a minor fiasco with the costumes, we were suited up and sent off to jewelery. Finally came the henna on our hands and feet then a prayer and puja to Vishnu.
(p.s.-I’m the one in blue in the center!)
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by Caroline Martin, senior Dance major