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Kathak

The Kathak dance form originated in the north and at first was very similar to the Bharatanatyam. Persian and Muslim influences later altered the dance from a temple ritual to a courtly entertainment. The influence of the Mughal tradition is evident in this dance form, and it has a distinct Hindu-Muslim texture.

The dances are performed straight-legged and the ankle bells worn by the dancers adeptly controlled. Kathak has an exciting and entertaining quality with intricate footwork and rapid pirouettes being the dominant and most endearing features of this style. The costumes and themes of these dances are often similar to those in Mughal miniature paintings.

Though not similar to the Natyasastra, the principles in Kathak are essentially the same. Here, the accent is more on footwork as against the emphasis on hasta mudras or hand formations in Bharatanatyam.

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Designerschmuck: NEU: Neotribal Art Collection

Bharatnatyam

Of the various forms of classical dance in India, Bharata Natyam is believed to be the oldest, because it is the form which is based to the largest extent, on ancient texts on the dance. For centuries it was danced by Devadasis in the temples of south India. Movement, mime and music contribute in equal measure to this beautiful dance from Tamil Nadu. It is a solo, dance which is devotioal in spirit. Highly stylised and sophisticated in its technique, Bharata Natyam is evenly divided between nritta, pure dance, and nritya, expressinal compositions. The songs pertain mostly to the theme of love but not sensual love. These are given an elevated and somewhat spiritual flavour.

A Bharata Natyam performance begins with alarippu, an invocatory number which is structured to give the effect of the body unfolding itself by degrees, as if in offering to God. The dancer begins with a sidelong glance, executes a lateral glide of the neck, and then fans the movement out to each part of the body. As she showers alternately silken and steely blows in space, in strict rhythm with the drum, the mridamgam, and the syllables sung by the nattuvanar, the conductor, the feet adorned with ankle bells change scores of rhythmic patterns.

The dancer's skill at both pure dance, seen elsewhere in items like jatiwaram and tillana and in mime compositions like shabdam and padam, finds its acme in varnam. This is the central piece of a Bharata Natyam recital and makes the greatest demands on the dancer's stamina and emotinal resources.

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Kathakali

A rich and flourishing tradition of dance drama can be witnessed in the picturesque state of Kerala, a narrow strip of beautiful land running along the west coast of India. Here, in the night, the drums roll, beckoning an audience to a most magnificent spectacle. Kathakali, a well-developed dance-drama, is a performance where the actors depict characters from the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata and from the Puranas (ancient scriptures). The dancers adorn themselves in huge skirts and head-dress, wearing a most intricate style of make-up.

Kathakali draws heavily from drama and is danced with elaborate masks and costumes. Kathakali recitals are generally long and while other dance forms are more emotive than narrative, Kathakali is both. It combines dance with dialogue to bring myth and legend to life in the temple courtyards of Kerala. The dancers use their stunning costumes and make-up, with the accompaniment of drums and vocalists, to create various moods and emotions.

So strong is the identification of the dancers with the characters they play and so absolute their conviction, that they seem to surpass themselves, becoming one with the legendary heroes and heroines they depict.

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Kuchipudi

Kuchipudi, the indigenous style of dance of Andhra Pradesh took its birth and effloresced in the village of the same name, originally called Kuchelapuri or Kuchelapuram, a hamlet in Krishna district. From its origin, as far back in the dim recesses of time as the 3rd century BC, it has remained a continuous and living dance tradition of this region. The genesis of Kuchipudi art as of most Indian classical dances is associated with religions. For a long time, the art was presented only at temples and that too only for annual festivals of certain temples in Andhra.

According to tradition, Kuchipudi dance was originally performed only by men and they all belonged to the Brahmain community. These Brahmain families were known popularly as Bhagavathalu of Kuchipudi. The very first group of Brahmain Bhagavathulu of Kuchipudi was formed in 1502 AD. Their programmes were offerings to the deities and they never allowed women in their groups.

Kuchipudi art, to be noted was intended as a dance drama requiring a set of character, never as a mere dance by a soloist which is common in present times. This dance drama are sometimes known as Ata Bhagavatham. The plays are in Telugu and traditionally all roles are taken by men alone.

Kuchipudi plays are enacted in the open air and on improvised stages. The presentation begins with some stage rites which are performed in full view of the audience. Then the Soothradhara or the conductor and the supporting musicians come on the stage and give a play of rhythm on the drums and cymbals. In a Kuchipudi performance, each principal character introduces himself or herself on the stage with a daru. A daru is a small composition of dance and song specially designed for each character to help him or her reveal his or her identity and also to show the performer's skill in the art. There are nearly 80 dharus or dance sequences in the dance drama. Behind a beautiful curtain held by two persons, Satyabhama enters the stage with her back to the audience. In Bhama Kalapam, Satyabhama is Vipralamba Nayaki, ie, the heroine who is deceived by her lover and dejected by his absence.
The most popular Kuchipudi dance is the pot dance in which a dancer keeps a pot filled with water on her head and feet kept on a brass plate. She moves on the stage manipulating the brass plate, with the feet kept on its rim and doing some hand movements without spilling a drop of water on the ground thus astounding the audience.

Apart from Bhama Kalapam, the other famous dance dramas are Gollakalapam by Bhagavatha Ramayya, Prahlada Charitam by Tirumala Narayanacharyalu, Sashirekha Parinaya etc. The make up and costumes are characteristic of the art. There is nothing elaborate in the costumes and the makeup is not so heavy. The important characters have different make up and the female characters wear ornaments and jewellery such as Rakudi (head ornament), Chandra Vanki (arm ornament), Adda Bhasa and Kasina Sara (neck ornament) and a long plait decorated with flowers and jewellery. The music in Kuchipudi is classical Karnatic. The mridanga, violin and a clarinet are the common instruments employed as accompaniment.

Today Kuchipudi like Bharatanatyam has undergone many changes. The present day dancers having advanced training in Kuchipudi style, present this art in their own various individual ways. There are presently only two melams, or professional troupes of male performers. The bulk of the dancers are woman. In its present day dispensation, Kuchipudi has come to be reduced from a dance drama to a dance, from an uplifting theatre experience to a routine stage affair.

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Odissi

Odissi, is the traditional dance form of Orissa and owes its origin to the temple dances of the devadasis (temple dancers). Possibly, the oldest classical dance form in the country, Odissi has been mentioned in inscriptions, depicted on scultures, in temples like the Brahmeswara and the dancing hall of the Sun Temple at Konark. In the 1950s, the entire dance form was revitalised thanks to the Abhinaya Chandrika and sculpted dance poses found in temples.

While the form is curvaceous, concentrating on the tribhang or the division of the body into three parts, head, bust and torso; the mudras and the expressions are similar to those of Bharatnatyam. Odissi performances are replete with lores of the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, Lord Krishna. It is a soft, lyrical classical dance which depicts the ambience of Orissa and the philosophy of its most popular deity, Lord Jagannath.

Odissi is based on the popular devotion to Lord Krishna and the verses of the Sanskrit play Geet Govinda are used to depict the love and devotion to God. The Odissi dancers use their head, bust and torso in soft flowing movements to express specific moods and emotions.

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Mahiniyattam

Nestling between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, Kerala has always enjoyed a certain geographical isolation which helped the people of this fascinating strip of land to develop a culture, a way of life and theatrical arts distinctly their own. Since Kathakali was a jealously guarded male preserve, Mohiniyaattam was specially created for female dancers.Mohiniyaattam is a distinctive dance form of Kerala. According to Hindu mythology Lord Vishnu took the form of Mohini, the divine enchantress. Thats how the dance form got its name. This dance-form was different from the other performing arts of Kerala mainly in two respects. Firstly, the dominantly religious atmosphere of the other classical dance-styles is absent in Mohiniyaattam. Secondly, it did not flourish in temple-precincts like Bharathanatyam Odissi, or Kuchipudi.

Wide swinging steps and the swinging movement of the torso from side to side are traits of mohiniattam. Rhythmic variations called 'choll~' based on patterns of rhythm syllables are an integral part of the vocal accompaniment. And this is gracefully rendered by the dancer with beautiful gestures and footwork.

Mohiniyaattam is a dance of sheer enchantment, its purpose being overtly sensual. This classical style was born out of a clever fusion of the highly stylized and male-monopolized Kathakali with the rigid Bharathanatyam. Though it shows deep affinities with both these styles, it has developed as a distinct dance-form with its own personality. Like Bharathanatyam, Mohiniyaattam is primarily intended as a solo dance to be performed by girls only, and its technical structure is quite similar to the former. At the same time, the great influence of Kathakali movements has given it a much greater dramatic, emotional impact.

Mohiniyaattam was, in many respects, a rebellion against the austere disciplines of Bharathanatyam and Kathakali, and it represents one aspect of the blossoming of the Malayali genius in the realm of arts. It was an attempt to secularise a temple-dance, and to infuse lyricism and individuality into what was mainly a theatrical tradition. The dance is openly erotic and the eyes in particular, are used with obvious coquetry. But Mohini (enchantress) who casts the spell of her Maya on the spectators, "only enchants, she never allures". While the Bharathanatyam dancer has to "subjugate her personality into the mainstream of Bhakthi, the Mohiniyaattam dancer strives to project her vivacious personality" and to reflect the Maya (illusory) or Mohini-roopam of Lord Vishnu which charms everyone.

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Manipuri

Situated in the far north eastern corner of India is a secluded and picturesque valley enclosed by mountain ranges. In this almost complete isolation was born one of India's richest classical dance forms: Manipuri.
Performed still in temples and religious occasions, inextricably woven into the lives of the people of Manipur, this dance form is a very much living tradition. A genuine Manipuri dance performance offers a glimpse of a rare and ancient civilization still extant.

This style is multifaceted, ranging from the softest feminine to the obviously vigorous masculine. Dignified grace is to be found in every aspect and the range it offers in technique, rhythmics and tempo makes a Manipuri recital an absorbing and exhilarating experience.

Manipuri dance is a generic name and covers all the dance forms of this land. According to legend, Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati danced in the valleys of Manipuri to the accompaniment of the Ghandharvas to the celestial light of Mani (jewel) from the head of the Atishesha, a serpant and that is how it has come to be called Manipuri.

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Quelle der Informationen:

http://www.umich.edu/~hindu/dance/bharatanatyam.htm

 

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