Saturday, January 17, 2015

Bharatanatyam; the Classical dance form of Tamil Nadu

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If the Classical music form Carnatic music can evoke the respective emotion in the listener’s mind, Classical dance form Bharatanatyam can express these emotions in its own terminology of hand gestures, facial expressions along-with body movements and elegant postures. This divine dance form is an embodiment of both act and music that delivers the exact meaning of a theme or narration exasperatingly. Though Bharatanatyam is a temple art originated in Tamil Nadu, today it ranks among the other cultural dance forms of India. Its fame has reached abroad too, from where aspirants come to India to master it.

The main character in a narration is portrayed by means of respective postures. The artist must be competent enough to pose brilliantly in order to reflect the original character illustrated in the narration. Usually, themes selected for the performance are from the epics of Hindu religion, but today discourses from any religion, nation or sociocultural events are also being played in this Classical dance form Bharatanatyam.

The three main elements of this divine dance form are:

Nritta : rhythmic movements
Natya : act or drama
Nritya :combining Nritta and Natya

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The different body movements along-with hand gestures are named as Adavus in Bharatanatyam. Mudras are symbolic gestures performed using hands, fingers and body movements. There are 28 root Mudras in Bharatanatyam that are obtained by combining hands, arms and body movements. The basic Mudra is Pataka hasta that can symbolize the wind, the abode of the gods, a year, a river and various other objects.

The traditional fine costumes play an important role in making this dance form visually appealing and enchanting. The attire of the Deva daasis who used to perform Bharatanatyam beside the deities in temples is what the dancer has to wear. But this contemporary art form allows slightly different changes in the dress to match the theme that is chosen. Usually the female attire is a pajama with blouse made of Kanjivaram silks. A fan shaped piece of cloth is attached to hang from the waist to form pleats during body movements. Male dancers wear a pajama or dhoti, and a small shawl like cloth wrapped around the top inserted within a waist-band.

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The female dancer is ornamented with temple jewelery made of semi precious stones, metals and pearls. If garlands, bangles, ankle bells, ear hangings, ear band, nose ring, finger ring and waist-band ornate the face, hands, legs, neck and the waist, the ornamental Talaisaaman, a headset consisting of the sun, moon and symbols decorate the head. Plaited hair tied to a fringe called Kunjulum with tied jasmine flowers fixed using slides around the Raakodi gives embellishments to the head and hair then. Facial make-up also forms a cucrial part of Bharatanatyam.

The background music called Vaaythari is performed by a Carnatic music singer and the dancer is expected to perform in coordination with the music. The artist should be involved in such high depth that her expressions and movements should feature the theme successfully. This enlightening dance form communicates to the audience about the theme and its characters in a non-verbal form.

Related posts in Hubpages:

1. Bharatanatyam; Indian Classical dance form in its elegance
2. Carnatic music; the Classical music form of South India

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