Bharatanatyam: The Different Forms Of Indian Classical Dance In India

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Classical dance, in general, is defined as a subtle expression of culture, and is supposed to give joy and happiness to any person who practices it irrespective of class, gender, religion, and location. This description, however, is an oversimplification because in reality there are multiple factors that need to be considered while defining classical dance. Indian classical dance includes multiple forms, each associated with a certain theory or region, rooted in religious backgrounds. One of the Indian dance forms, Bharatanatyam, is discussed in this paper. One of the main themes discussed in this paper is the lives of devadasis and their existence in a liminal space. Bharatanatyam is looked upon from both the past and present perspective, …show more content…
She transformed the once scornful and condemned lifestyle of dancers to an aesthetic view with her relentless effort. Today Bharatanatyam is one of the most popular and acclaimed dance forms’ worldwide (Meduri 2004). This shows that the boundaries of caste can be transcended as seen here. In the process of revival, the past has conveniently been overlooked to depict Bharatanatyam as a form of devotion to make it socially acceptable. This has led to a number of experiments with choreography. There have been multiple attempts to show that dance is beyond the boundaries of mythology and religion. Revolutionary choreography today, aims to challenge the mystical aspect of Bharatanatyam (Whitmer 2004). The goal is to show that this form of dance is meant to deliver socially relevant messages and not be confined to the boundaries of religion. These experiments are not fully acceptable in today’s society as the value of an art form is highly undervalued by people …show more content…
With time however, they have started gaining recognition and popularity all over the world. It still holds true that dance forms are culture and region specific as they bear the signs they originated from. Bharatanatyam till date adheres strictly to the Tamil Hindu traditions. The language, poetry, and dress are all very culture specific. Only recently there has been incorporation of poems from other languages like Hindi and Telugu. This proves that slowly bit actually Bharatanatyam has begun to go beyond its region (Pillai 2002). It shows that a dance form can simultaneously be local and global, religious and secular. Its emotive power and storytelling are appealing to the audience universally. However, it is important to realize that erasing the cultural memory attached it by giving it a global appeal is not appropriate. Viewing Bharatanatyam as local and global is part of the blurring process. Modern Bharatanatyam dancers are blending new choreography with traditional steps in a way to extend the boundaries of Bharatanatyam (Meduri 2004). This shows that blurring of boundaries exists in traditional and modern ways practicing Bharatanatyam as well (support with evidence). Classical dances have played a pivotal role in shaping the history and culture of India. Bharatanatyam is a cultural treasure built up through centuries, which even though once rejected as a morally corrupt practice stood through the roller coaster

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