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P. Senthil Kumar


The name Bharatanatyam is derived from the Sanskrit words describing the essential elements of the dance: “Bhava” (expression), “Raga” (melody), “Tala” (rhythm). “Natyam” simply means “dance.”

Bharatanatyam is the most recognised of India’s seven classical dance styles and is based on a book of teachings about dance written 2000 years ago. The contemporary form of this dance developed during the 18th century.
Bharatanatyam comes from South India, but people all over the world dance it, particularly non-resident Indians (NRIs).
In contrast to Indian folk dances and the cinematic dance, classical styles are based on theory. The Bharatanatyam dances are built step by step following a formula. Dances consist on one hand of the abstract, purely rhythmic dance (nritta) and on the other hand of the expressive narrative dance (nritya, abhinaya), which can be combined (natya).

The abstract part, which the student must master first, is composed of geometric movements, both forceful and graceful at the same time. A good knowledge of the Indian rhythmic system and a feeling for the rhythms is essential. 
The contents of the narrative part of the dance originate from Hindu mythology, literature, and everyday life. Elaborate hand gestures, facial expressions, and the eyes are used as tools to convey emotions and stories and to awaken a particular emotion (rasa) in the audience.
The dance is accompanied by South Indian classical music (carnatic music).

Training starts with learning the basic steps, called adavus, which are later developed into more complicated sequences of movement. The advanced student goes on to learn the expressions he or she will use to create the emotions of the dance. Once he or she has mastered the complete repertoire, the dance training culminates in the “arangetram” – a solo performance which demonstrates one’s abilities as a dancer.

Senthil bharatanatyam dancepose

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