Just like the Native Americans and New Zealand’s Maori people, the Kakatiya empire that ruled over present day Andhra Pradesh and Telangana between 1083 AD and 1323 AD had its very own warrior dance form – the Perini Sivatandavam.
Reference to the Perini dance can be seen in the intricate sculptures at the 13th century Ramappa Temple near Warangal as well as in a notable dance treatise from the period – the Nritya Ratnavali, written by Kakatiya military general Jayasenapati.
The Perini dance was typically performed by males in the royal courts and temples as a pre-war ritual to seek “prerana” or inspiration from Lord Siva and involves vigorous dancing to the sound of drums. The Perini dance is said to invoke Siva’s powers so dancers feel his energy within them as they prepare for battle.
The Perini dance form flourished during the Kakatiya empire and then nearly died out after the fall of the Kakatiya empire. It was the late Dr. Nataraja Ramakrishna (1923 – 2011) who was responsible for the resurrection of this 700 year old Perini dance form, along with a few other ancient spiritual dances, Agama Nartanams and Navajanardana Parijatam. His Perini Institute in Warangal, created along with the support of other lovers of Telangana art forms, was established at the campus of the Pothana Vignana Mandiram.
For the benefit of participants, their families and friends, a Perini dance performance has been scheduled on the eve of the Go Heritage Warangal run. Stay tuned for more information!