The lyrics used in Kuchipudi are usually in Telugu, though Sanskrit verses are also not uncommon. While Kuchipudi, like Bharata Natyam comprises pure dance, mime and histrionics, it is the use of speech as well that distinguishes its presentation as dance drama.
Kuchipudi dance-dramas, each present a particular episode or a series of episodes. A solo recital, on the other hand, typically consists of such items as the 'Sabdam', 'Bhama kalapam' which is the main item, 'Padams' and 'Tarangams'. In 'Bhama kalapam', the dancer has enormous scope for the dramatisation of characters.
The main character is Satyabhama, a beautiful but arrogant queen who goes through the process of discovering the path of true love and devotion. In the 'Tarangam', the dancer frequently performs balancing feet, her feet poised on the edge of a brass plate as she moves around.