- Bharatanatyam is one of the oldest (considered to be over 2000 years old) and most popular forms of classical dance that originated in Tanjore district in Tamil Nadu, India.
- Bharatnatyam is one among the eight classical dances of India.
- The origin of this dance can be traced to the sage Bharata Muni's Natyashastra.
- The Abhinaya Darpana by Nandikesvara is one of the main sources of textual material, for the study of the technique and grammar of body movement in Bharatnatyam Dance.
- The style was kept alive by the devadasis, the young girls 'gifted' by their parents to the temples and married to the gods.
- Bharatnatyam dance is known to be ekaharya, where one dancer takes on many roles in a single performance.
- The dance involves transitional movements of the leg, hip and arm. Expressive eye movements and hand gestures are used to convey emotions. It encompasses Bhav, Rag, Ras and Taal.
- This form of dance is slow and moving, but at times fast and fluid and hence is also called Fire Dance.
- 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.