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Bharatanatyam Classical Dance of Tamil Nadu- History, Costume, Origin, and Style

6th May, 2022

Bharatanatyam is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful forms of dance, and the best thing about this form is that it glorifies the cultural history of India manifold. But most of us do not know much about the field, and hence we end up making assumptions or even stereotyping those individuals in the dance profession.

If you are just interested in Bharatanatyam as a dance form and want to sign up for classical dance classes, having a basic understanding of the field is very important so that you can make an informed decision about joining a class and learning this beautiful art form.

Bharatanatyam of Tamil Nadu- Indian Classical Dance

It is essential to understand that when it comes to Bharatanatyam, the classical dance of Tamil Nadu, people often want to pursue it but do not have much idea about it. So having good knowledge about everything on Bharatanatyam is essential because, as a dancer, you need to be well versed in the roots. So if you are someone who is interested and wants to know everything about Bharatanatyam, then this is the right place.

History Of Bharatanatyam As A Dance Form

It would not be wrong to say that Bharatanatyam as a form of Indian classical dance is probably one of the most ancient dance forms, and it has been in vogue for the past 2000 years. It is believed that initially, Bharatanatyam started in the Tanjore district of Tamil Nadu, which falls in the extreme southern part of India. Since its origination, it has been accepted widely by people who make sure that day accepts the dance form with love and divinity. So why do we say it is divine?

To understand why Bharatanatyam is a divine form of dance, we must go back to the bare roots of Bharatanatyam. Bharatanatyam as a dance form has been mentioned in the Natya Shastra, which is one of the oldest dance treatises to ever exist in India.

It is believed that this particular history was documented by a mythic priest named Bharata, who spoke highly about Bharatanatyam as a dance form. It has also been seen that Bharatanatyam was first practised as an offering to the deities in the temples of South India, and hence that adds to the pious bit of the dance form. Even if you understand the choreographies, most of them are centred around Shiva.

Costumes For Bharatanatyam

Anyone who has ever seen a performance of Bharatanatyam would agree with us when we say that Bharatanatyam dancers have the most vibrant and bright sets of costumes. You will mostly see that these dancers tend to pick up colours like orange, blue or even red and then the costumes are lined up with golden zari. Although Bharatanatyam dancers wear a saree, it is not traditional, and there seems to be a fan like "kuchi" or "pleat", which opens up beautifully every time there is a foot-based movement.

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The discussion on the costumes for Bharatanatyam seems incomplete if you do not talk about the ornaments and the accessories the dancers often adorn. Bharatanatyam dancers are usually seen decking up with intricate temple jewellery which looks equally extravagant and pleasing to the eyes.

They tend to go excellent with the costume as well. The ghungroo is probably the essential part of the costume to add to the costume. Lastly, it has to be mentioned that for most dancers, you will see a fresh round of flowers in the hair and a beautiful bindi to enhance the look.

Bharatanatyam Style

It is essential to mention that the Bharatanatyam originated as a dance form in the southern part of India; with time, it started to spread in other places as well, and there were different renditions of the same dance form. Some of the most popular sects of Bharatanatyam as a dance form are:

  • Vazhuvoor Dance Form
    Vazhuvoor Dance Form is one of the most original forms of Bharatanatyam, and here the prominent characteristic feature is facial expressions. Not only that, but a significant emphasis is also played on the sitting postures, and the catch is that the dancers have to perform it effortlessly, which comes only with practice.
  • Melattur Dance Style
    The following style that we will talk about is the Melattur Dance Style of Bharatanatyam. It has been adapted from the devadasi style of Bharatanatyam and is very pious. Here the prominent characteristic feature is that the dance choreographies are directed as an offering to the deities.
  • Pandanallur Dance Style
    Lastly, when we are talking about the different styles of Bharatanatyam, we must mention the Pandanallur form of Bharatanatyam as well. Here the linear body posture of the adavas is given utmost importance.


If you want to learn the best of Bharatanatyam as a dance form, then you must learn it from a professional instructor from a professional dance academy. You need the right guidance where your instructor will teach you and give you feedback on improving your posture and form.

And the best in the industry for offering personalised online dance lessons is KAFQA Academy. Batches start for children above the age of 6. The fantastic Bharatanatyam teachers at KAFQA Academy will let your child learn this beautiful classical dance of Tamil Nadu with proficiency and advance their career in the field.

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