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Bharatanatyam is a classical dance form of Tamil Nadu. Scroll down to know more about Bharatanatyam Dance of India.

Bharatnatyam Dance Form

Bhratnatyam



Native to Tamil Nadu (a state in Southern India), Bharatanatyam is one of the popular Indian classical dance forms. Previously referred to as Sadir, Dasiattam and Thanjavur Natyam, it demands unconditional and complete dedication from the performer. The dynamic and earthy style of this dance makes it one of the most chosen forms of Indian classical art forms. Although Bharatanatyam is predominantly performed by women, men are also known to engage in it. While the women wear a typical sari in the dance performance, men have bare chest and wear a dhoti-like outfit in the lower part of the body.

History
Bharatanatyam, which we know today, evolved during the late 18th or early 19th century. In the ancient India, the devadasis performed Bharatanatyam (previously known as dasiattam) in various parts of Tamil Nadu. With society losing its values, the art form fell from its supreme position to a 'dance that was performed by shameless people', during 1910-1930s. Nevertheless, the dance regained its lost popularity over the passing years, through the commendable works of renowned Bharatanatyam artists like E. Krishna Iyer. Another prominent name in the dance form is Rukmini Devi Arundale, who played a significant role in modifying mainly the Pandanallur style of Bharatanatyam and bringing it to the attention of the Westerners.

The Steps & Performance
Bharatanatyam is always performed with the knees of the dancers bent. The dance form emphasizes on the hand movements to convey different kinds of emotions to the spectator. While performing Bharatanatyam, the artist visualizes his/her body as made up of triangles. The steps of the dance are based upon a balanced distribution of body weight and firm positions of the lower limbs, allowing the hands to cut into a line, to flow around the body, or to take positions that enhance the basic form. In order to perform Bharatnatyam, the artist should have the knowledge of the numerous subtle features of the dance style.

Four Techniques

Karanas
Described in Natya Shastra, Karanas are defined as the 108 key transitional movements of Bharatanatyam that also feature in other classical dance forms of India. Karana is a Sanskrit word, meaning 'doing'. Classical dancer Padma Subramanyam is well known for her interpretation of Karanas, which predominantly includes the leg, hip, body and arm movements complemented by hasta mudras, as described in the Natya Shastra.

Hastas
The use of expressive hand gestures is a highlighting feature of Bharatanatyam. As the name suggests, hastas are the wide variety of hand symbols used by the performer. Some of the most well known hand gestures of the dance form include Anjali, which is used as a symbol of salutation, when a person greets his/her fellow dancer. Hastas are broadly divided into two types - Asamyukta and Samyukta.

Adavus
Adavus is defined as a series of steps in Bharatanatyam. The execution of the steps is different from style to style. The 108 principals of adavus are recognized by most schools of Bharatanatyam. As many as 60 adavus are used by many professional dancers. Jathis is the combination of adavus and forms the Nritta passages in a Bharatanatyam performance.

Bhedas And Eye Movements
Bharatanatyam is considered incomplete without bhedas and the expressive eye movements of the performer. Neck and eye movements are used extensively in the dance form. The shiro bheda (head movements) comprises of Sama, Udhvahita, Adhomukha, Alolita,Dhutam, Kampitam, Paravruttam, Utkshiptam and Parivahitam.