Salient Features of Dance
From "A Dancer on Dance" written by V.P. Dhananjayan, published by Bharata Kalanjali
activity has a good impact on the mind of man. Dance is the imitation
of our own action, reaction and conviction presented in sophisticated gesticulation,
exploiting the body mind and soul. These three aspects are represented
in the form of Nritta, Nritya and Natya.
pure dance or rhythmic movement of the body. There are several intricacies
of Nritta like the defined positions starting with a 'Samapada' position.
There are innumerable combinations of adavus (the basic dance steps), the
variation of foot movements.
the application of physical movement sin conjunction with the mind, a combination
of rhythm and mind. To express one needs a language. The traditions
have evolved a perfect system of gestures. The basic alphabets of
this gestural language begin with the single handed gestures and move onto
double handed gestures. These alphabets form words and then make
sentences. Expression comes from the mind and is shown through the
face and eyes.
Natya is dramatic
representation of stories from mythology. The concept of dance actually
originated in the form of dance dramas and later gained importance as a
solo performance. Even here the dramatic representation is prominent.
The solo dancer portrays different characters while narrating stories.
of artistic merits are conjured up in Natya. There is music for the
musician, dance for dance lovers and drama for dramatists, beautiful line
and picturesque poses for the painters and the sculptor and poetry for
the poet. Bharatha describes four kinds of dramatic presentations
known as Chaturvrithi in Natyasastra. They are Bharathi (expression
through speech), Sathwathi (expression achieved through thinking and feeling),
Kaisiki (the Lyrical, subtle movement for ladies) and Arabhati (an acrobatic,
forceful movement to represent war, duels, etc.)
This is the only system of art which
exploits the body, the mind and the sentiments fully and brings an absolute
co-ordination between all senses. Without this absolute co-ordination
it is not possible to convey the purpose of dance to the spectators.
The prime aspect is literary contribution. The emotions are universal
and common to all human beings. these emotions are classified into
eight categories namely Sringara, Karuna, Veera, Roudra, Hasya, Bhayanaka,
Bibhatsa, Abdhuta and the ninth one called Shanta or tranquility.
This quotation from the Vishnudharmottara
Purana sums up the greatness of the art form:
"To worship God by Natya is to fulfill
all desire and to that one is unfolded the path of salvation. The
Dance gives prestige and longevity and destroys all misery. The art
gives guidance to the dull witted and increases the good fortune of humanity"