Vilasini Natyam Classical Dance, Andhra Pradesh

The Classical dance of the South Indian State of Andhra Pradesh is popularly called Vilasini Natyam. The various genre of the dance form encompass dance operas, court dance and temple dance. Unfortunately, unlike many other classical forms of dance, the Vilasini Natyam dance form did not revive much traction around the time of independence. History reveals two ancient dance forms practised by the Telugu people namely Stree Sampradaayam (dance performed by women) and Purusha Sampradaayam (performed by male). The female dancers were called by numerous names like Vilasini, Bhogini and Swamini. The Kalavantulu encompassed the group of female dancers who gracefully performed the art of dance. Vilasini Natyam represents the legacy of dance and opera of this group.

The dance form (nritya) and acting (abhinaya) of Vilasini Natyam widely gained popularity and the attention of the art lovers. The dialogues of the drama part of the dance were intricately detailed. The dance was performed by the Devdasis. With the demolition of the Devdasi tradition the dance form lost its element of sustenance. The modern rejuvenation of the dance form has taken the form of Vilasini Natyam. It formed an intricate part of ceremony of Agamic worship performed in order to please the deity and gain its grace. The 400 year old Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple in Hyderabad witnesses the performance of the dance form simultaneously with the worship ceremony of the God. Many celebrated artists have performed the worship dance form. Unfortunately, very less documentation of the dance is available. Oral tradition has still kept the virtue of the dance alive.

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