Bharatanatyam is one of the oldest and the most vibrant form of dance practiced in India. It is said as the mother of all classical dances, which first originated in Tamil Nadu almost 2000 years ago. It is a dance form carrying impressive gestures and astounding footwork that is enough to blow the audience’s minds.
To perform Bharatanatyam, one has to work on their body movements, music, hand gestures, footwork, facial expressions, themes, and costumes. The costume is a big part of the dance form, which is why people often practice the dance wearing Bharatanatyam practice saree.
What is a practice saree, and why is it important to wear?
Traditionally, all students wore a short saree or a dupatta over their chest while performing Bharatanatyam. However, now many dance schools have their own uniforms and have skipped the saree tradition.
This is because many are still unaware of the correct reason for wearing this practice saree. The main reason behind it is that your backbone will not stay stiff without the practice saree, and you won’t be able to dance gracefully. To put it another way, the dancer feels the stiffness around the waist and the back by wearing a practice saree. This helps in keeping the back straight during practice.
What are the different stages of Bharatanatyam?
When learning Bharatanatyam, you have to go through the following sequence:
- Mangalam or Shlokam
Why should one learn Bharatanatyam?
Bharatanatyam, the beautiful classical dance, has much more benefits than people know. In fact, because of the several health benefits that it provides, it has not only made a place in India but also abroad. Some of these benefits are mentioned below:
- Enhances balance
As the dance form contains various poses, postures and movements, it helps in improving the balance of the body. The dancer has to try different poses like standing on one foot and balancing on it for few seconds, enhancing balance. So, one can say Bharatanatyam is as beneficial as yoga.
- Improves flexibility
Bharatanatyam contains several mudras which are created to improve flexibility in the human body. Plus, the expression and gestures required to perform the dance forms help communicate feelings and messages without even saying. These help the dancer talk to the audience through their dance and improve their flexibility.
- Boost stamina
Like other dance forms, Bharatanatyam also requires different body movements, which helps in strengthening muscles. The body movements required to perform are sometimes tough and require a strong core to hold the posture for a few seconds. So, Bharatanatyam is no less than hardcore exercises. A few hours of practice every day can help you boost your stamina.
- Increased concentration
While performing this dance form, the classical dancer has to remember lots of karanas, mudras, and hastas to perform beautifully. Thus, it requires a high level of concentration and attention to remember them all correctly. In addition, he/she also has to remember different movements, rhythms, steps, beats and expressions while performing. So, these all lead to improving mental skills of the dancer, his/her concentration and mental alertness.
- Healthy heart
Dancing also helps keep the heart-healthy, and it is not just for Bharatanatyam but for every dance form. Dance increases the blood flow in the body by pumping the heart faster. It is mainly because of the energy required to perform and shine.
Bharatanatyam is a dance form that has changed the life of many. It has many positive sides to life; it gives inner joy, health benefits and confidence. So, one must always try it at least once in their life.