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Bharatanatyam Forms



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

  1.  Pandanallur
  2. Vazhuvur
  3. Thanjavur
  4. Mysore
  5. Kanchipuram
  6. The modern Kalakshetra is an offshoot of the Pandanallur and Thanjavur styles.
  7. The Balasaraswathi style is also a more recent introduction.
  8. Most recently , Dr.  Padma Subramaniams school, claiming to be the one which faithfully reflects the techniques described in Natya Sastra, calls itself Bharathanatyam.
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