Salutation: Namaskaram or Tatti Kumbidal, The dance class and recitals always begin and finish with the Salutation. In this, the dancer is asking for the blessings of the earth, the Gods, the Guru and the audiences.
1. Feet are together in Sama pada position. Hold the hands at the chest level holding Shikhara, with a distance to be visible.
2. Strike the right leg and swing the right hand into stretched flat pataka position and repeat this ont he left side.
3. Sit down in the PurnaMandala or Muzhummandi position with hands coming into Pushaputa and offering flowers to the earth.
4. Both hands touching the earth in the chatura mudra and then touching the eyes, repeat this total 3 times.
5. Hands are brought up above the head in the Anjali position.
6. Anjali hands brought down in front of the fore head
7. Anjali hands brought down to the front of the chest.
Single Hand Gestures: Asamyukta Hastas
1.Pataka - Flag 2.Tripataka - Flag in three parts 3.Ardha Pataka - Half Flag 4.Kartari Mukha - Scissors Fave 5.Mayura - Peacock 6.Ardha Chandra - Half Moon 7.Arala - Bent 8.Shukathunda - Parrot's Beak 9.Mushti - Fist 10.Shikhara - Peak 11.Kapitha - Elephant Apple 12.Kataka Mukha - Opening in a bracelet 13.Suchi - Needle 14.Chandrakala - Digit of the moon 15.Padmakosha - Lotus Bud 16.Sarpa Sirsa - Snake hood 17.Mriga Sirsa - Deer Head 18.Simha Mukha - Lion Face 19.Kangula - Tail 20.Ala Padma - Lotus 21.Chatura - Square 22.Brahmara - Bee 23.Hamsaya - Swan beak 24.Hamsapaksya - Swan wing 25.Samdamsa - Pincers 26.Mukula Hastam - Blossom 27.Tamarachuda - Rooster 28.Trishula - Trident
1. Place the hands on the sides of the waist. Feet to the sides and keens bent in Aramandi position. Gradually start sitting as heels are being raised. Sit down in the Purna mandala position by fully sitting down on the heels. Gradually get up and back to the Aramandi position.
2. Sit on the floor with feet touch each other in front. Put both hands on the feet. Lower your upper body and slowly bent down and touch the toes with the forehead. Come back slowly and repeat.
3. Start in the Aramandi position, jump and sit down in the Purna mandala (full sitting position on the toes) and strech the right leg to the side. Repeat the same to the left leg.
Steps Series-1 & 2: Different styles within Bharata Natyam will have different variations and classifications to the adavus and sollukattu.
(Not all of the variations are included in the DVD due to time limitations and sollukattu has been simplified for easy learning purposes.)
1. Tattadavu: Tatta means to beat. The body is in Araimandi and the feet strike the floor alternately with the sole. There are eight variations in this group. The sollukattu for this group is Taiya tai.
2. Nattuadavu: Natta means to stretch. From the basic araimandi position, one leg is stretched outward either to the side or the front striking the floor with the heel and then is brought back to position. There are eight variations in this group. The sollukattu for this group is Tai yum tat ta tai yum ta ha.
3. Pakkaadavu: Pakka means side and the emphasis on the steps of this group is to move sideways. There are four in this group and the sollukattu for this group is Ta tai tai tha dhit tai tai ta.
4. Ettaadavu: Etta means to reach out. This group derives its name from the movements of the hands. The feet beat the floor alternately, both are then raised with a slight jump on the balls of the feet and one foot is brought back to position while the other foot is balanced on the toes. There are six steps in this group. The sollukattu is Tat tai ta ha dhit tai ta ha.
5. Kudhitha mettu adavu: Kudhitha mettu means to jump and beat. Both the feet are raised on the toes with a jump and strike the floor together with the heels. There are four in this group. The sollukattu is Tai hat tai hi.
6. Sarakkal adavu: Sarakkal is to slide. The foot is made to slide without raising it from the floor and join the other foot in the sthanaka (standing) position. One foot is raised on the heel and both beat the floor with a slight jump. There are four variations and the sollukattu is Tai ya tai hi.
7. Teermana Adavu: Teermana means to conclude or finish. These steps are used to end a group of steps and are usually repeated thrice. Tari kita tomand ta dhing ginna tomare the sollukatta for this group. They will be divided into two groups – variations in the tai taidhit dhit tai are five and the usual ending steps in the three format are two.
8. Tattu metta adavu: Tattu matta means to strike and beat. The foot strikes the floor and is raised on the toes and beats the floor with the heel. There are five variations to match the five basic talas, ta ka di mi (4), ta ki ta (3), ta ka ta ki ta (5), ta ka di mi ta ki ta (7), ta ka di mi ta ka ta ki ta (9).
9. Shutru adavu: Shutru means to whirl. This group of adavus involves swirling movements. There are four in this group. The sollukattu being tat tai tam dhit tai tam.
10. Mandi adavu: Mandi means knee and this group of steps consists of one knee resting on the floor while balancing the body on the toes. This group of steps will be combined with the Katta - Shimir adavu. Katta means enclose and shimir means to open. These steps have expansive hand movements that suggest opening an enclosed movement. Altogether there are eight variations. Tai tyam ta tais the sollukattu used.
11. Mai adavu: Mai means body. The movement of the entire body is the important feature.
12. Periya adavu: Periya means big. These steps are used to cover long areas on the stage.
Head Movements: Siro Bheda
1. Samamu - Straight
2. Udvahitamu - Up
3. Adho Mukhamu - Down
4. Alolitamu - Circular
5. Shutamu - Right & left
6. Kampitamu - Up & Down
7. Paravrutamu - Side
8. Uttikshmu - Side up
9. Parivahitamu - Both sides like a fan
Eye Movements: Drusti Bheda
1. Samam - Straight
2. Alokitamu - Circular
3. Sachi - Place to end
4. Pralokitamu - Side to side
5. Nimilitamu- Half eyes (lowered eyelids)
6. Ullokitamu - Up
7. Anuvritamu - Up & down
8. Avalokitamu - Down
1. Sundari - Side to side
2. Tirachenamu - Like a snake
3. Parivartitamu - Half circle
4. Prakampitamu - Front & back
Double Hand Gestures: Samyukta Hastas
1.Anjali - Salutation 2.Kapotha - Pigeon 3.Kartakam - Karkata 4.Swastika - Crossed 5.Dola - Swing (not in the DVD) 6.Pushpaputaka - Handful of flowers 7.Shivalinga - Symbol for Shiva 8.Utsana - Embrace (not in the DVD) 9.Kataka Vardhana 10.Kartari Swastika - Crossed Scissors 11.Chataka - Cart (not in the DVD) 12.Shankha - Conch 13.Chakra - Disc 14.Samputa - Covered Box 15.Pasha - Cord 16.Kilaka - Bond 17.Matsya - Fish 18.Kurma - Tortoise 19.Varaha - Boar 20.Garuda - Eagle 21.Nagabandha - Sepernt Heads 22.Katva - Bed 23.Bherunda - Pair of birds 24.Avahitta - Dissimulation (not in the DVD)
Dancers of classical dances of India are the most visually attractive. Colorful silks and saree materials are used to create custom clothing. For Bharata Natyam, these outfits are made in pant or skirt style. These dresses should enhance the elegance and modesty of the dancer whether male or female.
Classical dancers of India wear jewelry almost from head to toe. The most sought out and expensive jewelry is called Temple jewelry. Imitation and inexpensive jewelry is also available.
1. Head Jewelry (Thalai Saamann): Three prong piece that outlines the forehead and placed on the hairline. Sun and moon button are also added on the top of the head. Sun should be worn on the right side of the dancer's head.
2. Braid: Long false hair braid piece is woven in with the real hair of the female dancer and a tassel (kunjalam or kuchulu) hangs at the end. Usual length of the braid and the tassel should be just below the hips of the female dancer. A decorated bun (Raakodi) is atted on the head just above the braid. This is secured by many hair pins. Artificial flower garlands (white and orange) are circularly arranged around the bun and secured with many pins.
3. Nose rings such as Mookuthi, Bullaku and Naththu can be worn by the female dancers.
4. Long necklace and choker are worn by both male and female dancers.
5. Bangles and Vankis (armlets) are also worn by both male and female dancers. Male dancers wear very simple big bracelet instead of bangles.
6. Waist belt or Odyaanam is worn around the waist.
7. Bells (Chalangi or gajjelu) are worn around the ankles. Female dancers could also wear silver or gold ankletts.
Foundation slightly lighter in tone is applied on the face, neck, ears and hands of the dancer to create and even and clear tone. The eye brows and eyes are drawn with a black pencil or liquid liner with lot of care to define and beautify the facial features. The lips are colored in bright red wiht lipstick. Eye shadow, mascara and rouge could also be used. The finger tips, toes and the outline of the feet are outlined with red liquid (Altha or ink) or markers (washable). Beautiful designs can applied on the palms and on the top of the feet.