August 19, 2010

India : Bharatnatyam - A Traditional Indian Dance Form

Bharatnatyam is one of the oldest classical dance forms in India, also known as the fifth Veda. It is usually accompanied by the classical music. This dance form originated from Tamilnadu and has its inspirations from the sculptures of the ancient temple of Chidambaram.

Bharatanatyam comes from the words Bhava (Expression), Raga (Music), Tala (Rhythm) and Natya (Classic Indian Musical Theatre). Today, it is one of the most popular and widely performed dance styles and is practiced by many dancers all over the world.
The performers try to convey a story, an Indian epic most times, through expressions, hand gestures and body movements. They dress in the traditional Indian saris with elaborate jewelery and 'ghungroo' in their feet that makes a sweet ringing sound while the performers move on stage. Red henna 
called 'alto' is applied to palms and feet, mostly to highlight the dancer's movements and gestures on stage. 

One other interesting fact i read on wiki about bharatnatyam was that Bharatanatyam 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), Mohiniattam (element of air), Kuchipudi (element of earth) and Kathakali (element of sky). 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 (see Yoga and Dance).

Photography credits : Rishi O'

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