Components of Bharathanatyam
Bharathanatyam derives its name from the first syllables of 3 vital elements of dance.
BHAva (expression), •
RAga (music), •
Hence Bharathanatyam is the culmination of Expression, Melody and Rhythm. It is an extremely precise, dynamic and earthly dance style involving intricate footwork, hand gestures and facial expressions with themes depicting stories from epics and mythology. A traditional full length Bharathanatyam recital contains a number of different, independent dances arranged in a specific order. Some of these pieces may contain only pure dance others only expressional dance and some display both.
Bharathanatyam is also considered to be a fire-dance, being the mystic manifestation in the human body of the metaphysical element of fire, is one of the five major styles that include Odissi (element of water: Odissi is the traditional style of dance which originated in the temples of the state of Orissa in Eastern India, where it was performed by the Devadasis), and Mohiniattam (element of air). The movements of an authentic Bharathanatyam dancer resemble the movements of a dancing flame.
Bharathanatyam technique has three components: Nritta, Nritya and Natya.
Nritta (abstract, pure dance) Nritta consists of axial, geometric movements to exemplify the beauty of rhythm (tala) and melody (raga). Because of the pureness of Nritta, it does not involve emotions with the self.
Nritya (expressional, narrative or interpretational, abhinaya) - Abhinaya is one of the most important aspects of Bharathanatyam, which conjures up a fascinating world of imagination. The hands are used the most to describe the content of the song in which the dancer is interpreting. This is how the dancer conveys the poetic meaning of the story in which she is dancing along with the help of expressions, rhythmic gaieties, and postures.
Natya is a combination of Nritta and Nritya. It is the dramatization of a theme, a visual painting that the dancer draws to get the story across to the audience. It is a culmination of expression, Melody and Rhythm.
Thus the three components Nritta, Nritya, and Natya make Bharathanatyam an extremely precise, dynamic and earthly dance style involving intricate footwork, hand gestures and facial expressions with themes depicting stories from epics and mythology that may include Ramayana, Mahabharatham, and Bhagavatham.
Rhythmic body movements with hand gestures are called Aduvus, There are about 120 Aduvus. One hundred eight of them are carved in Thanjavur temple in Tamil Nadu.
A number of aduvus constitute Jathi.