What is Bharatanatyam? Bharatanatyam
is the oldest classical dance form originating in Tamil Nadu,
Bharatanatyam consist of?
The true essence
of this dance form can be understood by breaking down the
term Bharatanatyam into different parts - BHA - Expressions
& Moods or Bhavana, RA - Melody or Raga, Ta
- Rhythm or Taal, Natyam - Dance.
In other words, the Bharatanatyam
dance form is a beautiful amalgamation of dance movements,
expressions, music, mime & moods which derives its structure
from the rules specified in the "Natya Shastra"
written by Bharata Muni.
It is believed that Bharatanatyam dates back to more than
2000 years. Besides this belief, there are several other stories
which are associated with the origin of Bharatanatyam. One
common belief is that Bharatanatyam was performed during the
earliest days by women who served the temples & worshipped
& praised the Gods with their dance. They were better
known as DEVADASIS or female servants of Gods. Their
was accompanying classical music too which was played by musicians.
Devadasi System Under
the devadasi system, the dance was handed over from one generation
to another and that is how the dance form continued to exist.
Later, with the advent of the Mughal rule, Bharatanatyam slowly
found its way to the palaces of kings and queens. It is believed
that the early part of the 20th century saw the revival of
this rich dance form primarily due to the efforts of some
elite, educated individuals of India.