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vãNi pallavapãNi nãgaveiNi hamsagãmini suveinãpustakadhãriNi

`sãrade `sRtisãranidhe vãrijãk`si bhãrati mamakãramohavinã`sini
tungãtira nivãsini devi `srungãpuranivãsini
mangaLãNgi surEndra vandite bhRngakuntaLe pãrvati


Contemplated by,
Aparna M; Arun S,
(12MAD14003) (12MAD14003)
Post-Graduate Degree of Masters’ in Fine Arts’- Dance,
(School of Humanities and Social Sciences),
Jain University,
Bangalore- 560 036


We, thank University of Jain, Bangalore, State of Karnataka, India, and the
chief mentor, Prof. K S Shantamani, for giving the opportunity to pursue our
masters’ degree.

Our gratitude to Dr. Choodamani Nandagopal,
Dean, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences’
Jain University.

Our sincere gratitude to Dr. Karuna Vijayendra, our
project mentor, for her guidance throughout, for
compiling this wonderful project.

We, truly salute all the legendary authors for their depth
in the knowledge and their research which provided us
both ,all the information for this compilation.

We also take the opportunity to thank Guru Smt. Radha
Sreedhar, Guru Smt.Gayathri Keshavan and Guru Sri.
Sathyanarayana Raju, for motivating us to take up this
degree and giving us an opening. We treasure it, for they
are and remain to be our first source of approach.

And our gratitude to Dr. Shobha Shashikumar for her valuable inputs , and to all
our mentors.

-Aparna M; Arun S


The Universe is constantly in motion; in fact, it is this motion that sustains the Universe. The
Universe, composed of all the primeval elements, in a broad sense, it rotates according to a
definite pattern in space. It is this concept of motion in a definite pattern that must have
inspired the originators, to “model-re-model” dance. For without movement, there is no
dance and without a definite, rhythmic pattern, the dance would just be a motely set of

Culture, is a portmanteau expression indicating a fusion of several aspects that condition
and are in turn conditioned by, life and civilisation of the people. Culture is what that
distinguish people of different worlds. It includes religion, language, attire, attitude,
painting, music, dance and a host of other things. In a large multi-lingual country like India,
culture would not merely represent a single unified set of values or ideas, but, would indeed
be multi-dimensional in character depending on the cross fertilization of ideas, values,
system and sub-sect of those system(s). As an essential aspect or ingredient, art helps
identify the culture, taste, attitude, approach of people.

The Shastra laid down by the pioneers still hold good. Any innovation has to be and will be,
within the four corners of a text. We still follow the same Shastra in our rendition. It still
remains fresh and fascinating every time, as it was in ancient times. So, neither old nor new,
it is an art for all eternity because of the outstanding renaissance work of far-seeing
pioneers and also because of the enduring and enthralling beauty of the art itself.

The shastra is followed by the latter recent evolution of different “classical” and “folk” forms
of dance according to the geographical status and to the requirements. The epics portrayed
in the different classical forms reflect different mythological events giving primacy to
themes of local importance.

Evolution is a constant-continuous process. The very fact that we are very much different
from our ancestors, in terms of mind-set, physical appearance, psychological capacity, and
meta-physical approach towards life, proves the process of evolution. Change will never be
stagnant. It has to move forward and it will, from point to another. But the positivity or the
negativity of the results to which it will lead or where it has led and the impact of it has to
be given a second thought.

The fruit of the result obtained, directly corresponds to the approach of the workmanship.
And this workmanship, which is very vital in any case, must be to the fullest. For it cannot be
gifted or gained. It has to be earned majestically and they have to be claimed with an
authority of contentment.


1. Introduction

2. Varna

3. Pada Varna-Script

4. Adapted Jathi

5. Conclusion


(The Renaissance of Bharata Natyam)

Art is an imitation and exaggeration of nature. The artiste does of a branch of the art, which
he has expertise. And the connoisseur views the on-going art with a set boundary
established by the artiste. Thus, the art is the root and the shoot. The artiste is a fruit,
gained from the tree, which is the branches of the art, and the connoisseur, a sahrdaya who
enjoys both the view of the tree (art) and as well enjoys the fruit (channel-artiste). Thus, art
is true as nature. It is quite contemplating as which came first, the Nature or the Art. Nature
is itself an Art. Moreover, the beginning of an art form is by interpretations and
exaggerations of nature. This is the relationship between the art (nature)-artiste-

For any artiste to portray the art for, there has to consciousness primarily,
This consciousness is an individual’s innate attribute. This innate attribute is stated to be
Sthayi, as per the treatise Natya Shastra of Bharata. Accordingly-
Sthayi is known to be the durable psychological state. Anything that sustains throughout to
bring out an enjoyment in the on-looker and the artiste himself is the Sthayi, the enjoyment
is defined as Rasa. Thus, anything that has potential to become the Rasa is a Sthayi. So,
Sthayi is an involuntary state. These involuntary states are put across into 8 streams,
1. Rati- Sringara.
2. Haasa- Hasya.
3. Shoka- Karuna.
4. Krodha- Roudra.
5. Utsaaha- Veera.
6. Bhaya- Bhayanaka.
7. Jugupsa- Bheebatsa.
8. Vismaya- Adbhuta.

The Sthayi will be embellished only when it is united with the Vibhava-Anubhava-
Vyabhichari bhava’s. AS per the shloka-

“vibhavaanubhava vybhicharibhava samyogaat rasa nishpattihi”

After the revival of dance forms, the nomenclature of Bharata Natyam was also framed
along with the contribution of pillai’s to this tradition. And this art matured and crystallised
into the glorious shape and format, with which we are all too familiar. Bharata Natyam, is
basically a fiery dance with aligned with geometry. In its renaissance, Bharata Natyam in the
beginning decades of this century dwelled deep into past traditions, to justify its creation
and develop visuals and dances using temple sculptures, ancient texts and Puranic myths to
crave an Indian “Hindu” for itself.
The pot of the art form was thus created by willing hands that explored the deepest
elements of the Hindu consciousness to create a contemporary art form that was, when
compared to the art forms this century, formal, codified and rigorous.

Through the middle decades of this century, when so much stage patronage and
opportunity is available in India, it becomes important for artistes to hold on to this
traditional dance identified to find acceptance and find patronage in the funding structures
availed in India. More curious is the fact that while virtually all the other art forms, writing,
painting, sculpture, cinema, photography and architecture broke all shackles to explore the
human spirit, the spirit of Bharatanatyam dancer and indeed every other classical dancer
remained largely bound to tradition., and dancers in the main, resisted overt articulation of
the individual spirit of the art form.
Now, when the century that rejuvenated the art form draws to a close, is a specially
propitious time to evaluate a dance. What is dance after all, if not a mode of communicating
with others, it is a specialised language as a vernacular tongue we attempt to master. The
language is the language of symbols where, hand gestures and facial expressions and body
stance articulate certain ideas, this becomes the Bhava and Rhythm. While music and
melody provide the contextual frame to the dance, the Tala becomes the point of relief;
Rhythm is used a celebrated experience in the dance. Once this language of Bharata Natyam
is truly assimilated and enters the very pores of the dancers, then what they dance becomes
as important as how they dance it. This is the post-revival dance of Bharata Natyam.
For several decades, Gurus, and other experts have carved the pot of Bharata Natyam using
the old pole and fired it in kilns in ancient tradition, that pot is now ready for its mission. It is
now time that we decide, what we are to fill it with. Each artiste has to galvanise himself
beyond the training to articulate his concerns. The dance has to reflect not the movements
of the Bàni of the teacher, but inner convictions of the dancer as an individual. We have to
empower Bharata Natyam artistes with additionality purpose. To some, the dance will
remain a decorative exercise, and to others, an intellectual voyage. In addition, between
those two poles, will emerge wide band variations and possibilities of artistic expression
grounded on the background, training and inclination of the artistes as individuals. Thus, it is
this creative thresholds that will differ from artistes to artistes.
This spirit of an individual bursting through the membrane of tradition, has been seen in the
works of Venkatalakshamma, who used music as itself a dance. Yamini Krishnamurthy, who
used the body’s potential of abstraction to reflect where personnel vision of that dance.
Padma Subramanian, bent on to articulate the body as sculpture that could come alive in
amazing kinetic ways. Lakshmi Vishwanathan linked movements to its musical nuances.
Kalanidhi Narayanan created new avenues through her “ana-varna” Abhinaya technique. M
K Saroja danced for and to music and a perfect meeting point between a Bala and Rukmini’s
art. Alarmel Valli, created a new visual vocabulary for Bharata Natyam, each has been a
pioneer and has re-iterated the soaring individual spirit, through the Periscope of tradition
and historicity. Each has faced at some time or the other, the eerie of indifference of
traditional on-looker/ critics, yet they have each sustained their work with vision and
It is only the background of such a historical perspective of the modern renaissance in Inain
dance, that one can intelligently understand and fairly evaluate the nature and comparative
worth of present day art and artistes.


Varna means grandeur, and it is the central dance of any traditional Bharata Natyam repertoire
Varna is a term borrowed from Caranatic music which has been divided into 2 major parts, that is,
the Uttardrdha- the first half ; followed by the Purvardha- the second half. In technical parlance, this
dance composition commences with usually or 4 to 6 feet of sahitya, where each corresponds to 1
avarta. The architectonic structure of the Varna is the result of many levelled layers of the musical
theme. The swara sequences are intertwined in the song and are danced and are followed by
Abhinaya for the sahitya corresponding to the swaras.
In the first half, the written is broken by regular intermissions of Mnemonic syllables, known
to be Jathi. This is followed by the intermediate Ettugade swara/ sahitya. The latter half
concludes with swaras and sahitya, which goes in a higher tempo.

Varna gives full scope for the dancer to improvise in a variety of ways the import of the
song, so that the on-looker experiences its flavour. Weaving in sanchari bhavas, the
transitory states to enhance the Sthayi bhãva, the dominant state to evoke the rasa. The
dancer needs to have imaginative faculty. Pada varnams are used by the dancers for
exposition, they are also known as chauka varnams. There is another variety known as Tana
Varna which is mainly intended for musical practice. There is a little scope for Abhinaya as
there is limited sahitya in Tana Varna. Whereas in Pada Varna, there is a judicious balance
between Abhinaya and rhythmic nuances. In a Tana Varna the emphasis is more on
rhythmic patterns. Since a varna is comparatively an elaborate dance number, many
exponents have abbreviate it and compress it in duration of 30-40 minutes.

Pada Varna

Bhairavi Raga, Aadi Tala K N Dandayudhapani Pillai.

Tanjore quartet—margam--


Adapted Jathi


Fine arts’ is a wholesome art, Dance and theatre especially. For it includes Literature, Painting,
Music, Acting and Dancing. Every tiny aspect must be looked upon and given importance before it is
showcased. Dance is an act of communication and the idea has to be commuted properly.

As mentioned by the pioneers themselves, there are several modes of communication or modes in
the process of communication. Moreover, one of the main aspect, is the appearance and the
portrayal of the idea. This aspect of Rasaprakaranam, is a different mode of portrayal and
interpretation, where in, NOT proving anybody wrong nor an extension of the box, but an humble
out of box thinking, trying to relate modern day concept of Bharata Natyam with the mother treatise
Natya Shastra.

In this process of insight, we assembled that the principle of Natya Shastra adds in to the grandeur
along with the existing grammar, while the present experiment as well sync with the mood and
purpose of the Varna.


Natya Shastra- Bharata Muni (Manmohan Ghosh) - Kashmir publications

Bharata Natyam, Marg Publications

Bharata Natyam, In-Depth, Saroja Vaidyanathan

Abhinavagupta-G T Deshpande

Attendance- Ashish Mohan Khokar