Friday, August 21, 2009

Features of BharatNatyam

Technique & Theme

Bharat Nãtyam is basically a solo dance which includes both the aspects -
'nritta' (pure steps) as well 'abhinaya'(expressions) in equal measures.
The meaning of lyrics of the song that the dancer dances to, is conveyed to the audience with the help of hand gestures and facial expressions. It mostly has a love theme but is devotional. The dancer represents the devotee, an eternal 'nãyikã'(heroine) who is seperated from her lover the eternal nãyaka(hero), none other but the diety/God and earns to be united with Him. Hence the themes are based on the stories of Krishna, Rãm, Vishnu, Shivã, etc who are worshipped, being Gods.

Basic Posture

The distinctive feature of BharatNatyam is its basic stance or the posture, called the 'Araimandi' or 'Ardhamandali'. It is the half sit position where in, the body is broken up in a series of triangles. The first triangle is formed by a line joining the the two outstretched knees, as the base and the heels as its apex. Similarly the second triangle is formed by the line joining the two outstretched knees as the base and the waist as the apex. Third triangle is formed with waist being the apex and the line joining the shoulders being the base. This position is very imperative in BharatNatyam and the entire dance is carried out in this position with a few exceptions.


Bharat Nãtyam is based on Carnatic Music (South Indian Classical Music). It has a rigid and a well defined Tãl structure and a Rãga system. The accompanying artists are equally important and it requires a great deal of co-ordination and understanding between the musicians and the dancer.


Bharat Nãtyam Recital has a definite tradional order of the items that are performed, called as 'Mãrgam'. This format was framed by the Tãnjore Quartette (Chinniah, Sivanandam, Ponniah and Vadivelu) - the four court musicians of the time of King Sarfoji (1798-1832). And till today, this basic format is taught in the same pattern.

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