Sunday 10 March 2024

Article - Reappraising Bharatanatyam for physical, psychological and psychosocial benefits - Krithika V Balaji

This article reappraises Bharatanatyam from a therapeutic point of view, intending to explore the benefits it offers in physical, psychological and psycho-social realms to the practitioner. The aim is to derive useful insights on employing Bharatanatyam as a therapeutic dance form to aspirants seeking benefits in this regard. The insights can serve as a benchmark to trainers who seek to expand the scope of the dance form to a therapeutic plane. While mainstream research focuses on the aesthetic and artistic features of Bharatanatyam, often the therapeutic benefits offered by this dance form that is comparable to yoga and other forms of wellness therapies are overlooked and under-researched. This research is a narrative exploration of the therapeutic dimensions of Bharatanatyam.


In India, the land renowned for culture and heritage, Bharatanatyam is considered as a representation of the ancient culture - connected with sculptures, music, poetry, scriptures, theatre and spirituality. Bharatanatyam is one of the oldest dance forms in India originating from the Southern part of the nation. This art form, as described in the Natya Shastra [1] (200 BCE), is an aesthetic and divine art which is revered for ages for its authenticity and spirituality. Bharatanatyam is a dance form which evolved from the Natya Veda [2] and has a spiritual dimension to it. The Natya Veda, as per the Hindu mythology, was imparted to the world by Lord Brahma [3] as a kreedaneeyatha [4] or a plaything that could entertain as well as impart the sense of values implying its spiritual nature in the Indian culture. Bharatanatyam is a celebration of the mind, body and spirit, similar to all the other Indian classical forms. Anyone can learn and perform this art devoid of religion, caste or creed. It is a Darshan - a philosophy on its own. It is always evolving and timeless. (Rele, K. 2018). 

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  1. Anuja Hariharan11 March 2024 at 03:10

    Very detailed review on a much needed topic - of scientific evidence on the benefits of bharatnatyam. Particularly interesting to read the different kind of bhavas, mudras, and the parallels to yoga and asanas.

    The immediate impact of concentration and meditation is the most relatable. Synchronization with the self can only be beneficial to the different bodily systems - such as blood flow, heart, and so on.

    Can similar effects be applied to group synchronization? Synchronizing our (creative) energies with a group is a very complex topic- yet dance and music are solutions through art where group discipline can also be achieved, and harmony with others can be experienced easily. Some ideas for future- on how dance as a therapeutic and harmonizing factor can be applied in team building/ management/ leadership / and maybe organization settings - to losen inhibitions and attain higher focus as a team..

  2. Thank you so much Anuja Hariharan.