Legend holds that Bharatanatyam, a classical Indian dance form, originated from Lord Shiva, who imparted the divine dance to his goddess wife. She, in turn, shared this artistic expression with humanity, creating a captivating dance tradition.

In the realm of Indian classical dance, the body becomes an instrument for personal transformation and a means of connecting with the universe. Rooted in ancient texts like Natyashastra and Abhinaya Darpana, Bharatanatyam’s choreography, techniques, symbols, and structures form a rich tapestry of tradition.

This rhythmic and dynamic dance form is often hailed as the rhythmic facet of yoga. Dancers’ fingers gracefully form intricate mudras (hand gestures), creating a unique hand position system described in ancient scrolls—an “alphabet” for all dance schools. Balanced grounded postures, with arms either on the hips or extended, define the primary body positions.

Beyond its artistic and spiritual dimensions, Bharatanatyam offers substantial health benefits. Practitioners cultivate enhanced concentration, coordination, and stamina. The dance imparts strength and beauty, teaching the art of transitioning between slowness and swiftness. Expression takes center stage through hand, face, and body movements, creating a rich pantomime and fostering a keen sense of rhythm.

Particularly beneficial for children, Bharatanatyam nurtures tactfulness, good coordination, physical prowess, and musicality. Its positive impact extends to intellectual development, providing insights into diverse cultures and mythologies. In essence, Bharatanatyam emerges as a holistic pursuit intertwining artistry, spirituality, and physical well-being.

Pronounced BARA-ta-NAT-yam, Bharatanatyam is one of the oldest forms of Indian classical dance, boasting a history of over 2000 years with roots in South India. It breathes life into the sculptures adorning Indian temples, embodying Hindu mythology.


This dance form draws inspiration from Indian myth, epics, and folklore, lending itself gracefully to both solo and group choreography. The term “Bharatanatyam” encompasses expression (Bhava), music (Raga), and rhythm (Tala); Natyam means dance.

The foundational movements, called adavus, are taught systematically before being combined to create choreographed dance sequences. Patience is key to mastering the basics before achieving a graceful performance.

In the 20th century, Rukminidevi Arundale restored Bharatanatyam’s social status and image through Kalakshetra, a renowned dance institution. Her contributions to Indian art and culture are unparalleled.

A sloka underscores Bharatanatyam’s uniqueness, emphasizing its ability to fully engage the body, mind, and sentiments, creating absolute coordination between all senses.


“Yato Hastaha Tato Dhrushtihi,

Yato Dhrushtis tato Manaha,

Yato Manas tato Bhavo,

Yato Bhavas tato Rasaha”


“Where the hand goes, eye should be there
Where the eyes go, the mind should be there
Where the mind goes, energy should be there
Where the energy goes, appreciation should go.”

encapsulates the profound essence of this mesmerizing dance form.