Bharatanatyam is one of the oldest of the four main classical dance
forms prevailing in India with a history of more than two thousand years.
It developed from ritualistic dances performed in the past as offerings to
the deities of Hindu temples.
In Bharatnatyam, rhythm and enactment go hand in hand to create a beautiful whole.
There are two main categories of dance, 'nritta' or abstract dance for the sake
of its own beauty, and 'nrithya', which consists of both nritta and expression.
That is rythmic movements as well as movements with abhinaya are done.
Abhinaya is the art of expression. It is the medium of presentation by which
one can convey one's ideas and the feelings to others without speech but by means
of mudras, mime, facial expression and movements of the body.
In a classical Bharatnatyam performance, all the various elements of the
presentation find their focus in the dancer and become unified in her.
The 'nattuvanar' or composition articulates the rhythm of her movements,
the singer expresses her thoughts and feelings and the accompanying musicians
create a musical background for her. The audience can thus completely identify with her.
Classical Indian dance when performed with an understanding of the philosophical
vision and technical wizardry of those who founded and shaped the style,
is incredibly modern in its stress on the distilled essence of the most abstract
ideas engaging the modern mind.
As for Bharatnatyam, the most beautiful things about it could be the sense
of beauty, the deep awareness of human emotions and the intense need to share
and bond with people.