Bharata Natya is a form of Indian classical dance that originated in
the temples of Tamil Nadu. It is known for its grace, purity,
tenderness, expression and sculpturesque poses. Lord Shiva in his
Nataraja form is considered the God of this dance. Today, it is one
of the most popular and widely performed dance styles and is
practiced by male and female dancers all over the world.
A Bharatanatyam dancer starts and ends every session of dancing with Namaskaram (obeisance). The dancer pays respect to God (Nataraja), teacher (Guru) and audience. She touches Mother Earth and asks her permission to stamp on her during the dance. It is well known for their body movements and facial expressions.
It is therefore, a blend of expressions, melody and rhythm. Bharatanatyam is the combination of three elements Nritta, Nritya and Natya. Nritta highlights body movements and rhythm. Nritya gives emphasis to dance postures and body movements. Natya gives importance to drama and poems. Done with complete concentration the dance form is as good as yoga.
A beginner learns to elegantly maintain balance throughout the performance under the guidance of a guru. The different body movements called Karanas are beneficial to improve balance. While performing Karana one needs to stay in one posture for a few seconds which needs guidance and practice. The posture can be compared to standing on one foot for few seconds without losing balance. Therefore learning Bharatanatyam at a very young age can be immensely beneficial for individuals for the cultural exposure it offers.