Bharatanatyam Classical Dance

May 28, 2024 - 12:11
May 28, 2024 - 12:16
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Bharatanatyam Classical Dance
Bharatanatyam Classical Dance
Bharatanatyam Classical Dance

Bharatanatyam Dance in India

Bharatanatyam is one of the most revered and widely practiced classical dance forms in India. Originating from Tamil Nadu, it has a rich cultural heritage and is a blend of bhava (expression), raga (music), tala (rhythm), and natya (dramatic art). Here's an overview focusing on its significance, learning process, and scope for students:

Significance and Cultural Context

  1. Cultural Heritage: Bharatanatyam is deeply embedded in Indian culture and is considered a spiritual and physical discipline. It was traditionally performed in temples as a form of worship and storytelling.

  2. Artistic Expression: This dance form combines intricate footwork, expressive hand gestures (mudras), and elaborate facial expressions to convey stories, often derived from Hindu mythology and scriptures.

  3. Global Recognition: Bharatanatyam has gained international acclaim and is performed worldwide. It serves as a cultural ambassador of India, showcasing its rich artistic traditions.

Learning Process

  1. Structured Training: Learning Bharatanatyam requires rigorous training under a qualified guru (teacher). The training is often structured in a traditional manner following the Guru-Shishya Parampara (teacher-student lineage).

  2. Syllabus and Examinations: Many institutions offer graded courses and certifications. Renowned institutions like Kalakshetra in Chennai and Nalanda Dance Research Centre in Mumbai provide structured programs.

  3. Practice and Performance: Students start with basic adavus (steps) and gradually progress to complex sequences and expressive pieces. Regular practice and stage performances are crucial for mastering the art.

Facts About Bharatanatyam

  1. Ancient Origins: Bharatanatyam dates back over 2,000 years, with references found in ancient texts like the Natya Shastra.

  2. Devadasi Tradition: Originally performed by Devadasis in temples, Bharatanatyam was a form of devotion and storytelling.

  3. Revival: In the early 20th century, Bharatanatyam underwent a significant revival and restructuring, making it accessible beyond temple courtyards.

  4. Costume and Makeup: The dance form is known for its distinctive costume (specially draped sari), elaborate jewelry, and expressive makeup, which enhance the visual impact of the performance.

Scope for Students

  1. Professional Opportunities: Trained dancers can pursue careers as performers, choreographers, and dance teachers. They can perform in India and internationally, participate in cultural festivals, and collaborate in interdisciplinary art projects.

  2. Academic Pursuits: Students can engage in research and higher studies in dance. Universities and institutions offer undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral programs in Bharatanatyam and related fields.

  3. Cultural Preservation: By learning Bharatanatyam, students contribute to the preservation and propagation of this ancient art form. They can engage in cultural programs, workshops, and community outreach.

  4. Personal Development: Bharatanatyam fosters discipline, physical fitness, emotional expression, and cultural understanding. It enhances self-confidence and provides a deep connection to Indian heritage.

  5. International Exposure: With the growing global interest in Bharatanatyam, students have opportunities to perform and teach abroad, engage with diverse audiences, and participate in international dance festivals and workshops.

Institutions and Training Centers

  1. Kalakshetra Foundation, Chennai: One of the premier institutions for Bharatanatyam, offering comprehensive training and degree programs.

  2. Nrityagram, Bangalore: Known for its residential dance training program and international collaborations.

  3. Nalanda Dance Research Centre, Mumbai: Offers structured academic courses and research opportunities in Bharatanatyam.

  4. Private Gurus: Many renowned Bharatanatyam exponents offer personalized training through private classes.


Bharatanatyam offers a rich and fulfilling path for students interested in classical dance. Its combination of artistic expression, cultural depth, and professional opportunities makes it a rewarding pursuit. With dedication and passion, students can contribute to the continuation and evolution of this beautiful art form, both within India and globally.

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