Pallavi Saran Mathur -Bharatnatyam - Pic 5 by Avinash PasrichaPallavi Saran Gujral

(nee Pallavi Saran Mathur)










About Bharatanatyam


Dance & Music are of great importance in the culture of India. Both arts are very old, and they have close links not only with each other, but also with Religion, Literature and Drama. As in Europe after the 16th century, the temples of India were the centre of community life and so became the focal point of the people's artistic expression.


The ancient Bharata-natyam dance was originally a temple dance, and it has been described as Poetry in Motion. Its origins lie in the Natya Shastra, written around 1500 BC by the great sage, Bharata Muni.  Since then, this dance form has been immortalized as much by great dancers, as by sculptors who have demonstrated the perfection of its technique in the flowing lines of temple sculptures.  The structure of Bharata-natyam allows ample opportunity for the dancer to enjoy the greatest sense of fulfillment in pure dance, where no other demands are made on her except to harmonize with the melody and rhythm of the accompanying music.


There are large sections of the dance in which the dancer must convey a story or an emotional or spiritual state, and to master this is the ultimate test for the dance. The interpretation of the lyrics in dance is interspersed by sections of pure dance, without any specific relevance to the lyrics. These sections are meant to provide dramatic relief within the composition, and to allow the dancer to enjoy the freedom of pure dance. Since the dance has been handed down the generations orally, the musicians and the dancer in these sections are usually directed by the enunciation of mnemonic phrases that delineate the pattern that the drummer and the dancer have to follow.

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