Bharatnatyam is one of the seven classical dances of India. It belongs to a state in South India, called Tamil Nadu.
As a kid I used to go to Bharatanatyam programs and while making sure to sit in the first row, used to watch the dance intently.
“This was not like other dances I’ve seen”, I used to think.
“This has a very fast rhythm, making the dance beautiful.”.
This dance is famous for its graceful movements, the sophisticated gestures of hands, and facial expression.
I started doing some moves that I remembered and mixing folk dance and bharatanatyam. This dance had me fascinated. Whenever I went to my grandma’s house, I would switch on the television and watch Bharatanatyam rather than watching Tom and Jerry (my favorite cartoon, as a child).
Seeing my growing interest in dance, my parents admitted me for a class near my home. The teacher was a good dancer and I learnt the basic dance under him. Afterwards, my parents admitted me for another dance class run by a well known teacher, Kamala Bhat. I have been learning Bharatanatyam for nine years now under her.
My first dance program was in a temple.
I still remember my first program. I was a small, nervous and shy first grader. The song was a folk song about Lord Krishna (a famous Hindu god). I was devoted to Lord Krishna since I was a child, and I had this little purse, in which I would carefully store all his pictures. And in dance there were stories about him to which I used to listen to, while my teacher explained. That’s why I like to dance to songs about Lord Krishna.
When I was small, I couldn’t even talk in a crowd, let alone dance. After a few more performances, my nervousness disappeared. That’s one of the benefits of performing in stage. You learn to be strong and confident. You can never dance with fear. You have to forget about everyone else and more importantly, you need to have a free mind.
One of the most important posture of Bharatanatyam is half sitting. In this posture, the dancer’s heels are joined together, the toes of both legs pointed to the opposite direction. Then the dancer squats halfway down, maintaining the posture. I used to find this really challenging, (and used to often get scolded by the teacher) but like everything in life, after practicing and practicing it came to me.
I still like to dance and it makes me happy. I have dance classes every Wednesday and Friday. Other than Bharatanatyam, I also like other folk dances and movie dances. My grandmother too was a dancer. She comes to watch my dance programs without fail. She still encourages me to dance and teaches me how to maintain the posture, the gait and expressions.
I still continue to go to dance class. I have discontinued music class, but I don’t think that I can ever let go of this beautiful and amazing dance form- Bharatanatya.
Here are some pictures of me in my costume…(blue and gold)
Dancing through the sweat
Me (right) and my best friends…
My favorite teacher
A popular Shiva- Parvathi pose.
Thank you so much for stopping by and reading this post. I will be sure to upload more when I find time.