Dappu Dance

is the most common instrument used in Andhra for announcing or publicizing any event. From selling pulses, calling village Panchayats, celebrating rituals and festivals, to processions all events are accompanied by dappu. It is also an accompanying instrument for many folk performing arts, especially the dances.

The dappu is the simplest of traditional percussion instruments. It contains a round, wooden frame made of either udisa or vepa planks with 6" to 8" radius. To one end of this frame is tightly tied skin of a young he-buffalo, a lamb or goat. The preparation of the leather to be used in the making of the dappu is by itself an art, as in case of preparing the skin for making puppets. The "dhup" must have got its name from the sound it gives.

The drummer uses two small sticks to beat the dappu for varying types of sounds. The round stick held in right hand is about 9" long (called sirre), and is the main striking tool. The other stick (called sitikena - chitikena - pulla) is thin and is a little longer. The drummer controls the sound by placing his left palm on the upper edge of the frame and uses the stick with the left hand to control the rhythm using different types of "beating styles" called "debba".

As a dance form dappu has developed its own style. In almost all the castes of the working classes, dappu dance, along with karra samu, is a constant feature. The dancers stop at village centers and show their expertise both in drumming and in dance. They wear a tala-paga (a head-turban), a dhoti, a dhatti and ankle bells as their costume.

Styles The dancers usually move in circular patterns while on stage and in two straight rows while in procession. The styles differ according to the steps or movements of foot called 'adugu'. The styles include steps with side-long moves (ata dappu), two steps, one forward and one backward (okka sira dappu), moving side ways with right leap (samidika dappu), two leaps upwards (madil dappu), moving with one legside-way and the other in a circular way (gundam dappu) etc. Each dance performance starts with a pradhana dappu (invocation) during which the artists move slowly in a circular way.

Kolatam Two important innovations in the dappu dance are the 'kolatam' dappu and songs accompanied by dappu. In kolatam the dancers hold their own dappu under the arm and strike each other's dappu singing a folk song - usually of humorous nature. Some groups also perform acrobatic feats like picking up coins thrown on the ground with their forehead, while playing dappu standing on one leg.

One should see and hear the dappu dancers to believe the different nuances that it can create. In spite of the existence of several other types of drums, none can beat the thrill that dappu can create in the minds and hearts of countless villagers of Andhra even today.

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Folk Dances of Andhra Pradesh, India
Bonalu ssssssssss Dappu ssssssssss Dhimsa ssssssssss Garagalu ssssssssss KarshakaNrityam
Koya ssssssssss Kollatum ssssssssss Lambadi ssssssssss  Mathuri  ssssssssss Pulivesham


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