Bharata Natyam is one of the four main classical styles in India. It developed from ritualistic dances performed in the past as offerings to the deities of Hindu temples and in a more sophisticated form in the courts by solo female dancers. The traditionally conservative South maintained a style closely related to the type of dancing mirrored in temple sculpture during more than two thousand years of recorded movement in stone. The great wonder of Indian dance is that it can be both an act of religious devotion and a superb entertainment at the same time.In a successful performance, philosophy and human emotion blend in a subtle combination which gives a special flavor to every sound and movement.The two main categories of dance, nritta, or abstract dance for the sake of its own beauty, and nritya, an expression of a mood or story through pantomime and a rich language of gesture, are equally well represented in this style.The word abhinaya may be loosely translated as drama, but it is a very particular style of drama. For the most complete aesthetic experience, a performance usually requires an audience understand the poetry.The ideal audience is comprised of rasikas or Sahrdayas (people of pure mind, with no mental prejudices or inhibitions). Rasa is aesthetic rapture or relish on the part of the observer, which is derived from a work of art.Rasa arises from a combination of Bhavas, emotional states - Sthayihbhava, the dominant stable state and Sancharibhava the transitory fleeting state.The causes are called Vibhavas and the consequences are known as Anubhavas. Rasa in order to exist entirely depends on the viewer or perceiver.
Manipuri form of Dance is a gentle dance with graceful swaying movements. It is not too technical or intricate like the other classical dances of India and can be easily learnt. Bordering Burma is Manipur - The legendary land of dance and music rich in culture, traditions and religion. The Manipuris consider themselves the descendants of the Gandharvas, the legendary musicians, and dancers of the celestial courts of Indira. Manipuri dance is a generic name and covers all the dance forms of this land. According to legend, Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati danced in the valleys of Manipuri to the accompaniment of the Ghandharvas to the celestial light of Mani (jewel) from the head of the Atishesha, a serpent and that is how it has come to be called Manipuri.Lord Krishna. In this dance from, the Lasya (feminine) aspects predominate.Here the three elements of Nritta, Nritya and Natya are equally balanced. Being rich in emotional content and sentiment of love the Sringar Rasa (erotic mood) pervades the entire performance.The orchestra of Rasa dance consists of Khol or Mridangan, Manjira (cymbals) and flute. The text songs are from great, saint lyricists like Jayadeva, Vidyapati, Chandidas or from Bhagavat Puran. The costume is rich and ornamental and extremely captivating. The sight of the costume itself is a great feast of colors, splendor and delicacy.The other numbers performed are called Choloms. A Cholom dance is always virile, vigorous and sturdy and represents the Tandava aspect of the art. It involves a lot of turning, swaying, whirling, jumping and strong spiral movements. Therefore it is performed usually by men.
Dance has been a function of man's life, even from the primitive to the most cultured community. Perhaps before man began to speak and to paint, he began to dance. While the primitive man combined reality with deity, the cultured dance for pleasure and for the expression of art.India, with its vast variety of races and conditions has been a veritable treasure house of dance forms for untold centuries. Most of the prevailing systems of Indian classical dancing which are governed by elaborate techniques and shown high degree of refinement, have had their origin in the dances of the common people, which still survive in as virile state as ever in tribal hamlets and peasant huts.The Indian folk dance is simple without being naive, for behind its simplicity lie both profundity of conception and a directness of expression which are of great artistic value. The concept of portraying emotion is generally speaking foreign to folk dance and what is expressed is natural and original. What is important here is not the grace of the individual dancer or the virtuosity of the isolated prose, but the total effect of the overwhelming buoyancy of spirit, and the eloquent, effortless ease with which it is expressed.The Folk, tribal and ritual dance in India is a world which found its own roots, moorings, nourishment, growth, flowering and maturity. It has yielded generation after generation of performers. Much of what represents the Indian folk, tribal and ritual dance tradition can be said to belong not to today, but to yesterday. It has intimate relationship with functions of daily life; food-gathering, harvesting, rites, rituals and beliefs. It has the capacity for ever renewing and rejuvenating themselves while maintaining a continuity with antiquity and tradition.The staggering multiplicity of races, of linguistic and ethnic groups, of religions, and of social organization and structuring in India, account for an incomparable richness of folk music and dance forms. Here forms have survived, whose origins can be traced back to pre-historic times; new forms have grown up in other places and have continued in spite of many historical and sociological changes.The tribal belt, which runs through all parts of India, are creators of the Tribal Dances of India. Dance is an integral part of their life, daily and annual, historical and contemporary. Secondly, there is peasant or village India and these agricultural communities are the creators of the Folk dances, ritualistic, agricultural and seasonal. A third special group, who are part of the village community, but also close to the townships, served as craftsmen, entertainers, musicians and dancers, have been the chief repositories of the oral tradition. Thus folk comprises the common people, both inhabiting in the urban and the rural areas, and the folk art is common man's art.So they dance, the folk and the tribals; in the villages and forests. They are everywhere. The rhythm of the dance brings them together. Not trained and not professional, and not dancers by design, they continue to dance, as they have done for centuries.Generally people nourish a wrong notion as to the word 'folk' and mean folk art is village art. But folk comprises the common people, both inhabiting in the urban and the rural areas, and so folk art is common man's art.