Author: A Compilation
Publisher: Centre for Cultural Resources and Training
ISBN/UPC (if available): N/a
This package of 24 color illustrations on art paper with a book on Bharatnatyam , one of the classical styles of Indian dance considered to be over 2000 years old. Several texts beginning with Bharata Muni's Natya Shastra 200BC - 200 AD provide information on this dance form.
Nurtured for centuries, dance in India has evolved in different parts of the country its own distinct style taking on the culture of that particular region, each acquiring its own flavor. Consequently a number of major styles of ‘art’ dance are known to us today, like Bharatnatyam, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Manipuri and Odissi. Then, there are regional variations, the dances of rural and tribal areas, which range from simple, joyous celebrations of the seasons, harvest of birth of a child to dance of the propitiation of demons or for invoking spirits. Today there is also a whole new body of modern experimental dance.
Bharatnatyam dance is known to be ekaharya, where one dancer takes on many roles in a single performance. In the early 19th century, the famous Tanjore Quartette, under the patronage of Raja Serfoji are said to have been responsible for the repertoire of Bharatnatyam dance as we see it today. The style was kept alive by davadasis, who were young girls gifted by their parents to the temples and who were married to the gods. The devadasis performed music and dance as offerings to the deities, in the temple courtyards. Some of the renowned performers and gurus of the early part of the 20th century belong to the devadasi families, a well-known name is Bala Saraswati.
As a solo dance, Bharatnatyam leans heavily on the abhinaya or mime aspect of dance—the nritya, where the dance expresses the sahitya through movement and mime. Shabdam follows the jatiswaram in a Bharatnatyam dance performance. The accompanying song is generally in adoration of the Supreme Being.