By Henry Heinlein

History of Bharatanatyam

Bharatanatyam was created around the 19th century. It is the oldest classical dance. There are four types of Bharatanatyam. Sadir Natyam is a solo dance performed for centuries by devadasi in temples, and in royal courts. Bhagavata Melam is a group dance, a dance performed only by men and about mythology, and this play is from Tamil Nadu a state in india. Kuravanji is also a group dance but performed by women, this dance interprets literary and poetic compositions. Kuchipudi is very similar to Bhagavata Melam, also performed by men and about mythology, but this one is from Andhra Pradesh, a state in India.

Clothing worn

Usually in Bharatanatyam the dancer wears a skirt called the saree. A pyjama style skirt, commonly made of silk. Most of the clothing worn is embroided with gold zari. When the dancer performs a certain move the clothing they wear opens, and reveals an abstract design hidden on the inside of the clothing. Arai mandi and muzhu mandi are two moves that will open up the clothing. Arai mundi is a half sitting position, and muzhu mandi is a position where you are fully sitting. Colors seen often on the dresses are red, gold, green, blue, and orange. The Kanchipuram silk saree is a hand woven dancing dress. It is made of dyed silk yarn, and the designs are sewn in with zari. The semi silk saree is made of semi silk, but is much cheaper than the Kanchipuram.

How to do the dance

This dance is performed mainly by women. There are solo forms of this dance and group forms. There are seven steps to the basic version of Bharatanatyam. Tatta Adavu, bend your knees slightly to both sides then place your hands behind the waist with your palms facing outwards. Natta Adavu, lift the balls of your feet off the ground. Visharu Adavu, get your hands in an arai mandi position then you must move your hands in many directions, side, up, down. TattiMetti Adavu, stand on your toes, then move your heel down to the ground. Teermanam Adavu, must repeat every move 3 times. Sarikal Adavu, the last two moves finish the dance, lift one foot then slide the other foot with the foot in the air. When both heels are on the ground lift the balls of both feet off the ground. KudittaMetta Adavu, the final step, the dancers jump onto their toes, land on their toes then place their heels down.

Did you know?

Did you know that Bharatanatyam was originated in Tamil, Nadu India?

Did you know?

Did you know the contemporary form of Bharatanatyam evolved during the late 18th or early 19th century?
"The seven basic steps of the Bharatanatyam dance" btynydance.weebly
"History of Bharatanatyam". Rangashree.