DANCEA double-hand gesture not listed by Nandikeswara.

L ast week we came to the last double-hand gesture listed by Nandikeswara. This week's hasta is also a double-hand gesture and one commonly made use of in classical dance. But it is not part of the original verses found in the Abhinayadarpanam. When dancers learn about the various double-hand gestures or samyutta hasta bheda according to Nandikeswara's Abhinayadarpanam, this one is frequently tagged onto the list since it is useful.

Avahitta

Hold the hands with fingers outstretched and separated, so that each hand takes the shape of a star. Now raise the little finger so that it is at right angles to the palm. As you do that, the ring finger also gets raised and rests at about a 45-degree angle to the palm. This makes the hand into a flower-like shape. With both hands held thus, cross them at the wrist. It can be defined as being made by crossing two alapadma-s (a single hand gesture) at the wrist.

Uses

This hasta is seen frequently in sculpturesque postures and nritta (ornamental dance using steps, without dramatic or storytelling intent). It is also used to show Shiva dancing. Besides, it is a stylised way of showing a baby being rocked. It can also be used to indicate a mountain top.

ANJANA RAJAN