Classical Indian Dance

Bettina Breese - Performances and Classes


Short description of Dance-styles

Bharat Natyam

Bharat Natyam from the South-Indian federal country Tamil Nadu is said to be the oldest Indian dance-style, which owes its fundamental basics to the Natya Shastra, a comprehensive treatise on Indian dramaturgy. First it was danced at temples on the occasion of divine services by the Devadasis, the servants of Gods and Goddesses, later at the court of the nobility, where it got into discredit. Revived about 1930 it developed to be a dance-style performed on stage. Despite its long, old tradition it could keep its original performance. It is based on geometrical lines and consists of pure rhythmical elements, as well as of Abhinaya, the language of hand-gestures and facial expression.


The dance-style Kuchipudi probably got its name from a little village in the South-East Indian federal country Andhra Pradesh and is known for its lively and ardent rhythm. It is said that the dance-style's origin is to be found in the 2nd c. B.C. but revived and decisively shaped it was by Siddhendra Yogi only in the 14th c. A.D. First a dance-drama in which only male-dancers used to perform and therefore also used to impersonate female characters Kuchipudi today is additionally known as a solo dance-form which is also performed by female dancers. Like Bharat Natyam it consists of pure rhythmical elements as well as of Abhinaya, the language of hand-gestures and facial-expression.

Bharat Natyam & Kuchipudi

Common aim of both dance-styles is to put the audience in the position to experience the feelings, moods and emotions which are expressed/shown/performed on stage. That is why the tales of the Hinduistic Gods are dealing with the emotions and feelings of mankind like love, hatred, anger and jealousy. But the presentation of these feelings/emotions stands for the eternal search, the longing desire of mankind for higher consciousness, for the unification of the human soul with the divine one.

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