Technique of Bharatanatyam

The art of Natya is divided into three aspects: Nritta, Nritya and Natya.


Nritta has two major constituents: Tala (time measure) and Laya (basic rhythm).

Nritta is often referred as “pure” or abstract dance. It describes the movement of the body. Hand gesture used in Nritta are only decorative. They do not convey any meaning but only add grace and variety. Patterns are created in space and time without exhibiting any particular emotions and expressing the joy of rhythm.

Nritta is of two kinds: Tandava- energetic and forceful. Lasya- graceful.


The dance which is related to the sentiment (Rasa) and the psychological states states (Bhava) is Nritya. Bhava is the expression of inner fillings through gestures and facial expressions to create Rasa. Rasa is the enjoyment of aesthetic bliss derived by witnessing a performance, when communicated by the artiste to the audience.

Nritya is suggestive and interpretative dance, with every movement and gesture embedded with meaning.


The term Natya is drama proper which has a plot. The Sanskrit root-word, Nat represents both drama and dance. In the ancient Indian culture, dance was the part of drama. The dancers a part of speaking the dialogue, had to sing as well as dance .It was a group production wherein the characters were represented by different actors according to the story line.

Natya means Abhinaya (facial expression) and it is combined manifestation of Bhava, Rasa and Abhinaya. Facial expression is very important in Natya.

To appreciate Natya or dance drama one has to understand and appreciate Indian legends. Most Indian dances take their themes from Indian rich methology and folk legends.