Bharatanatyam or Bharathanatiyam (Tamil: பரதநாட்டியம்) is a major genre of Indian classical dance that originated in the Hindu temples of Tamil Nadu and neighboring regions. Traditionally, Bharatanatyam has been a solo dance that was performed exclusively by women, and expressed Hindu religious themes and spiritual ideas, particularly of Shaivism, but also of Vaishnavism and Shaktism. Bharatanatyam’s theoretical foundations trace to the ancient Sanskrit text Natya Shastra, its existence by 2nd century CE is noted in the ancient Tamil epic Silappatikaram, while temple sculptures of 6th to 9th century CE suggest it was a well refined performance art by mid 1st millennium CE. Bharatanatyam is quite possibly the oldest classical dance tradition of India. Bharatanatyam style is noted for its fixed upper torso, legs bent or knees flexed out combined with spectacular footwork, a sophisticated vocabulary of sign language based on gestures of hands, eyes and face muscles. The dance is accompanied by music and a singer, and typically her guru is present as the director and conductor of the performance. The dance has traditionally been a form of an interpretive narration of mythical legends and spiritual ideas from the Hindu texts. The performance repertoire of Bharatanatyam, like other classical dances, includes nrita (pure dance), nritya (solo expressive dance) and natya (group dramatic dance). Bharatanatyam remained exclusive to Hindu temples through the 19th century, was banned by the colonial British government in the Indian community protested the ban and expanded it outside the temples in the 20th century. Modern stage productions of Bharatanatyam have incorporated technical performances, pure dance based on non-religious ideas and fusion themes.
what is Bharatanatyam
Bharata natyam is dance form which makes use of the combination of bhava, raga, tala, and natya. It was not solely made for the purpose of seeking pleasure, but in fact, the fabulous dance form had an embodiment of several cosmic relationships and expressions (bhava) emanating from all the worlds. The dance form is pristine and has immense knowledge wherein most ignorant of the individuals will also learn. Bharata natya also emerged as the means to entertain kings and the courts by freely expressing all the moods and passions. The dance was created in the manner wherein, the mediocre, the noble as well as the mean would take on different types of forms and bring in revolutionary changes.