Indian classical dance
is a relatively new umbrella term for various codified art forms rooted in Natya, the sacred Hindu musical theatre styles, whose theory can be traced back to the Natya Shastra of Bharata Muni (400 BC).
The term "classical" (Sanskr. "Shastriya") was introduced by Sangeet Natak Akademi to denote the Natya Shastra-based performing art styles. A very important feature of Indian classical dances is the use of the mudra or hand gestures by the artists as a short-hand sign language to narrate a story and to demonstrate certain concepts such as objects, weather, nature and emotion. Many classical dances include facial expressions as an integral part of the dance form.
- Dances performed inside the sanctum of the temple according to the rituals were called Agama Nartanam. Natya Shastra classifies this type of dance form as margi, or the soul-liberating dance, unlike the desi (purely entertaining) forms.
- Dances performed in royal courts to the accompaniment of classical music were called Carnatakam. This was an intellectual art form.
For lack of any better equivalents in the European culture, the British colonial authorities called any performing art forms found in India as "Indian dance". Even though the art of Natya includes nritta, or dance proper, Natya has never been limited to dancing and includes singing, abhinaya (mime acting). These features are common to all the Indian classical styles. In the margi form Nritta is composed of karanas, while the desi nritta consists mainly of adavus.
Sangeet Natak Akademi currently confers classical status on eight Indian dance styles (see table below), while the Encyclopædia Britannica mentions six recognized schools and other sources state there are eight dance forms.
|Dance form||State(s) of origin|
|Kathak||Rajasthan, Punjab, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh|
11 July 2012
Classical Indian dancers
In the ancient scriptures, a professional danseuse was called "patra". The AbhinayaDarpana has a sloka that describes Patra Prana Dasha Smrutaha - the ten essential qualities of the professional dancer:
Javaha (agility), Sthirathvam (steadiness), Rekhacha (graceful lines), Bhramari (balance in pirouettes), Drishtir (glance), Shramaha (hard work), Medha (intelligence), Shraddha(devotion), Vacho (good speech), and Geetam (singing ability).
According to Abhinayadarpanam, one of the two most authoritative texts on Classical Indian dance, a patra must be young,slender,beautiful,large-eyed,with well-rounded breasts,self-confident,witty,pleasing,capable of keeping time (following the rhythm)splendidly dressed of a happy disposition.
11 July 2012