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A Glimpse into Authentic Indian Dance: Lecture-Demonstration of the Indian Classical Dance Form of Bharatnatyam    NEW!

Introduction to Indian Dance – 10 minutes
Indian dance, traditionally known as " Nritya", is a term for different regionally specific dance traditions of India. Folk dances evolved into classical dance forms as they passed from one generation to another attaining some unique technics and cultural significance. Indian classical dancing started around 200 BCE in India as a joyful and celebratory activity. Bharatanatyam, a classical dance originating in the southern region of India called Tamil Nadu, has existed for over 2000 years. The artist will delve into the evolution of the Bharatanatyam dance style, from ordinary movements and gestures to contemporary dance in a social context. Bharatnatyam, from a mode of worship in temples to a tradition in royal courtyards, has immortalized history through the artistic narration of stories by the dancers. The artist will demonstrate a small piece illustrating the evolution of dance from folk art to its proper classical form.

Vocabulary of Bharatnatyam – 35 minutes
Bharatnatyam is known for its grace, elegance, and ability to express ideas and stories. The dance form of Bharatanatyam, at its core, has "Bhava" (expression), "Ragam" (melody), "Talam" (rhythm), and "Natyam" (drama). The myriad patterns that arise from combining these core elements allow the dancer to create a story through this visually aesthetic dance.

"Bhava" (Expression), known as "Rasa" in the "Natya Shastra", is the depiction of various moods through dance. It signifies the union of soul and body through human experience. The artist, through her dance demonstration, will take the audience on a journey of moods of Shringara (love), Hasya (joy), Raudram (anger), Karunyam (compassion), Veeram (courage), Bibhatsa (disgust), Adbhutam (wonder), Bhaya (fear) that transcends into the final stage of "Shanta" Rasa" – the state of blissfulness attained through peace.

“Ragam” (Melody)
The melody or music adds a dimension to the dance form of Bharatnatyam. The artist will demonstrate "Nritta", a pure dance without melody. To show the depth that melody adds to the dance movements, the artist will follow "Nritta" with a demonstration of "Nrittya", a dance piece with melody.

“Talam” (Rhythm)
The artist will explain and demonstrate various patterns of beats, pace, and rhythms that are essential components of the dance form of Bharatnatyam.

“Nritta” (Movements)
The dancers refine various intricate hand gestures, facial expressions, footwork, postures, and body movements through training and practice to create the artistry and beauty of this dance form in its entirety. The artist will demonstrate the body movements, footwork, hand gestures, and posture unique to the Bharatnatyam dance style.

Bharatnatyam Dance Costume – 15 minutes
Before concluding her presentation, the artist will explain and demonstrate various components of the traditional Bharatnatyam dance costume/attire, emphasizing the significance and relevance of costume, jewelry, and accessories to the aesthetics and tradition of this beautiful dance form.

Q&A – 15 minutes
The audience will be able to engage in a facilitated discussion/Q&A with the artist about her journey of learning, practicing, and teaching her art form, interact with the artist, and take pictures with the artist.


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