Thursday, 5 May 2011

Bharatnatyam Arangetram Theory

Arangetram is a granduation performance that is the part of the traditional format – the Margam ( path) . It reflects the different stages of the dancer’s consciousness . In Tamil (one of the south Inidan languages)Aranga means is raised stage and etram means climbing. Ii is also called as Rangaprevesha in Kannada (another South Indian Language) where Ranga means stage and prevesha means enter. Arangetram is test for the Sishya ( student) as well as the Guru (teacher) as the Guru’s knowledge and the Sishya’s talent are judged by the Public. So the Arangetram is done only when the Guru feels that the Sishya is capable and talented enough to perform the Arangetram. For performing this Arangetram the student must have atleast 10 to 12 years of training. Arangetram was known as Gejjepooje once in the Old Mysore District (the State of Karnataka in South India) which means worshipping the jingles in Kannada. In Tamil this is known as Salangai Poojai where Salangai means the jingles and the poojai menas prayers to God. The Sishya is not supposed to wear the Jingles until this ceremony is performed. However, this concept has changed slightly and the Salangai poojai or Gajjepooje is performed after a few of learning dance . And the Arangetram is performed after advance learning. The accompaniment include the singer, the Mridhanga Player, the Violin player and the Natvanga. Other instruments like veena , flute etc., are optional. These accompaniments play a very important role. The performer wears a lot of jewellary , make-up and specially stiched dress. Jingles are a must. The performaer must have a lot of stamina and concentration as he or she has to perform the Arangetram for about 3 hours. This time is divided into two parts. 

The first part of the Arangetram comprises the following items. 

Pushpanjali or Alaripu




The second part comprises of

Ashtapathi or Devernama


In this item the dancers salute the God, Guru and the Audience. It is warm up item where the artist prepares the body for the next hours of vigorous performance. Alaripu (budding flower)

It includes pure Nrtta. And the movements are performed according to the syllables set for beat (thala). The complexity of the movements gradually increase. This ia also a warm up piece to prepare the body for the next hours of the Bharatnatyam performance. It doeasn’s convey any message but is considered as an item where the artist salutes the God , Guru and the audience.


It is more complex than the previous items. It comprises of amazing postures and teermanas or muktayas (ending of the jathi). This ia musical composition set to a Raga unlike alaripu. 


This is a dance item with both Nrtta and abhinaya. The theme of the lyrics is usually devotional like depicting
Krishna’s childhood, praising a King or describing any sequence from any of the famous devotional stories. In the shabdam the emotions are withheld at the beginning; thereafter when the dancer has clarified herself , they are released in a measured and disciplined manner. After mastering this discipline she dances the Varnam.


In this item Bhratanatyam dancers are tested for their capacity to perform both abhinaya and nrtta. It containe many complex steps and expressions. The lyrics can be devotinal .
Varna can also have Shringara Rasa as its theme. 


It is includes expression of divine love or pangs of separation in love. The tempo is comparatively slow that is based on a specific mood of love. Padams will have nayakas ( hero, supreme lover, divine lord,) and Nayika ( heroine, the yearning soul). Usually a heroine tells her friend her feelings towards the hero . The Bhratanatyam lyrics is about how the hero has betrayed , how he has delayed his arrival, how she is angry with her beloved hero etc. 


These are poet Jayadevas Sanskrit compositions called Geethagovinda an extremely romantic composition..It described the love of Lord Krishna and Radha (
Krishna’s childhood friend ) in 12 cantos containing songs. The songs are sung by Krishna or Radha or by Radha’s maid. Each canto is named differently based on Krishna’s status of mind. 

Saamodadamodara -joyful Krishna
Aakleshakeshava – careless Krishna
Mugdhamadhusoodhana – bewildered Krishna
Snigdhamadhusoodhana – tender Krishna
Saakankshapundareekaksha – longing Krishna
Kuntavaikunta – indolent Krishna
Naagaranaaraayana – cunning Krishna
Vilakshalakshmeepatihi – abashed Krishna
Mandamukunda – languishing Krishna
Chaturachaturbhuja – intelligent Krishna
Saanandadamodara – blissful Krishna
Supreetapeetambara – ecstatic Krishna

Expressiona play a very important role in this item. The Rasa can be expressed only if the Bharatanatyam dancer is matured enough to understand the lyrics and the situation. 


This item comprises of devotional lyrics in praise of God , describing the God etc., It mainly comprises of Abhinaya with almost no emphasis on Nrtta. These sons are the Bharanatyam compositions of great mystics like PURANDARADASAR , KANAKADASAR, VIJAYADASAR ,VYASARAJA to name a few. The Bharatanatyam compositions are popularly known as Daasa Sahitya. It is a devotional literature written in simple language. It preaches philosophies of love , devotion and peaceful co existence. 


This is usually the last item in any Bharatanatyam performance. It is full of complicated movements and postures including complicated muktayas are Sollukattu,ending of any step or adavu. This mainly a Nrtta piece which might have a charana, a meaningful lyrics for which Abhinaya is shown. 


It denotes the ending of the performance. Here the Bhratanatyam artist will again salute the God, Guru and the Audience for making the performance a success and as a token of thanks giving. 


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