Bharata Natyam: Style Of Classical Indian Dance

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Bharata Natyam is a style of classical Indian dance that originated in the temple of Brhadeshvar in the area of Tamil Nadu. This style of dance can be traced back to the Natya Shasta, a Sanskrit Hindu text, which was written sometime around the 1st century BCE – 3rd century CE. In this text, written by Bharata, where Bharata Natyam gets its name, is an outline of the different facets of Sanskrit Theatre. Although in the west typically associates theatre with drama, classical Sanskrit theatre encompasses many different art forms such as dance, acting, music and poetry. This book acts as a tool to help draw connections between the classical Indian performance arts and reaching religious enlightenment. Bharata Natyam can also be found referenced …show more content…
These dancers performed for many religious ceremonies and the elite for their weddings. However, during the 1930’s there was a shift in Bharata Natyam traditions. The dance style moved to the performance stage and could be performed and viewed by anybody. Because of this change in rule, Aniruddha Knight is able to continue the traditional style of Bharata Natyam acting as a pseudo-archivist and the leading dancer in the preservation of the ancient tradition. Today many of Bharata Natyam concerts have an informal feel as the audience sits on the floor and children are able to roam freely in the concert …show more content…
When the dancer first enters the room they complete a more embellished version of Namaste otherwise known as a Hindu greeting. They first reach down to touch the floor with their hands, then they touch their eyes, and end by bringing their palms together. Similar to many other styles of Indian dance, there is great importance on the different stances and gestures that the dancer creates. Although the vocabulary of “moves” can be extensive, it allows the dancer to tell a story to the audience through movement. The main stance, is where the performer has their knees bent with their feet facing outward and their torso in good posture. There is also great importance placed on the dancer’s hands. The dancer forms combinations of the 11 different mudras, each of which have distinct meanings, help the dancer tell their story through the upper half of the body.
On their body, the dancer is draped in a sari. This sari is usually woven between the legs to allow the dancer maximum freedom. They also wear a cho li on their upper body which is a type of blouse that matches the colors of the sari. These two articles of clothing are complimented with gold jewelry that is worn as necklaces, armbands, bracelets, anklets and earrings. Their faces are covered in make up with dark eye shadow and lipstick. They also have intricate designs painted on their arms. All of the traditional clothing that the performer

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