Bharatnatyam originates inTamil Nadu which is also referred to as artistic yoga and Natya yoga. The name Bharatnatyam is derived from the word "Bharata" and thus associated with the Natyashastra. Though the style of Bharatnatyam is over two thousand years old, the freshness and richness of its essence has been retained even today. The technique of human movement which Bharatnatyam follows can be traced back to the fifth Century A.D. from sculptural evidence. This classical dance has a mesmerizing effect as it uplifts the dancer and the beholder to a higher level of spiritual consciousness. It is a dancing style that comprises of Bhava, Raga, Tala, and Natya which reflect the real meaning of the Bharatnatyam.

About Bharatnatyam

The origin and tradition of Bharatnatyam is appealing and enlightening. This dance form was nurtured in the temple by the Devadasis, servants of the God. It was taken to the princely courts and the Chola and the Pallava kings were believed to be the great patrons of this art. The contributions of the South Indian saint-poets and musicians cannot be ignored. Bhakti or devotional cult was infused into the tradition by these poets. The literary content of Bharatnatyam was provided by them and their musical compositions determined the repertoire of this dance form.


The theoretical foundations of Bharatanatyam are found in Natya Shastra, the ancient Hindu text of performance arts. Natya Shastra is attributed to the ancient scholar Bharata Muni, and its first complete compilation is dated to between 200 BCE and 200 CE, but estimates vary between 500 BCE and 500 CE. The most studied version of the Natya Shastra text consists of about 6000 verses structured into 36 chapters. The text, states Natalia Lidova, describes the theory of Tandava dance (Shiva), the theory of rasa, of bhāva, expression, gestures, acting techniques, basic steps, standing postures - all of which are part of Indian classical dances. Dance and performance arts, states this ancient text, are a form of expression of spiritual ideas, virtues and the essence of scriptures.


The solo or the sadir nritya is the direct descendant of this tradition. Besides the rich history of Bharatnatyam, another mythological tale is also attached to the origin of this dance. It is believed that Goddess Parvati taught this dance form to Usha, daughter of Banasura, a demon. Usha taught the same to the Gopikas of the city of Dwaraka, birth place of Lord Krishna. This is how the spiritual dance form Bharatnatyam was introduced to mankind.


Mohiniattam is a classical dance form of Kerala. It is derived from the words "Mohini" (meaning beautiful women) and "attam"(meaning dance). Thus, Mohiniyattam dance form is a beautiful feminine style with surging flow of body movements. Mohiniattam dance in Kerala developed in the tradition of Devadasi system, which later grew and developed a classical status. Mohiniattam is danced by women and is known for its very sensual themes. This dance form has an extremely, slow seductive quality. The dance is characterized by suggestive hand movements (mudras), rhythmic footwork and lyrical music.

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About Mohiniyattam

Mohiniyattam is a traditional South Indian dance from Kerala. The credit for reviving the Mohiniyattam dance in the nineteenth century goes to the Tamil nattuvanar (dance master) Vadivelu, one of the Thanjavur Quartet and Swathi Thirunal. He was an enlightened ruler of Travancore (Southern Kerala) and promoted the study of Mohiniyattam. Swati Tirunal composed many of the music arrangements and vocal accompaniments that provide musical background for the Mohiniyattam dancers. The noted Malayalam poet Vallathol, who established the Kerala Kalamandalam dance school in 1930, played an important role in reviving the Mohiniyattam dance form.

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In the second story Vishnu appears as Mohini to save Lord Shiva from the demon Bhasmasura. The name Mohiniyattam may have been coined after Lord Vishnu; the main theme of the dance is love and devotion to God, with usually Vishnu or Krishna being the hero. Devadasis used to perform this in temples. It also has elements of Koothu and Kottiyattom. Mohiniyattam is a drama in dance and verse.The dance involves the swaying of broad hips and the gentle movements of erect posture from side to side. This is reminiscent of the swinging of the palm leaves and the gently flowing rivers which abound Kerala, the land of Mohiniyattam.

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It is one of the eight Indian classical dance forms. It is considered a very graceful dance meant to be performed as a solo recital by women. The term Mohiniyattam comes from the words "Mohini" meaning a woman who enchants onlookers and "aattam" meaning graceful and sensuous body movements. The word "Mohiniyattam" literally means "dance of the enchantress". There are two stories of the Lord Vishnu disguised as a Mohini. In one, he appears as Mohini to lure the asuras (demons) away from the amrita (nectar of immortality) obtained during the churning of the palazhi or Ocean of Milk


Kuchipudi, like Kathakali is also a dance-drama tradition and derives its name from the vilage of Kuchipudi in the Southern State of Andra Pradesh. In recent years, it has evolved as a solo dance for the concert platform and is performed by women, though like Kathakali it was formerly the preserve of men. The female roles were enacted by men and even today, the tradition boasts of gifted male dancers enacting female roles with such consummate artistry that hardly anyone would notice them as male dancers. The movements in Kuchipudi are quick silver and scintillating, rounded and fleet-footed. Performed to classical Carnatic music, it shares many common elements with Bharatanatyam.

About Kuchipudi

Kuchipudi is one of the eight major Indian classical dances. It originated in a village named Krishna district in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
Kuchipudi is a dance-drama performance art, with its roots in the ancient Hindu Sanskrit text of Natya Shastra. It developed as a religious art linked to traveling bards, temples and spiritual beliefs, like all major classical dances of India.Evidence of Kuchipudi's existence in an older version are found in copper inscriptions of the 10th & 15th century such as the Machupalli Kaifat.


Kuchipudi, like other classical dance forms in India, traces its roots to the Natya Shastra, a foundational treatise on the performing arts attributed to the ancient scholar Bharata Muni. Its first complete compilation is dated to between 200 BCE and 200 CE, but estimates vary between 500 BCE and 500 CE. The most studied version of the Natya Shastra text consists of about 6000 verses structured into 36 chapters.


Kuchipudi is a team performance, with roots in Hindu religious festivals. The drama-dance involves extensive stage movements and exacting footwork, wherein the underlying drama is mimed by expressive gestures of hand (mudras), eye and face movements.The expressive style is through a sign language that follows the classical pan-Indian Sanskrit texts such as Natya Shastra, Abhinaya Darpana and Nrityararnavali.The dance is accompanied with Carnatic music, while the recital is in Telugu language.Just like the Carnatic music style, Kuchipudi shares many postures and expressive gestures with Bharatanatyam, such as the Ardhamandali (half seating position or a partial squat, legs bent or knees flexed out).