Bharathanatyam is the foremost dance forms of India . It has various names like Sadir, Dasiattam and later it was named as Bharathanatyam . It is based on Bharata`s Natya Sastra, but has undergone modifications since. Bharathanatyam has a geometrical way of presentation with symmertrical lines and proportion . The present day Bharathanatyam recital consists of one or more of the following items [as they are called ]
Pushpanjali : A floral salutation to Mother earth, Gods , the Guru , the musicians and the audience.
Alarippu : A simple rhythmic piece set in three speeds [Vilambam, Madyamam and Drutham]
Kauttuvam : A simple praise on any God –combination of syllables and lyrics.
Jatiswaram : A rhythmic piece interspersed with Jathis and swaras.
Sabdam : Popularly known as Yashogetham it forms a prelude to the abhinaya aspect in Bharathanatyam.
Varnam : As the name indicates Varnam means colours . Varnam gives an excellent combination of Nritta and Abhinaya exhibiting a wide variety of emotions. The forms the crux of the Bharathanatyam repertoire.
Svarajati : It has combination of Jathis, Swaras and Lyrics.
Padam : A purely Abhinaya piece exploiting the different shades of Nayika and Nayaka.
Kirtanam : This is usually full of Bhakthi bhava and it is interlinked with small adavu combinations to increase its charm.
Javali : An expressional piece set in fast tempo usually composed in colloquial language.
Ashtapadi : An item based on the great text written by Jayadevar. It explains the union of Krishna and Radha.
Thillana : The concluding piece of a Bharathanatyam recital with complicate nritta patterns.
Mangalam : The final benediction offered.
There are several original Bharathanatyam styles namely
- The modern Kalakshetra is an offshoot of the Pandanallur and Thanjavur styles.
- The Balasaraswathi style is also a more recent introduction.
- Most recently , Dr. Padma Subramaniams school, claiming to be the one which faithfully reflects the techniques described in Natya Sastra, calls itself Bharathanatyam.