The Style

Bharathanatyam

Bharathanatyam, a 4,000 year old classical Southern India dance style is based on the principles laid down by Sage Bharatha in his manuscript Natya Sastra, the treatise of Indian dance and theatre. The style originated in the district of Thanjavoor (Tanjore) in Tamil Nadu and was practiced and preserved by a class of dancers known as Devadasis who performed it as part of upachara or ritual worship and in temple-related processionals as art, to attract believers to the presence of God. Taking the syllables from the words bhava- referring to mood, raga- referring to melody and thala- referring to rhythm, this dance form is said to have attained the name Bharathanatyam and today it is a world art heritage handed down through centuries by dance teachers called nattuvanars.

Filled with sparkling footwork and a kaleidoscope of movement patterns this art form synthesizes melody and rhythm, painting and sculpture, poetry and theater as the dancer becomes both the sculptor and the sculpted, structuring space in forms both graceful and powerful portraying the statuesque poses of Indian temples. The dancer is the poet, writing poems with movements, gestures and expressions. Ultimately, the dance itself becomes an ecstatic prayer and transforming experience that celebrates the infinite energy, the wonder, the mystery, and the inherent beauty of life. Bharathanatyam demonstrates astounding speed, and succession of flowing body patterns to present an experience that  reveals the original harmony in humanity and nature and uses a universal language to touch and communicate with all levels.

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