Andhra Natyam is an ancient traditional dance form which originated as a temple dance and dates back to over 2000 years. Its early forms can be traced back in the Buddhist era. Similar in style to Bharatanatyam
, it is based on Nandikesa's 'Abhinaya Darpana' and Bharata's ‘Natya Shastra'. For those who are not well versed in dance forms, it appears to be a combination of Bharata Natyam and
Andhra Natyam has its own style and identity: It combines the 'Lasya' tradition of female dance and the male warrior dance called Perini. The dancers adopt rapid footsteps and focuses to summon Lord Shiva. All the songs and verses are set is the language
Telugu to the Carnatic music tradition.
Unlike the original version, the present Andhra Natyam is performed with stylish costumes, makeup, ornaments and orchestra.
'Agma Nartana' performed in the temples, 'Carnatakam' performed in the royal courts and 'Darbari Attam' performed in the courtyards of temples for the common man are some variants of this dance form.
Andhra Natyam was practiced as 'Nruthyam' - a form of worship to God, during the period of 'Hinayana' (Lesser vehicle) Buddhism.