Natya or Dance is a major
branch of Fine Arts. It is considered as one of the most
popular and highly sacred form of worshipping the lord.
It can be considered as an embodiment of mythological, historical,
cultural and sociological heritage and traditionally passed
on to posterity. According to many scholars dance is considered
to have the magical power that provides the source of happiness
to people and nations around the universe.
Bharata Natyam is considered
to be the most faithful style in relation to the rules enunciated
in the "Natyashastra", a treatise about drama,
dance and music which was written around 2,000 years ago
by the sage Bharata Muni, hence it is called Bharata Natyam.
Bharata Natyam holds a prominent
place in our culture today. Over the centuries, innovations
and creativity has moulded it, without changing the original
purpose and essence, into a spiritual, divine, and a meaningful
addition to our society. So far as there is room for improvisations
and imaginative interpretations, Bharata Natyam or classical
dance as such, is a science in itself. Sage Bharata in his
Natyashastra says that dance or Natya implies in it, the
three forms of fine arts namely, Nataka, Natya and Sangeetha
(Iyal, Isai and Natakam). The Natyashastra of Bharata is
well-known as an encyclopedic work on different aspects
of the theatrical arts, dance, drama and music. Bharata
Natyam is the embodiment of music in its visual form.
Bharata Natyam comprises
three aspects, Nritta, Nritya and Natya.
Nritta is rhythmical and
has repetitive elements, i.e. it is dance proper
Natya is the dramatic art, and is a language of gestures,
poses and mime
Nritya is a combination of Nritta and Natya
The term Bharata Natyam is
codified by taking the initial syllables of Bhava (Expressions),
Raga (Music) and Tala (Rhythm).