Thursday 29 November 2012

Health Column - Warm-up for Bharatanatyam dancers - Veena Basavarajaiah

There are hardly any references to warm-ups in our mythology. We do not hear about Lord Krishna doing surya namaskars before dancing on Kalinga sarpa or Lord Nataraja doing a few Pilates before his thandava nritya nor do we hear about them suffering from any injuries for not having done any exercises before a performance. The divine beings who danced slaying demons or saving the world obviously never felt the need for a warm-up. Looks like they functioned on magical powers and could always rely on mortality. Unfortunately, for us mere mortals, a warm-up is quintessential before any performance, practice or rehearsal. 

Do Bharatanatyam dancers have to do a separate warm-up when they do so many adavus to prepare their body? This is an excellent question but, is the body really ready to start a
thattadavu from the word go? Thattadavu, though considered a very simple adavu is very demanding on the body. A warm-up then becomes essential to prepare the body for these adavus. It prepares the limbs for a good araimandi and ensures that the lower back, ankles and knees are ready for the impact of thattadavus. Besides, how many of us do adavus before a rehearsal or performance? A good warm-up before starting adavus will make sure that you do not have any cramps or aches while doing them. 

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  1. Thanks for this post, Veena. I have another question related to this. How do you stay hydrated during the performance? I sweat a lot during my performance & towards the end, my legs become stiff due to dehydration. How do we take care of this?

  2. Sweating is directly proportionate to the body fat percentage and is related to the diet. If you can run 5 km in 20-24 min, you legs will not become stiff during the performance.

  3. Hi veena,
    I m a 37 yr old mother of two kids, starting to learn the divine dance form of Bharatanatyam, due to my interest in the same. I have started with sutral adavu and I practise daily to get it correct. My intention is to perform someday. Would I be thinking very late in life or u have ppl doing well inspite of starting late, like me. Just want your expert opinion and encouragement.

  4. This really helped me get a rhythm with my warm-up. Also, I really enjoyed reading about other styles of dancers and how they perform. Thanks for the tip about warm clothes during make-up and before.
    Thanks again

  5. Such a wonderful and useful read...Thank you Veena