WHAT IS BHARATANATYAM DANCE? The Bharatanatyam Dance of Tamil Nadu is the oldest Classical Dance form of India.
What Does Bharatanatyam Consist?
The true essence of Bharatanatyam is understood by breaking down the term Bharatanatyam into distinct parts.
BHA – Expressions & Moods or Bhavana, RA – Melody or Raga, Ta – Rhythm or Taal, Natyam – Dance.
In other words, the Bharatanatyam dance form is a beautiful amalgamation of dance movements, expressions, music, mime & moods. And these structures are derived from the rules specified in the “Natya Shastra” written by Bharata Muni.
Evolution and Popularity of Bharatanatyam Dance
Bharatanatyam dates to more than two thousand years. And there are several stories associated with its origin.
According to common belief, Bharatanatyam dance from the state of Tamil Nadu was performed during the earliest days by women. These women served the temples and worshipped as well as praised the Gods with their dance.
They were known as DEVADASIS or female servants of Gods. And accompanying classical music was played by the musicians.
The Devadasi System
Under the devadasi system, the dance was handed over from one generation to another, and that’s how the dance form continued to exist.
Later, with the advent of the Mughal rule, Bharatanatyam slowly found its way to the palaces of kings and queens.
According to widespread belief, the early part of the 20th century saw the revival of this rich dance form. And it was primarily due to the efforts of some elite, educated individuals of India.
Today, there are many renowned Bharatanatyam dancers, keeping the glory of Bharatanatyam dance intact. Bharatanatyam students are dedicated to learning this age-old dance form, continuing to charm its spectators.
ALSO READ: Kathakali, Classical Dance from Kerala
Theme and Music of Bharatanatyam Dance
During a Bharatanatyam performance, the choice of music is Classical Carnatic. Some of the most common themes of the dance include stories and tales from the epics, Puranas and revolving around Indian Mythology.
Bharatanatyam Dance Costumes
The female Bharatanatyam dancers wear beautiful costumes made of silk. The pleats in the front of the sari and the fan-shaped, gathered sari near the waist are some of the essential elements of this dance costume.
The dancer adorns several gold ornaments including the headwear, neckpieces, earrings, arm ornaments, bangles, waistband, and ghungroo’s (ankle bells) etc.
ALSO READ: Kuchipudi Dance of Andhra Pradesh
Famous Bharatanatyam Dancers
Some of the well-known masters of Bharatanatyam Dance include
Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai
Contributions are Invited – Are you a Bharatanatyam Dancer? To add greater value to this page, we invite you to contribute your picture in your traditional Bharatanatyam dance costume for inclusion on this webpage.
We’ll add your name under the picture as a token of thanks (Courtesy:) Email us at [email protected]