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The Proper Postures of Bharatanatyam


There are two kinds of movements in Bharatanatyam – abstract and expressive. The abstract movements are done to show rhythm, to provide decoration, and to create beauty. There is no purpose but movement for its own sake. Expressive movements convey meaning and show emotion, through a vocabulary of hand gestures, postures, and facial expressions. Their purpose is to portray a theme or feeling, and to transmit an experience of it to the audience. The movements of Bharatanatyam are unique. They share elements with other classical Indian dances, but aren’t found in any western dance style. They are often described as geometric, for there is much geometry in the basic postures and movements of which the dance is built, but this makes them sound static, which they aren’t. Bharatanatyam is dynamic and energetic; it is also precise and balanced. The basic postures center the weight of the dancer, and there is little use of the hips or off-balance positions. Bharatanatyam has a variety of characteristic movements. Along with the rhythmic stamping of the feet, there are jumps, pirouettes, and positions where the knees contact the floor. Many are executed in the stance with knees bent and turned outward. Performed by an expert dancer, these movements flow together gracefully. An exceptional feature of Bharatanatyam is the movements of the eyes, which complement and highlight the movements of the body. Every part of the body is involved in the dance, and their movements are defined and classified (in great number) in this system of dance.

· Samam/Samapadam: Feet together and standing straight.

· Araimandi/Ardhamandala: Is the basic posture of the body in Bharatnatyam in which the body should be straight, legs bent at the knee, and toes facing sideways.

· Muzhumandi/Mandala/Mandi: The torso should be straight while sitting down on the toes of the two feet.

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