ஞாயிறு, ஆகஸ்ட் 12, 2007
Bharata Natyam as propounded by the Sage Bharata Mamuni of Ancient India spells out the Lakshanas and Mudhras associated with this classical Dance. A eleven year old girl, daughter of my friend in my colony, is heading for her First Performance under the watchful eye of a scholar Guru and enlightened audience very shortly. As I am being invited to the program, I thought of what i knew about Bharatanatyam itself. Thus came this piece of writing. First let us see a demonstration by another dancer and then go over the grammar of Bharata Natyam. Classical Indian dance Please click below: Let us know more about Bharatanatyam. This dance has two essential features: 1. Mudra 2. Nritha and Abhinaya. Mudra" defines the gestures and the body language. Nritta is basically the footwork adopted by the dancer. Abhinaya defines the expressions to show emotional aspects of the song for which the performer dances. Usually a performance of Bharathanatyam commences with pure Nritta pieces and slowly and gradually moves and evolves into more of Abhinaya as the performance progresses. Again "Mudra", Natya refers to the forms of ART exhibited by Hindu Gods.For example, Krishna with a flute, Shanmugha with a Vel, Narasimha with the face of a lion, etc. Raagams (rhythmic scales) and Taalams (the beats that accompany) add luster to the Mudra ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Fundamental attributes of Natya includes movements of hand, eye, head, neck & leg either combined or followed by a few steps which are called adavus . This footwork that demonstrates the emotive facets of the dance form. Usually this is synchronized with the songs sung by the accompanying musicians/Nattuvangam. First comes PUSHPANJALI "Pushpanjali" is a traditional way of beginning a performance. The dancer offers flowers at the feets of Guru seeking his Blessings and through the Guru the Blessings of God and the veterans at the audience. Often the raga Nattai is sung. What follows is ALARIPPU "Alarippu" a pure word of Tamil Literature means “blossoming”. At this stage, the dancer releases his/her body and limbs as if to get ready for the next features. Consisting of basic poses and movements set to a tune and rhythm, Alarippu although brief, expounds the innate and true potential of the dancer. Hence this is a very important part of Arangetram. . (Usual )Raagam: Yamuna Kalyani Taalam: Mishra Chapu (7-beat cycle) Let us now look at JATHISWARAM A presentation rid of emotions. That is devoid of any abhinaya , when, intense and sophisticated sequences of footwork are combined with repetitive musical notes. That is Adavus and Mudras in one Combine. Jathis (rhythms in pieces to match narrated syllables) are enabled to fuse with swaras (which are but musical scores) in a particular raga and tala. One of the Raagas used is Vasantha. NEXT COMES VARNAM. Perhaps a "Varnam" in a dance recital is the longest in a performance. This tests the stamina and skill of the dancer. Varnam is a fusion of stories with jathis. Many varnams are performed with remarkable style and innovativeness. A few are below: Eppo Varuvaro Bhagyadha Lakshmi Baramma Yaaro Ivar Yaaro Theeratha Vilayattu Pillai. Kannanai Kandathundo. Trained Dancers also perform recitals set to Kirthanas of Trinity at this stage. Usually Arangetram does not, in my understanding, include a Kirthana. Then comes JAVALI. Yera Rara - Javali "Javalis" are usually both mudra and abinaya combined and based on Love themes. Then comes Thillana Set to fast and lively movements. There are many Thillanas composed by musicians of name and fame. Last but lasting for ever is Mangalam (The Finale Happy end) Bidding bye to the audience, to thank them, with all the gratitude. Usually, the song is seeking the Blessings to God for welfare and prosperity of the world This is my understanding of a traditional performance of Bharatha Natyam. Readers are invited to share their opinions with us. Readers desirous of understanding the evolution of this Natya Shastra kindly click on the Title of this Article.