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About Bharatnatyam Dance – Dances of India

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Bharatnatyam Dance

Bharatnatyam an Indian classical dance form of Tamil Nadu is also known as the Natya yoga and artistic yoga. This dance form is truly mesmerizing for the spectators and uplifts the spiritual consciousness of both the beholders and dancers.

It is one of the most traditional and oldest dance forms but retains its freshness even today. The earthy and dynamic style of the dance makes it distinct from the other forms of art. It is predominantly presented by women but even men are known to get engaged in it.


This form of dance evolved during the 18th or 19th centuries in South India and was then performed by the devadasis. Previously the name of Bharatnatyam was Dasiattam.

Later on, this dance form gained immense popularity owing to the commendable efforts of E. Krishna Iyer who was an exceptional Bharatnatyam artist.


Mainly there are four techniques of performing this art form:

  • Karanas: This Sanskrit word means doing. It includes the movement of arm, body, hip, and leg along with the hasta mudras.
  • Hastas: This involves the use of expressive hand gestures which is the highlight of Bharatnatyam dance.
  • Adavus: This is defined as a number of steps in the dance which vary in style. Professional dancers are known to use around 60 adavus when they perform.
  • Eye and Bhedas movements: The dance is incomplete without the expressive movement of the eyes and bhedas.

 Theme Of The Dance:

It is mainly a solo dance but can also get performed in groups. It is an erotic and tender dance form where the vital theme is devotion and love.  The most popular styles of Bharatnatyam are Vazhuvoor and Pandanallur.


The dancers wear tailor-made gorgeous sarees with pleats stitched neatly. Traditional jewellery is used to adorn the nose, ear, head, and neck of the dancers.

Expressive make-up is used for the eyes and face and the hair is neatly plaited. The fingers and feet are decorated with henna colour.

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