Bharatanatyam is the form of Indian classical dance that originated in the temples of Tamil Nadu. The name Bharatanatyam was earlier known as Sadir. The oldest treatise on the theory of the Indian performing arts is the ‘Natyashastra’ compiled by Bharatha Muni. According to mythology, the gods approached Lord Brahma and urged him to create a fifth veda. It is believed that Lord Brahma took the intellectual content (paathya) from the Rig Veda, the music (gaana) from the Sama Veda, the mimetic art (abhinaya) from Yajur Veda and the emotional content (rasas) from Atharva Veda and asked Bharata muni to fashion the Natya shastra along these lines. According to Bharata’s Natyashastra, the fifth ‘Veda’ was designed “to serve as a resting place for those who are grieved, weary, unhappy or engaged in and arduous discipline; towards bestowing righteousness, renown, long life, fortune, increase of reason, and affording counsel to the world.”
Bharata Natyam is considered to be a fire-dance — the mystic manifestation of the metaphysical element of fire in the human body. It is one of the five major styles (one for each element) that include Odissi (element of water), Kuchipudi (element of earth), Mohiniattam (element of air) and Kathakali (element of sky).
There are 3 divisions in
Nritta, Nritya and Natya. Nritta is a pure dance
without any emotions, expressions or sahityam. It involves adavus ( These are a
Combination of hand movement and feet movement as well as head movements and
eye movements). Nritya has sahityam ( a sentence which means something) ,It has
emotions, expressions and has a meaning shown by the hastas. Nritta involves
all four types of Abinayam. Natya is when a Nritta and Nritya are combined
together with music in the background. This type of dance requires the dancer’s
imagination and initiative to tell a story through abhinaya in dance. They are
– Physical or body movements
– the song being played, poetry
– Ornamentation of a character/dance ex: Jewellery, costume.
– Involuntary movements ex: Trembling, break of Voice, tears.
Importance of learning it
propely & traditionally:
The Natya veda was created by lord Brahma in order to
uplift the people, so that they would lead a dharmic life. The Natya shastra
came to be the fundamental authority of the techniques of classical dance.
Hence it is very important for a dancer to learn
bharatanatyam properly, as it involves all the four Vedas. Learning it properly
in the basic rule level gives a strong foundation for dancers and helps them to
give their best output which would be a good treat to the eyes of the audience.
Banis of Bharatanatyam
Bani or tradition is term
used to describe the dance technique and style specific to the guess/school. These
are named according to the village of the guess (with the exception of some
Pandanallur and Thanjavur
describes the practice of dance in the Thanjavur Royal Court, propagated by the
Thanjavur nattuvanar family, descendants of the Thanjavur Quartet. The
Thanjavur Quartet were four brothers who worked in the early 19th century
Thanjavur Royal Court as musicians and dance composers. They created the
current structure of the margam which is used by all styles of Bharatanatyam.
Meenakshi sundaram pillai, the dance guru who lived in the village of
pandanallur which is in the thanjavur district in the south Indian state of
Tamil nadu.The maintain some of the oldest composition in dance. Pure dance
moments are linear & geometric.
Kalakshetra & Rukmini
from pandanallur Meenakshi Sundaram pillai and made several changes to the
pandanallur bani creating the kalakshetra style. Her earlier training in
ballet with Anna pavlova ‘s dance company impacted her perspective regarding
bharatanatyam and it’s presentation. This style emphasis on correct ,stiff and
sharp movements through intensive training. It has gained reputation as an
international dance centre.
Created by Vazhuvoor
Ramiah Pillai, this style is more feminine, emphasizing laasya over tandavam.
Most traditional performances begin with a Thodaya Mangalam in praise of Gnana
Sabesa, the reigning deity of Vazhuvoor town.
Created by Mangudi Dorairaja Iyer,
who revived Shudda Nritta and Perani (dancing on clay pots). His style eschews
items praising living patrons (thus most of the Thanjavur Quartet repertoire)
and encourages dancers to stamp the floor softly, focusing on the sound created
by the salangai.
About the Guru:
Kaarthikkumaar was born in Chennai, into a renowned business family hailing
from the Karur district. She was educated in Madurai and started her training
in fine arts from a tender age of 3. She started her dance training in
Pandanallur style with Guru Smt. Prema Jayaraman. She then went on to train
with Guru Smt. Kalarani Ramachandran also in the Pandanallur style. It was
under her tutelage that Dharani debuted her Arangetram in the 1995. The
arangetram was presided by Smt. Soundara Kailasam, Shri G.K. Moopanar was the
chiefguest and the dignitaries who graced the occasion were (retd) justice
Ratnam,selvi.S.Leela &Smt. Saradha Nambiarooran . Smt. Soundara Kailasam
conferred upon her the title Natya kalaiarasi for her elegance and expertise in
her debut. After her debut Dharani continued giving performances in prestigious
sabhas like the Narada gana Sabha and other prestigious events.
She then went
on to train the Kalakshetra style under the tutelage of Guru Smt. Mala Raja.
Dharani married into a family of Educationalists and moved to Coimbatore after
her marriage. She continued training in the Kalakshetra style under the
tutelage of Guru Smt. Mrudula Rai. (Director, Shree NatyaNiketan)
also an accomplished Carnatic singer and sings from time to time at temple
festivals out of her passion for singing.
under various gurus for more than 30 years Dharani and assisting her gurus in
teaching younger students, she decided to set up her own dance school, and
started Shree Nrithya Arpana School of Dance at COIMBATORE. Dharani has evolved her own niche
dance style within the pandanallur and kalakshetra tradition. Her mixture of
dance movements and expressions are considered a visual treat for the audience.
Meenakshi Temple, Madurai
Brahadeshwarar Temple, Tanjore
NaradaGana Sabha, Chennai
Krishnan Temple, Udupi
Krishnar Temple, Guruvayur
Chamber of Commerce, Coimbatore
Noyyal Project, Coimbatore
Koniamman Temple, Coimbatore
Azadi Ka Mahotsav, 73 rd Republic day Parade in the presence of the Prime Minister and the Hon'ble President of India.
of Shree Nrithya arpana(SNA) will be trained in the six level examinations
conducted by PRAYATHNAM, Chennai after which they will stage their arangetram
and will be qualified vidhushis after they clear all the six levels. They will
also be trained in nattuvangam
Level - 1 Theory
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