Bharatnatyam dance - where one dancer takes on many roles in a single performance.
style was kept alive by thedevadasis, who were young girls 'gifted' by their parents to the temples and who were married to the gods.
devadasisperformed music and dance as offerings to the deities, in the temple courtyards.
As a solo dance, Bharatnatyam leans heavily on theabhinayaor mime aspect of dance - thenritya, where the dancer expresses thesahityathrough movement and mime.
varnam- most important composition of the Bharatnatyam repertoire, encompasses both nrittaandnrityaand epitomises the essence of this classical dance form. Dancer here performs complicated well graded rhythmic patterns in two speeds showing the control overrhythm, and then goes on to depict in a variety of ways, throughabhinayathe lines of thesahitya.
After the strenuousvarnam, the dancer performs a number ofabhinayaitems expressing a variety of moods.
bhavaorrasais woven into thesahityaand then expressed by the dancer.
Bharatnatyam performance ends with atillanawhich has its origin in thetaranaof Hindustani music. The finale of the piece is a series of well designed rhythmic lines reaching a climax. The performance ends with amangalaminvoking the blessings of the Gods.
The accompanying orchestra consists of a vocalist, a mridangam player, violinist or veena player, a flautist and a cymbal player. The person who conducts the dance recitation is the Nattuvanar.