Thursday 7 May 2015

Article - Education in Spiritual Values through Bharatanatyam - Part VIII Maxims of teaching and the adavus of Bharatanatyam - Chandra Anand

The art of dance is created through the symbol of movements. Cadences of movements are combined in different permutation and combinations to make dance patterns. In Bharatanatyam, “The small units of dance patterns which emerge as a coordinated pattern of movement of the feet, thighs, torso, arms, hands, neck, head and the eyes is known as adavu.” The name adavu falls from the word “adaibu” meaning to integrate cadences of movement into dance patterns. It is actually a Tamil word, for the Sanskrit word “karana.”  “The adavus of Bharatanatyam have like karanas, the sthanaka, the basic standing position; the chari, the movement of the leg and the feet; and the nrittahasta, the decorative hand gesture.” These are the common points between adavu and karana. Adavus form the base for all the major dance patterns called the korvais and jatis. These different dance patterns form the nritta of Bharatanatyam.

Araimandi – the fundamental feature of Bharatanatyam
Bharatanatyam adopts the araimandi as its fundamental stance and thus limits its movements to those that stay close to the ground level only. Its use of aerial space is pretty much nil. The posture of araimandi is described thus: “In Bharatanatyam, the principal stance of the dancer is one in which the body is broken up into a series of triangles. The triangle is formed with the line joining the two knees (flexed and outstretched as in the demi plie in the first position of the classical ballet) as the base and with its apex at the heels (where the feet are outturned as in the first position of the ballet). Another triangle is formed with the waist as the apex and the line joining the knees as the base. A third triangle is conceived with the waist as the apex and line joining the shoulder as its base. This is further emphasized by the outstretched arms, which make yet another triangle in space on either side of the vertical median. The flexed position of the knees known as the ardha mandali is an imperative in Bharatanatyam and the entire dance is executed with a few accepted exceptions in this position. The leg extensions, the jumps and the pirouettes all emphasize this and the entire technique of dance – cadences is one which deliberately seeks to emphasize covering of space, in terms of many varied triangular patterns.”

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