Dance & Drama from India (Bharatanatyam)
Bharatanatyam originated in Tamil Nadu, the southern state of India approximately 2000 years ago, which makes it the oldest Indian dance form, along with Odissi from Orissa. It was historically performed at Hindu temples by devadasis (servant maidens to the Gods), as a means of worship. Today, it is performed by both men and women outside the temples. Bharatanatyam is characterized by symbolic hand gestures called mudra, precise footsteps, eye movement, and linear forms.
One of the most significant aspects of Bharatanatyam is Abhinaya, the Art of Expression. In Abhinaya, the dancer portrays multiple characters from renown Hindu myths, with her facial expressions, poses, movement, and mudra. It is a fascinating storytelling dance theatre where our fundamental Nine Emotions (Nava Rasa) are explored and shared with the audience.