Bharatanatyam is a South Indian classical dance form. It used to be practiced as Sadir by Devadasis, performing artists of ancient India until the early 20th century. Bharatanatyam techniques and terminology have been traced back to the ancient scripture Natya Shastra, written by sage Bharata (200 BCE to 200 CE).
The name Bharatanatyam is also an acronym made from Bha-"Bhava" (emotion), Ra-"Raga" (melody) and Ta-"Tala"(rhythm) to indicate the three important elements of natyam (dance).
Creating beauty through movements and dynamic energy through rhythmic footwork, Bharatanatyam also serves as a tool for expression through mind body and soul. The body moves in geometric patterns with sharp lines and angles, which are also interspersed with graceful fluid like movements.
From head to toe each and every part of the body is active, in controlled motion. The mind constantly calculates the tala/rhythm counts, keeping the memory active and simultaneously portraying different emotions using the eyes, eyebrows, cheeks, lips, hand gestures and the whole body.
It is a discipline that doesn't come overnight. One has to have patience and should work very hard with determination in order to master it. Once the art is mastered, it is a blissful experience to dance, which in turn elevates the soul.