Bharatanatyam is arguably the oldest and most traditional classical dance style which seemas a synthesis of philosophy, sculpture, music and literature. This dance got its name from Sage Bharata who wrote the Natya Shastra.
This dance originated in Tamil Nadu in south of India. Temples in south India abound in sculptures in shrines depicting celestial musicians and dancers, called gandharvas and apsaras. It seems dance and music were central to the lives of not only gods and goddesses, but also to those people who built the temples. Nataraja as the dancing shiva is worshipped in Bharathanatyam as the God of dance.
Cultural historians attribute the dance form to have orginated from the well-known figurine of a young female dancer from Mohenjodaro (ca 2300-1750 BC). Even the texts of the golden age of Tamil literature, known as Sangam Age, testify to the dance tradition flourishing at the time. Came the Pandavas, the Pandyas and the Hoysalas, who not only gave patronage to dance but also built temples with dancing figures carved in stone of pillars and gopurams (gateways). For centuries, dance was performed in temples by devadasis or young girls as oblation at Gods feet.
Bharatanatyam is an energetic dance from wherein the postures and balanced position, i.e. the weight of the body is placed squarely down the centre of the body. There is emphasis on the striking of the floor with the feet. There are jumps in the air as also pirouettes called bhramaris. There are movements done with the knees contacting the floor. These are called mandi adavus.
Baratanatyam can be performed solo or in a group. The pure dance is called nritta and the expressive is nritya. The solo dancer uses various methods of story-telling to interpret the verses and stories she performs. The person who conducts the recital is called the natatuvanar,, who is generally the guru of the dancer. He or the plays the cymbals called nattuvangam. The other musicians are the vocalist, the mridangist or percussion player, of flutist, a violinist and a veena player.
One of the greatest performers of Bharatanatyam has been Balasaraswati who was influential in popularising the dance as much as Rukmini Devi Arundale. Balasaraswati was famous for her soulful renderings of abhinaya or mimetic piece, in which she not only danced but sang as well.
BHARATA NATYAM KATHAKALI KATHAK MANIPURI KUCHIPUDI ODISSI MOHINI ATTAM
BHANGRA DHUMAL ROUF LAMA DANCE PANGI DANCES LOSAR SHONA CHUKSAM RAAS GIDDA DHAMYAL DUPH LAHOOR DHURANG MALI DANCE TERA TALI
BIHU NAGA DANCE HAZAGIRI BAMBOO DANCE NONGKREM THANG-TA KARMA PONUNG BRITA OR VRITA HURKA BAUL KALI NACH GANTA PATUA PAIK DALKHAI
GENDI BHAGORIYA JAWAR GARBA DANDIYA KALA DINDI MANDO
DOLLU KUNITHA DANDARIA KARAGAM KUMMI KUTTIYATTAM
PADAVANI KOLAM LAVA NICOBARESE