Bharatanayam Online

This section of our website is dedicated to our students to help provide them with online learning and theory to assist with their home practice and reinforce their lessons.  We hope our pictures and pages are helpful but we welcome any feedback or requests.

What is Bharatanatyam?

Literally meaning expression of music and rhythm, Bharatanatyam is the classical Indian danceform originating in South India.  It was an ancient Temple dance performed by the Devadasis as rituals serving the temple deity.  It was originally only performed by women as a solo but today it is seen danced by both men and women and can be choreographed in groups.

What are the 3Ns?

There are 3 distinct aspects of Bharatanatyam - Nritta, Nrittya and Natya - also known as the 3Ns.

1. Pure Dance - Nritta

Nritta is pure dance or sequences of dance that are non interpretative in nature. They add beauty to the dance form. Adavus form the basic component of Nritta.

2. Interpretive Dance - Nrittya

Nrittya is an interpretative dance using emotions and descriptions. The gestures show messages like depicting a king, indicating that it is morning time etc. Nrittya consists of leg, hand, neck, head and eye movements to convey these messages.

3. Dance Drama - Natya

Natya is dance drama and its main technique is Abhinaya - acting out a story using expressions.  Natya usually involves acting out stories from the Ramayana or Mahabharata.

Hand Gestures or Mudras

Amongst the many Mudras there are single hand gestures known as Asamyuta Hastas and double hand gestures known as Samayuta Hastas.  You can visit these pages for clear pictures and meanings of these gestures.