the art form

Bharatanatyam is a classical dance form originating from the southern state of Tamil Nadu in India. It is one of India’s oldest classical dance forms, and has its origins in the Natya Shastra, an ancient Sanskrit text on the performing arts. This work was written by Sage Bharata thousands of years ago and is the foundation for India’s vast artistic heritage. 

Bharatanatyam has three distinct elements: Nritta – rhythmic movements, Nritya – in which abhinaya or expression is emphasized, and Natya – dance with dramatic aspects. The essence of Bharatanatyam is contained in the word itself – Bha for Bhava (expression), Ra for raga (musical melody), and Ta for Talam (rhythm). 

The classical dance is also strongly connected with the legend of the cosmic dance of Lord Nataraja, which provides dancers with inspiration and visualization of this art form’s ideals of balance, grace, and devotion to God.