The elegant Bharatnatyam dance from more than 2000 years has been one of the most popular dances in India. Practiced in the southern part in the early years has made its place in the heart of the entire country.
The famous tale associated with the classical dance form goes back to the time of Lord Brahma when he revealed the dance form to a famous sage Bharat who later codified it to Natya Shastra, a Sanskrit text. Being the oldest dance form of India, it was originated in Tanjore district of Tamil Nadu.
A blend of expression, music, rhythm and dance, the dance consists of graceful footwork complimenting the beats of the music.
The Devadasi Culture of Bharatnatyam Dance
Initially performed in Hindu Temples, the sacred dance was a way of offering love to the God. The temple dancers were then known as Devadasis who served the Lord as servants. In South India it became an important part of rituals when performed in the Temples.
While performing the dance form, the role of gestures and expressions are the most important. A dancer can express all the emotions and also the story with her eyes. The expressions have the ability to mesmerize the audience.
Costume and Instruments
The dancers in Bharatnatyam wear a gorgeous costume. The male dancers wear a silk pajama and a jacket where as the female dancer wear a ‘saree’ with a ‘choli’ or blouse. The costume of this classical dance form is adorned with a number of jewelry, specially ‘ghungroo’, a string with small bells. The major attachment is a fan like clothing which compliments the foot movement of the dancer.
The chief musical instruments used in Bharatnatyam are ‘Mridangam’ and cymbals. Other intruments include Violin, Flute, Veena and Ghatam. The classical music also consists of Sanskrit ‘Shlokas’.
The graceful dance of Bharatnatyam holds the beautiful culture of the rich diversity of India and is also termed as the mother of several dance forms.