Definition - What does Bharatanatyam mean?

A form of classical Indian dance, bharatanatyam is a physical expression that centers on displaying the divine or spiritual aspects through the body. In Sanskrit, bharatanatyam means "Indian dance" and is believed to have divine origin. It is considered the most ancient form of classical Indian dance, as well as one of the most popular.

Bharatanatyam is a form of Natya yoga (a sacred and meditative dance yoga) and is believed by some to have similar health benefits as yoga.

Yogapedia explains Bharatanatyam

In Hindu religious tradition, it is believed that Brahma created bharatanatyam (through the creation of the Natya Veda) as a form of entertainment and communication that could be understood by all, as some people were unable to understand the scriptures.

Historically, bharatanatyam was primarily performed by female dancers and dancer-priestesses. Contemporary classical dancers of bharatanatyam are both male and female. It is considered a sacred ritual that is spiritually uplifting for both audience and dancer.

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