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Bhrathantayam -

General Background:

This classical dance form originated in Tamil Nadu, a southern state of India. This dance has been used in a plethora of ways, but its purpose is to depict Hindu religion and themes such as Shaktism and Vaishnavism. This dance is performed by women and men.The origins of this dance trace back to the 2nd Century CE, as it is known to be the oldest dance of India. Ancient Hindu messages can be drawn from the complex hand and facial gestures made during this dance. Typically, a singer is present performing during the dance.

Definitions for clarification:

Guru- Teacher

Adavus- footwork /steps

Kirthis- Dance items

Jathis- Combination of footwork and hand movements

Natya- Drama

Nritta- Pure Dance

Nrittya- The combination of the  drama and pure dance components of dance

The Learning Process:

Bharatanatyam is very similar to Kuchipudi. There are three parts of the dance, the Nritta, the Natya, and Nritya. There is no set syllabus to learn the art form as it varies from guru to guru on how they teach their students. The final performance is called an arihantanam where the students performers a piece showing all the skills she learned and thanking his or her guru.

The general outline to learn the dance is:

  • First: The Adavus are learned. Adavus means the steps, footwork, for the dance.

  • Second: The Jathis is learned. Jathis is a combination of footwork and hand movements.

  • Third: the Krithis are thought, which are combinations of the Jathis learned to form a choreographed dance.

Bharathanatyam: Intro

Special thanks to Smriti Suresh, a Bharatnatyam dancer of 15 years, for providing information about this form of Indian classical dance.

Bharathanatyam: Watch
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