Bharatanatyam on WordPress.com
- Javaha (agility),
- Sthirathvam (steadiness),
- Rekhacha (graceful lines),
- Bhramari(balance in pirouettes),
- Drishtir (glance),
- Shramaha (hard work),
- Medha (intelligence),
- Vacho (good speech), and
- Geetam (singing ability
- white specks in the apple of the eye
- scanty hair
- thick lips
- pendant breasts
- too fat body or
- too thin,
- too tall or
- too short
- hoarse or voiceless.
- Vazhuvoor (or Vizhuvur)
- Thanjavoor (or Tanjore)
- the feet are not stamped hard against the floor
- a complex variety of sounds are produced by anklets
- the items that were dedicated to medieval kings or patrons are not performed
- natural (spontaneous) and highly expressive abhinaya
- wide amplitude of movements
- emphasis on sringara bhakti
- emphasis on crisp adavus, accuracy of jathis / gathis,
- fluid variations of patterned korvais
- dramatic elements (characterisation)
Bharata natyam bharatanatyam
- original methods of application of principles of “loka dharmi” and “natya dharmi”
- its deep sitting positions
- its lasya (feminine dance style) of padams is rather slow and difficult to perform
- it is performed on three levels: in deep sitting positions, on the ground, in standing positions and while moving or jumping.
- wide range of dancing pace
- static postures are inserted, most often in the tillana, to break the monotony and to add the variety of rhythms
- softer facial abhinaya
- abhinaya is subtle with more natyadharmi (spontaneous expressions), so the presentation is not “overdone”
- the adavu’s flow smoothly, with rare abrupt movements
- extremely elaborate movements
- deep sitting positions
- variety of positions on the floor
- rich sringar elements
- lasya dominates tandava
- the dancer’s body from the waist up is stlightly bent forward
- leaps are introduced into every jati
- the jati’s have more korvais (intervals), which creates a suspense effect
- performance begins with a Thodaya mangalam in honour of Lord Gnana Sabesar of Vazhuvoor
- the dancer starts the performance while entering the stage from the wings
- with well-rounded breasts,
- capable of keeping time (following the rhythm)
- splendidly dressed
- of a happy disposition.
Bharatanatyam steps (adavus)
Bharatnatyam depicts different aspects of the Nayika bhava. Mugdha describes a woman inexperienced in love. Madhya partly experienced in love. Pragalbha mature in the art of love. This Pragalbha Nayika is further classified as Dheera , Adheera or Dheeraadheera.
Sweeya refers to a woman that is married and faithful to her husband (necessities and duties of the material existence). Parakeeya is married but in love with her paramour (the Divine). Samanya is the woman who belongs to any man for a price. Jyeshta is the “preferred one”. Kanishta means “the other woman”. Characters are classified as Uttama (self-controlled and noble), Madhyama (the middling) and Adhama (the low), who has no self-restraint.The Nayika shares her feelings with her companion, sends messages through her to the nayaka. The companion will settle down the quarrels between the nayika and the nayaka. The companion characters are: Dasi (servant), Sakhi (friend), Kaaroo (lower caste woman), Chatriya (step-sister), Prativamshini (neighbor), Lindini (saint), Shilpani (artist), Swaa (nayika herself as a messenger).Nayaka Bhava The moods and emotions of the hero are represented by the main types. Dheerodaatta (such as Rama), Dheeroddhata (such as rakshasa Ravana), Dheeralalita (such as Vatsaraaja), Dheerashanta (such as Buddha).Bharatanatyam dancer pays attention to further aspects: Pati (married and faithful to his wife), Upapati (married but in love with his paramour), Vaisika (one who pays and enjoys women). Nayaka can be: Anukoola (faithful to one woman), Dakshina (loves all his women), Drishta (rejected, pleads to be accepted by his woman), Shatha (the deceitful one, such as Krishna). Nayaka’s companion characters are:Peetamardhana, Vita, Cheta and Vidooshaka.
Styles of Bharatanatyam
Bharata-natyam styles that are over 150 years old are not many. The best-known among these are:
The distinctive characteristics of the Melattur style of Bharatnatyam are:
The Pandanallur style of Bharata-natyam stresses:
The Vazhuvoor style of Bharata natyam includes:
The modernKalakshetrastyle is a simplified form based on Pandanallur and, to some extent, Thanjavoor styles. TheBalasaraswatistyle, although derived from the authentic devadasi traditions, was still a relatively recent introduction. Note that, most recently, Dr.Padma Subramaniam’s school, claiming to be the one which is the most faithfully reflects the techniques described in Natya Shastra, is calledBharatanrityam.
Bharata natyam can be practised as a hobby or as a professional career. In the ancient scriptures, a professional Bharatnatyam danseuse was called “patra”. The AbhinayaDarpana’s stanza on Patra Prana Dasha Smrutaha (10 the ten essentials) of the professional dancer mentions these qualities:
Bharatanatyam dancer, according to Abhinayadarpanam
M ore details are given by Natya shastra (XXVII.97-98). Bharatanatyam dancers are considered inferior if they exhibit any of the 10 blemishes:
Bharatanatyam recitals, items and arangetrams
Bharatanatyam performances are usually structured in either the Thanjor-Quartet format,margam(path), or a devadasi format. The graduation/debut performance iscalled Arangetram(“entering the stage”).Another name for it is Rangapraveshain Kannada. It used to be the first public appearance of the Bharatanatyam dancer, but now one can find even 5-year-old dancers performing “arangetrams”.At an Arangetramthe guru introduces his student to the public. 7-12 years of full-time training is necessary before the Bharatanatyam student is ready for Arangetram. Arangetram used to be referred to asGejjepooje( worshiping the jingles ) in the Mysore district. Bharata-natyam dancer considers jingles as divine. Students did not wear jingles (salangai) till their debut performance or till they consecrated the jingles at the Salangai Pooja that nowadays often precedes Arangetram.
Bharatanatyam dancer’s orchestra most often consists of a vocalist, a mridangam (drum) player, a veena, a flute, a violin player and the natuvanga (cymbals). Other instruments such as morsing are optional. Typically, the orchestra sit on the left side on the stage. The Bharatanatyam artiste wears a set of temple jewellery, make-up and a tailor-made costume.
Arangetrams can last up to 3 hours, and is a test of the dancer’s stamina and concentration. Bharata-natyam recitals usually are split into 2 parts. The first typically contains such items as Pushpanjali ,Kautuvam,Alaripu , Jatiswaram , Shabdam , Varnam . In the second the dancers often perform
Padam ,Ashtapadi , Devaranama , Tillana ,Mangalam Bharatanatyam dancers in Pushpanjali pay obeissance to the Devas (usually Nataraja or Vinayaka), the guru and the rasikas (spectators). This is a n opening, warm-up item. Bharatanatyam dancers perform pure nritta in Alaripu. There are movements performed for rhythmic syllables (sollus). The movements gradually grow more and more complex, and the dancer concentrates deeper and deeper. The Bharatanatyam steps here resemble a bud opening into a full blossom. There is no verbal message communicated in this Bharatanatyam item that has no musical tune (raga). Bharata-natyam artiste performs the movements in Jatiswaram, as these are devoid of any mental meaning or theme that can be verbally expressed. The steps grow more complex than in the previous items. The choreography can include static postures, teermanas or muktayas (ending in a jathi). This Bharatanatyam composition is set to a raga (tune). Bharatanatyam items of Shabdam include nritta and abinaya, and the themes of the lyrics usually are devotional. The movements in these Bharatnatyam compositions may be either leisurely or vigorous. It the beginning, emotions are subdued, then gradually released in a measured way.
Bharata natyam dancers perform Varnam next, where their abilities to perform abinaya and nritta are tested throughout very complex steps, movements, and expressions that require stamina and concentration. The lyrics in varnams are typically devotional, but can also haveshrigara rasaor other rasas as its theme. Padams are the benchmarks of the Bharata-natyam dancer’s abhinaya skills. It depicts the nuances of the divine love, pangs of seperation in love, etc., where theNayaka-Nayikarelationships are explored. For example, the heroine can talk to her companion ( as sakhi ) and convey her feelings towards her hero. The starting tempo is slow. Bharatanatyam repertoire sometimes includes ashtapadi, based on Jayadeva’s Geetagovinda . These are romantic compositions that describe Krishna’s and Radha’s love in 12 cantos containing 24 songs. Each Canto is named according to Krishna’s mood:
Saamodadamodara (Joyful), Aakleshakeshava (care-free), Mugdhamadhusoodhana (bewildered), Snigdhamadhusoodhana (tender and affectionate), Saakankshapundareekaksha (longing), Kuntavaikunta (indolent), Naagaranaaraayana (cunning), Vilakshalakshmeepatihi (bashful), Mandamukunda (languishing ), Chaturachaturbhuja (shrewd and wise), Saanandadamodara (blissful), Supreetapeetambara (ecstatic). For the successful performance of these Bharatanatyam compositions, the dancer’s grace and delicate facial expressions (mukha abhinaya) are paramount. The Bharatanatyam artists have to demonstrate their understanding of the lyrics , the situations, the interactions and the rasas. Bharatanatyam items occasionally include Devaranama, devotional pieces meant for a pure abhinaya, with hardly any nritta. These Bharata natyam songs are usually the compositions of great mystics ( Purandharadaasa, Kanakadaasa, Vijayadaasa, Vyasaraaja , etc). Such compositions are popularly referred to as Daasa Sahitya, as theyare written in plain language to be understood by everyone. Bharatanatyam recitals often end in Thillanas, which are relatively new types of items, created in 20th century. Tillana s are full of nritta, with complex movements and postures, MuktayasorSholkattu . This Bharatanatyam piece usually has acharana , a meaningful piece of lyrics with an abinaya passage. Bharatanatyam arangetrams or other programmes always end with Mangalams where the Bharata natyam artists again thank god, guru and the audience for making the performance a success.In Tanjore Quartet’s concept, a Bharatanatyam programme’s format is meant to resemble the structure of a Hindu temple: in alarippu the dancer passes through the gopuram (outer gate), then in jatiswaram crosses the ardhamandapam (midway hall), in sabdam passes through the mandapam (great hall of worship), and finally enters the heart of the temple in the varnam. Bharathanatyam is an attempt to embody the divine beauty, charm, rhythms and symbols that exist in heaven.Bharatanatyam is a means of spiritual elevation both for the dancer and the audience.. . .