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Bharatanatyam Yoga
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Tamilnadu - Fine arts - Bharatanatyam - Dance Form

Decline of the Dance Form

With time, the devadasis of the temple turned into narthakis of the royal court and prostitution started replacing the devotion of the women. The original technique and themes of Bharatnatyam were modified to suit the new demands. The sacred connotation of the dance form was sacrificed to make it amenable to the entertainment needs of the kings.


The person responsible for once again raising the social status of Bharatanatyam is Krishna Iyer. He also contributed positively to the popularity of the dance form throughout the world. Another name that comes in mind in connection with this is that of Rukmini Devi Arundale. She modified the Pandanallur style of Bharatanatyam and popularized it in the West. Rukmini founded the Kalakshetra School in 1936, outside the city of Madras, in order to teach the dance form as well as to promote it. Today, Bharatnatyam has become an integral part of a girl's upbringing in Tamil Nadu.


The major techniques of the classical dance form of Bharatnatyam include

* Abhinaya (The art of story-telling)
* Nritta (Pure dance movements, usually performed as an opening)
* Nritya (Combination of Abhinaya and Nritta)

A typical Bharatnatyam performance includes:

* Ganapati Vandana (Opening prayer to the Lord Ganesha)
* Alarippu (A presentation of the Tala with simple syllables by the dancer)
* Jatiswaram (An abstract dance with drumbeats)
* Shabdam (Dance accompanied by a devotional poem or song)
* Varnam (Main performance in which dance is punctuated with complex and difficult movements. A story is told through movements)
* Padam (Lyrical section where the dancer speaks)
* Thillana (Pure dance with complex footwork and captivating poses)

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Indian classical music is categorized under two genres. They are Hindustani and Carnatic. Broadly Hindustani developed in the northern regions of the country
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