Classical Indian Spirit: Bharatanatyam

Last Friday, Andover got spiritual. Dancers Rohita Eswer and Rashmi Srinivasan performed Bharatanatyam, classical Indian dance from South India. Both Eswer and Srinivasan are extensively trained in Bharatanatyam. However, aside from being highly acclaimed performers, Eswer and Srinisvan are also Bharatanatyam instructors in India. The pair competes in prestigious contests on a regular basis. This past summer they received the Karnatka State Scholarship for Dance awarded by the prestigious “Sangeetha Nritya Academy,” or the “Music and Dance Academy.” Their performance consisted of nine pieces: the Guru Sharanam, Kautvam, Lasya Tandava, Dashavatra, Tillana, Rhada Krishna Pranamora, Yashomati Nandana, Glimpses of Bridavan, and Shikshashtaka. Most of the dances were performed to an eight beat rythym and narrated stories of Hindu gods and goddesses. Many of these titles mention the gods they honor. Bharatanatyam is a specifically Hindu form of dance. During the routine, the dancers honor Hindu gods, such as Krishna, the manifestation of the Supreme Being. Bharatanatyam narrates spiritual stories of various Hindu deities in artistic form. The dancer is considered a worshiper of the divine. However, over time the dance has evolved into a cultural presentation, rather than a religious one. Indians of other faiths typically learn these dances as well. The term