Bharata Natyam (originated in South India) is one of the oldest of the four main classical dance forms prevailing in India with a history of more than two thousand years. It developed from ritualistic dances performed in the past as offerings to the deities of Hindu temples.

Bharata Natyam lends itself to all the three major attributes of classical dance - Nritta (technique), Nrittya (abhinaya - art of expression) and Naatya (acting). It is the medium of presentation by which one can convey one's ideas and the feelings to others without speech but by means of mudras (hand formations), mime, facial expression and movements of the body. The second half of the concert is replete with Abhinaya pieces such as the Padam, Javali, Keertanam etc. The recital culminates with the Thillana a brisk rhythmic piece. Over the years, Bharata Natyam has evolved from a highly codified style to one affording maximum freedom to create innovative works.

Its form has tremendous precision, and an infinite potential to interpret any theme, be it abstract, contemporary, or mythological. Bharata Natyam is typically danced to the Carnatic style of Indian classical music, which has a well defined tala (rhythm) and raga (melody). The dance's mathematical precision equals that of Carnatic music measure for measure. Music and dance merge like body and soul to offer the viewer a visual delight.

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Dr. Nalini Rau