BharataNatyam – Expressing Music, Rhythm and Dance
Bharatnatyam is considered to be a 2000 year dance form. This form of dance is particularly popular in several South Indian states such as Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Bharatanatyam originated in Tamil Nadu. The origin of this dance form is related to Bharata, an ancient priest who is linked with its origination and “Natyam” meaning theatrical act with religious stories.This form of dance is believed to be revealed by the great Lord Brahma to Bharata. The Bharatanatyam dance is performed in various temples throughout the country. It is one of the most difficult Indian Dance Forms as the performer needs to perform as per the rhythm and music.
There are various formats of Bharatnatyam such as Alarippu, Jathi Swaram, Shabdam, Varnam, Javalis and Thillana. It is believed that Bharatnatyam is mother art of all other classical dances that are performed. This is because all other classical dances are derived from Bharatnatyam. Bharatnatyam basically divides dances into two different forms – Nritta and Nritya. Nritta concentrates on mastery of numerous hand gestures and movement on the other hand the expressions produced by dancer through hand gestures and movements are known is nritya.
It takes years of thorough practice and hard work to master this form of dance. Bala Saraswati is considered as the queen of Bharatnatyam and her efforts have been appreciated throughout the world to popularize the dance. Other dance forms such as Kathak and Kathakali are also derived from Bharatnatyam. The most beautiful part of this dance form is that it is always performed while the knees of the performer are always bent. Many artists have conveyed that while performing they visualize their body as made up of various triangles. There are basically four techniques, Karanas, Hastas, Adavus and Behads, that define the eye and neck movements. It is the most traditional dance style which focuses on philosophy, sculpture, music and literature.
Karanas focuses on 108 key transitional movements of Bharatnatyam. The word Karana means “doing”. In Hastas, there is use of expressive hand gestures divided into two types – Asamyukta and Samyukta.
Bharatanayam is a feminine type of dance which is performed solo. In this, the female dancers perform to the beloved Supreme Being. It explains the theory of lovers separated and then reunited. There is one other type of technique as well – Abhinaya in which there are more spontaneous expressions. Bharatnatyam is literally a combination of styles and Abhinaya.
While performing the dance, artists wear costumes of silk sarees with gold embroidery. One of the other aspects while performing this dance is music. The major instruments used to produce music for this dance are Mridangam and a pair of Cymbals. Over the years this dance has changed a lot but it still remains one of the most difficult classical dances.
Bharatnatyam is known for its beauty and grace which is why this is the most religious dance form. Nowadays, this dance is not only performed at temples but has gained international appreciation as well. Large numbers of foreigners are choosing this dance form. Experts say that this style of dance gives you mental peace which is equivalent to performing meditation. As this style is directly linked to the Supreme Being, religious people are choosing this dance form more and more. Bharatanatyam is also performed in schools and many people have chosen this as their profession because of their love towards the Supreme Being. Government of India has also encouraged the young folks of country to choose this form of dance and perform at international levels so that foreign countries get to know about the Indian culture.
What makes this dance style tough is that the artist wears lots of ornaments made up of shining stones on the neck, ears, hand and head. Artists also wear jasmine garland in the hair and foot trinklet. This dance form not only relaxes you but also purifies the soul as believed by people. In today’s scenario schools and colleges are also trying hard to introduce this dance form into their curriculum. This form of dance shows the strength of women and how beautiful it is when they perform. Bharatanatyam is not only introduced in schools and colleges but there are numerous dance centers which are willing to teach and guide people about this dance form. Many foreigners are also trying to find centers of this dance form in their respective countries. The only hard part of this dance form is that it takes lot of patience and time to learn this art. One should be fully devoted and patient if he or she wants to gain expertise in this form. Over the years, there are also instances when people give up Bharatnatyam because they don’t have that much devotion, patience and most importantly love for Supreme Being. In last decade, the experts of Bharatnatyam have managed to open thousands of dance schools which are engaged in teaching the essence of this dance to the people. Everyone who is learning this dance form from the experts has appreciated for their hard work and patience. The good thing about this dance for is that it is very much affordable and people don’t have to give a thought before practicing it. Nowadays many male dancers are also teaching this dance form to the people. These male dancers have many female dancers working under them. More and more people are willing to learn this dance form. People are highly interested to add Bharatanatyam to their hobbies and some even want to take it as a profession.
Featured Photo by euthman