Before we actually start, we need to pay attention the Aramandi, the essential half sit position of Bharathanatyam, in which the dancer compresses her height to atleast 3/4 of her original height. This gives the typical triangular shape and stability to Bharathanatyam.Aramandi is a very important posture in Bharatanatyam. It becomes a comfortable posture with practice. “In this posture, the back should not jut out, the stomach should not protrude and the torso should not bend forward. The ‘Brahmasutra’ (the vertical imaginary line passing through the centre of the body) is in balance. This means that the aramandi (half sit posture) adjusts according to the height of the dancer. When the araimandi is beyond the threshold point, there is an invlountary urge to lift the heels, which will result in imbalance. Too much of sitting or standing is not aesthetically beautiful. ” Prof (Smt.)Sudharani Raghupaty (Chennai, India). Aramandi is also referred to as Ayatam and ardhamandalam.
After understanding what is namaskar (salutation), we could move on to steps - the building blocks of the pure dance / Nritta Bharathanatyam. The Technical Lingo for steps is Adavu in Bharathanatyam jargon.
Adavus are comprised of the sthanakamm, Nritta Hasta and Chari.
These are considered building blocks of Korvais/Jathis in Nritta. Coincidentally 108 adavus are recognized. Most competent classes teach atleast 75 adavus. It may a take a student 3 months to 1 year to complete these depending on one’s exposure to the art form, age, potential and grasp etc.
All the four done in synchronization with Rhythm or Tala is ADAVU. Every Adavu will have certain number of steps and would have a BOL or syllable like “Tai Ya- Tai Hi”.
Following are the Ten important Adavus:
Learning just the adavus and practicing them for a while helps the students to :
1. to develop flexibility and overcome the initial muscle cramps and sore feet at the beginning stages.
2. attain right posture
3. develop stamina
4. become aware to the sense of Talam (Rhythm) and kalam (speed)
5. become Swift and agile and attain control over the body.
Bharatanatyam is generally referred to have three distinct streams or aspects:
Nritta is pure dance or sequences of dance that are non interpretative in nature. This means that these steps, movements or gestures are not meant to convey any message or thought. They are primarily meant to add beauty to the dance form. Adavus (described earlier) form the basic component of Nritta.
Nrittya on the other hand is an interpretative dance and involves a lot of sentiments, emotions and description. The gestures in this stream convey messages like depicting a king, indicating that it is morning time etc. This consists of leg, hand, neck, head and eye movements to convey the message.
Natya is dance drama and its main technique is Abhinaya. It involves acting out a story for the audience using expressions. Also the actors may dress like the character. Natya is usually performed with a mythologial theme, like on the stories of Ramayana or Krishnaleela, etc. For eg. This would involve enacting parts of Ramayana or Mahabharata.
The salutation in Bharathanatyam is called Thatti Kumudu (to tap and salute). The ancient practice of performing the salutation before and after dancing is observed in all parts of India.
1.The salutation is done by tapping the feet in samapada (feet together) with the shikara hasta in both hands, in front of the chest.
2.The practitioner then turns out her toes ,sits in full mandi and brings the hands (in shikhara hasta ) from the shoulders, touches the floor and raises the palms to her eyes, paying her respects to Mother Earth.
3. Then he/she performs the three namaskars:-
Praveen & Virginia, a couple who believe in this great ancient Indian Arts - Yoga & Dance, and would love to share to everyone.