Essay On Bharatanatyam

Essay On Bharatanatyam-25
According to Russian scholar Natalia Lidova, ‘Natya Shastra’ elucidates several theories of Indian classical dances including that of Tandava dance, standing postures, basic steps, bhava, rasa, methods of acting and gestures.One of the five great epics of Tamil Literature, ‘Silappatikaram’ (~2nd century CE) has a direct reference to this dance form.According to some sources the Devadasi culture dating back to 300 BCE to 300 CE evolved under the auspices of the royals that saw the temple dancers called Devadasis, who were dedicated to serve the Lord as dasis or servants, performing the dance form.

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Opposition & Ban During Colonial Rule The 18th century saw emergence of rule of the East India Company followed by setting up of British colonial rule in the 19th century.

Such developments saw decline of various classical dance forms which were subjected to contemptuous fun and discouragement including Bharatanatyam that through the 19th century remained exclusive to Hindu temples.

The Shiva temple of Kanchipuram that is decorated with carvings dating back to a period between 6th to 9th centuries CE manifests the development of this dance form by around the mid first millennium CE.

Many ancient Hindu temples are embellished with sculptures of Lord Shiva in Bharatanatyam dance poses.

During his prison term he convinced the political prisoners to advocate for this age-old classical dance form.

Iyer founded the ‘Madras Music Academy’ and along with Indian theosophist, dancer and Bharatanatyam choreographer Rukmini Devi Arundale, he strived to save Bharatanatyam from dying out.The eastern gopuram of the 12th century Thillai Natarajar Temple, Chidambaram, of Tamil Nadu dedicated to Lord Shiva bears sculptures depicting 108 poses of Bharatanatyam, referred as karanas in ‘Natya Shastra’, that are intricately carved in small rectangular panels.Another notable sculpture can be seen in the Cave 1 of Karnataka’s Badami cave temples dating back to the 7th century where a 5 feet tall sculpture of Lord Shiva is depicted as Nataraja doing Tandava dance.The 18 arms of the Shiva sculpture expresses mudras or hand gestures that are part of Bharatanatyam.Association with Devadasi Culture Originating in Hindu temples of Tamil Nadu and nearby regions, Bharatanatyam soon prospered in other South Indian temples.Although ancient texts and sculptures indicate existence of such culture and presence of dancing girls as also exclusive quarters for women in temple compound, there is no concrete evidence either archaeological or text-based that can manifest the Devadasis as prostitutes or courtesans as accused by some colonial Indologists.After analysing evidences, Davesh Soneji, a historian on performance arts and an expert on Bharatanatyam, concluded that courtesan dancing phenomenon commenced during the Nayaka period of Tamil Nadu sometime around late 16th or 17th century.According to legends Lord Brahma revealed Bharatanatyam to the sage Bharata who then encoded this holy dance form in Natya Shastra.The text that consists of thousands of verses structured in different chapters divides dance in two specific forms, namely ‘nrita’ that is pure dance comprising of finesse of hand movements and gestures, and ‘nritya’ that is solo expressive dance that comprises of expressions.Accompanists include a singer, music and particularly the guru who directs and conducts the performance.It also continues to inspire several art forms including paintings and sculptures starting from the spectacular 6th to 9th century CE temple sculptures.

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