Indian Classical Dance - Bharatanayam

Bharatanatyam Dance

Bharatanatyam is a classical Indian dance form originating in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Bharatanatyam, as the name depicts is the combination of:

'Bha' - Bhavam (means expression),

'Ra' - Ragam (means music),
'Ta' - Talam (means beat or rhythm) and
'Natyam' - (means dance) in Tamil.

Bharatnatyam has three distinct elements to it:
- Nritta (rhythmic dance movements),
- Natya (mime, or dance with a dramatic aspect) and
- Nritya (combination of Nritta and Natya).

Bharatnatyam is considered to be a fire-dance; the mystic manifestation of the metaphysical element of fire in the human body. It is one of the five major styles (one for each element) that include
- Odissi (element of water)
- Kuchipudi (element of earth)
- Mohiniattam (element of air) and
- Kathakali (element of sky or aether).

The movements of an authentic Bharatanatyam dancer resemble the movements of a dancing flame.
Contemporary Bharatanatyam is rarely practiced as Natya Yoga, a sacred meditational tradition, except by a few orthodox schools.

At present, Bharatnatyam recitals are usually not performed inside the temple shrine but outside it, and even outside the temple compounds at various festivals. Most contemporary performances are given on the stage with a live ensemble.

Bharatanatyam dancers wear a unique set of jewelry known as "Temple Jewelry" during the performance.

Dancers wear anklets called ghungru, made of rope or leather with rows of sleigh-like (traditionally copper) bells attached on the anklet. The accompanying music is in the Carnatic style of South India.
















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