A classical dance form originating in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Originally known as sadir, it owes its current name to Krishna Iyer and later, Rukmini Devi Arundale. Bharata could refer to either the author of the Natya Shastra or to a legendary king after whom the country of India was supposedly named Bharatha and natyam is Sanskrit for the art of dance-drama.
It was brought to the stage at the beginning of the 20th century by Krishna Iyer. Bharathanatyam is thought to have been created by the Bharatha Muni, a Hindu sage, who wrote the Natya Shastra, the most important ancient treatise on classical Indian dance. It is also called the fifth Veda in reference to the foundation of Hindu religion and philosophy, from which sprang the related South Indian musical tradition of Carnatic music.
In ancient times it was performed as dasiattam by mandir (Hindu temple) Devadasi's. Many of the ancient sculptures in Hindu temples are based on Bharatha Natyam dance postures. In fact, it is the celestial dancers, apsara's, who are depicted in many scriptures dancing the heavenly version of what is known on earth as Bharathanatyam.
Bharatanatyam is the manifestation of the South Indian idea of the celebration of the eternal universe through the celebration of the beauty of the material body. In Hindu mythology the whole universe is the dance of the Supreme Dancer, Nataraja, a name for Lord Shiva, the Hindu ascetic yogi and divine purveyor of destruction of evil.
Bharathanatyam is considered to be a fire-dance, being the mystic manifestation in the human body of the metaphysical element of fire, is one of the five major styles that include Odissi (element of water), and Mohiniyattam (elementof air). The movements of an authentic Bharatanatyam dancer resemble the movements of a dancing flame.
Contemporary Bharathanatyam is practiced as Natya Yoga, a sacred Hindu meditational tradition by a few orthodox schools.
In India is a term broadly used to describe all forms of folk and tribal dances in regions across India. While Indian classical dance is considered a higher form of art and was practiced in courts, temples and on special occasions, folk dance forms are practiced in groups in rural areas as an expression of their daily work and rituals. They are performed on religious or seasonal festivals. Some of the popular folk dances that are performed across villages and cities are Bhangra,Garba, Kalbelia and Bihu.
Folk and tribal dances are performed for every possible occasion, to celebrate the arrival of seasons, birth of a child, a wedding and festivals. The dances are extremely simple with minimum of steps or movement. The dances burst with verve and vitality. Men and women perform some dances exclusively, while in some performances men and women dance together.
On most occasions, the dancers sing themselves, while being accompanied by artists on the instruments. Each form of dance has a specific costume. Most costumes are flamboyant with extensive jewels. While there are numerous ancient folk and tribal dances, many are constantly being improved. The skill and the imagination of the dances influence the performance.
Kerala Natanam or Kerala Dance is a novel art form evolved from Kathakali and is comprised of nritha (absolute or pure dance) nrithya (dance with music and gesticulations) and natya (dramaturgy) and angika (body gestures), vaachika (verbal), aahaarya (costumes and make up) saatvika (of temperaments and involuntary status) abhinaya (acting), in accordance with the thala mela (rhythm) order of the percussion instruments used in Kerala. The art form of Kerala Natanam was created and composed by Guru Gopinath.
Kerala Natanam is comprised of Nritha, Nrithya and Natya based on traditional Kathakali, without detracting from its basic tenets but has some of its complex involutions and intricacies. Though it has originated or evolved from Kathakali, it is neither Kathakali nor an attempt to reform or redefine it. In simple words Kerala Natanam is a classical dance following rudiments of 'Natya Shastra' and practicing basics of Kathakali techniques.
A classical dance said to have evolved out of the Nattuva Melas. Kuchipudi is the name of a village in Divi Taluq in Krishna District very near Srikakulam, a place where the Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagara Empire ruled. The Brahmins here practiced the dance form. Once Golconda King Abdul Hasan Tanesha camped at Kuchipudi for a night and was so impressed with the dance form that he gifted about 600 acres of land to nine families of Kuchipudi scholars.
Siddhendra yogi is considered as the first scholar who scientifically framed the art. He was responsible for giving shape to the dance drama and also imparting training to the young Brahmins. The yogi reserved this dance for males and called it "Bhamakalapam".
In olden days, a Kuchipudi performance invariable began with the aura built up initially, like a curtain showing up over which a braided plait was thrown. It was like throwing a challenge to any artist or audience to come and defeat the performer of the evening and then claim the plait, by simply cutting it off.
Ornaments worn from Kuchipudi dance were originally made from a light wood called "Boorugu" in Telugu. Shoulder blades, crowns, armlets, arm bands and wristlets were carved out of wood and coloured. But today they have given way to metal ware.
Traditional South Indian dance form Kerala, India. It is a graceful dance meant to be performed solo by women. The term Mohiniyattam comes from the words "Mohini" implying a feeling of warm enchantment and "aattam" meaning graceful and sensuous body movements. The word "Mohiniyattam" literally means "dance of the enchantress".
The dance has influences and elements from two South Indian dance forms, the Bharatanatyam and Kathakali. The dance involves the swaying of broad hips and the gentle movements of an erect torso from side to side. This is reminiscent of the swinging of the palm leaves and the gently flowing rivers which abound Kerala, the land of Mohiniyattam. The costume includes white sari embroidered with bright golden fabric at the edges. The dance follows the classical text of Hastha Lakshanadeepika, which has elaborate description of Mudras (gestural expressions by the hand and fingers).
The vocal music of Mohiniyattam involves variations in rhythmic structure called as choll. The Mohiniyattam dance is performed to this accompaniment by the subtle gestures and footwork of the danseuse. The performer uses the eyes in a very coyish yet sensual manner. The purpose being to enchant the mind without enticing the senses.
The steps and moves of semi-classical dance are not as complex or intricate as pure classical forms. However, the authenticity of the Indian dance form is preserved and students are able to grasp these lighter semi-classical dances easily. Semi-classical dances are fun and fluid.
This type of dance breaks the stylized structures and forms of the classical dance, and adopts a more contemporary feel and steps,. All along the ethos of the basic dance remains intact. Semi classical is the combination of classical dance performed on any Bhajans and Ghazals.