KERALA

New step for students of classical dance

LEARNING THE PACES: A Bharatanatyam workshop in progress at the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi in Thrissur.

LEARNING THE PACES: A Bharatanatyam workshop in progress at the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi in Thrissur.   | Photo Credit: — PHOTO: K.K. Najeeb

Staff Reporter

Thrissur: A workshop on Bharatanatyam, being held here by Bharatham, offers students an opportunity to learn the Chennai Kalakshetra style of the dance.

About 25 students, both beginners and advanced-level learners, are being trained at the workshop by Jyolsana Menon, a lecturer with Kalakshetra.

The students will get a chance to learn some of the basic movements (adavus) of the style as well as the hand gestures (mudras), poses and facial expressions.

A traditional dance once practised by devadasis as part of temple rituals, Bharatanatyam still maintains a pure devotional quality within its grace of form.

Basic elements

‘Bharata’ signifies the three fundamentals of the art: Bhava, Raga and Thala (emotion, melody and rhythm). Natyam (dance) has two basic elements: pure dance (nritta) and expressional dance (nrithya).

There are many regional and style variations of the dance form.

Of these, the Kalakshetra style has been widely appreciated. The style was bound by stringent aesthetic rules and regulations, said Ms. Menon.

Kalakshetra founder Rukmini Devi Arundale insisted that students concentrate on a single dance form. It takes years to master a dance form.

In Kerala, students try to learn many dance forms over relatively short periods, mostly aiming to participate in youth festivals.

“The result: students tend to mix Bharatanatyam with Mohiniyattom or Kuchipudi. The trend, however, is changing thanks to the grade system in board examinations,” she noted.

At the workshop, she is trying to improve upon what the students have already learned. “I am trying to make students perfect the Bharatanatyam gestures and movements they know,” she said.

The workshop will conclude on May 24.

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