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THEATRE IN INDIA

FOLK THEATRE OF TAMIL NADU

KURUVANJI

 

Kuruvanji forms a part of characteristic Tamil literature in poetry and song. The earliest Kuruvanji composed by Thirukutarajappa Kaviyar about 300 years ago was the Kutrala Kuruvanji. Nearly thirty other Kuruvanjis were written after this, and are still current. In most of these Kuruvanjis, the basic theme revolves around a heroine who is a Goddess, a princess, or a woman of a good family who is in love with a God, a good king, or a virtuous nobleman respectively. The Kuruvanji or the gipsy is the other important character who is introduced as the fortune-teller and foretells whether or not the heroine will win the love of her beloved. The various Kuruvanji subjects include the Kutrala, the Viraimalai, the Alagar, the Chitrambala and the Sarabhoji Kuruvanjis.

The Kuruvanji is performed in dance ballet form with Bharatanatyam techniques. A number of very fine select pure dance sequences (Nritta) and Abhinayam are utilized with excellent Adavu-jati modes by the gipsy dancer. These have a lilting rhythm and are of a lighter classical vein appropriate to her character and personality, which are gay and charming.

 Gifted and dedicated Nattuvanars and dancers have been presented this style of dance drama. The Kuruvanji dance ballets were most successfully performed by Pandanallur Meenakshisundaram Pillai's troupe, Nattuvanar Sri Dhandayudhapani Pilai, Rukmani Devi Arundale, Balasaraswati, Mrinalini Sarabhai, the Nrityodaya troupe of Madras and the Tamil Isai Sangam under the direction of the renowned musicologist Prof. P. Sambamoorthy.

 

 



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