When it comes to dancing, some dance forms such as ballerina are seen to occupy the center stage. However, there are more cultural dances associated with people specific cultures waiting to be discovered by other cultures. Cultural dances are important for civilizations as they present the history and background of the culture. They are a kind of language in some ways that connects people of similar culture. The Indian cultural dance of Bharatanatyam or Bharata Natyam is considered for discussion here. Indian movie style dances lean towards a combination of hip hop dancing and social dances which are more contemporary. This is also a reason why the distinct classical and folk dances of the country often do not get that much recognition in the international society. There are eight distinct styles of Indian classical cultural dances and Bharatanatyam is just one among them. The eight styles include Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Kuchipidi, Odissi, Mohiniattam, Sattriya, Manipuri, and Kathakali. Each of these dances is part of the religious, cultural and social setup of the region of India that it is associated with. Many of the folk dances are in fact representations from Indian religious books.
Bharatanatyam: History and Background
Technique and Form
Expressive movements convey meaning and show emotion, through a vocabulary of hand gestures, postures, and facial expressions. Their purpose is to portray a theme or feeling to the audience. Bharatanatyam movements are often argued to be static in their geometric positioning. However, the dance movements are dynamic (Iyengar). The squat position ensures that the dancers and their movements are balanced and at the same time the mudras, the hand, face and leg positions present different characteristic energetic movements. There is a rhythmic stamping of the foot, jumps and pirouettes. One of the most notable feature of Bharatanatyam are the eye and the face movements. The movement of the eyes complements the story that is narrated in dance (Iyengar).