© 2010 Divya Krishnan & Swathi Krishnan
Bharatnatyam is an exquisite classical dance style of South India that traces its roots back to more than 2000 years ago. Bharatanatyam is poetry in motion. The main features of Bharatnatyam are Bhava (expression), Raga (melody), and Tala (rhythm). Its origins go back to the ancient temples of south India and derives from the word ‘Bharata’. Much of this dance and other arts form have their origin in the ancient Indian treatise called the ‘Natya Shastra, written by Sage Bharata thousands of years ago.
The legendary dancer Balasaraswati stated about Bharatanatyam, "the Bharatanatyam recital is structured like a great temple. We enter the gopuram (outer tower) of Alarippu, cross the ardha mandapam (halfway hall) of Jatiswaram, then the mandapam (great halls) of Sabdam, and enter the holy precinct of the deity in Varnam. We dance to the Padams, experiencing the containment, cool and quiet as entering the sanctum…then the Tillana breaks in to movements like the final burning of incense accompanied by a measure of din and bustle. In conclusion the devotee takes to his/her heart to the God he has so far glorified. The dancer completes the traditional order by dancing to a simple devotional verse."