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Bharatanatyam Varnams - The Complete Guide

27th Aug, 2022

Want to know more about Bharatanatyam Varnams but do not have a clear idea about how you can start with the process or where you can get the information from? Well, you are at the right spot, and we will try to provide you with all the promising details. All of us know that no matter what domain you are pursuing, in the end, it is essential to make sure that you have enough resources for better acquisition.

Bharathanatyam Varnam- Hamsanadam

When we talk about the domain of Bharatanatyam Varnams, the most common thing that we think is that it is challenging. Hence, it will be a massive process to remember; consequently, we tend to attribute it as complex. However, in reality, that is not the case, and you can easily choose to provide more time in the segment and take up information that is very important if you want to be a dancer or are interested in the field.

Finally, we have to say that when it comes to the domain of Varnams used in Bharatanatyam, it is indeed very elaborate. However, it is certainly not very difficult to understand or retain, and that is what we will help you with today.

What Does One Mean By Varnaam in Bharatanatyam?

Now we directly come to the segment of what one means by Varnaam and the significance of the same when it comes to a segment like Bharatnatyam. The term Varnaam as you would know, is also a perfect Sanskrit term, and it has been often referred to as one of the most challenging segments in Bharatanatyam to excel in. The most important thing that one has to remember in this respect is that the concept of Varnam in Bharatanatyam is very technical.

If you want to know the simple meaning of the same, it can be referred to as the measure with the help of which the dancer's expertise can be understood very well. It is believed that Varnam was introduced by none other than Melattur Veerabhadrayya. Since then, it has become one of the most indispensable parts of the composition whenever there is any discussion related to Bharatanatyam's domain.

These are usually small pieces of a musical composition that are incredibly harmonious and, at the same time, can easily be referred to as the central part of any raga. It is believed that it is due to Varnam that the bhava in raga can be held in one place and is a very crucial aspect of the domain of Carnatic music. Usually, you will notice that Varnam's constituents are Pallavi, Anupallavi, Muktaayi, Swaras, Charanam, and Chittaswaras.

What Are The Different Types of Varnams?

Now that we know what one means by the term Varnaam, we must talk a bit about the different types of Varnams, which are equally important. In this respect, the two most important types of Varnams are the Tanavarnam and Padavarnam.  Now you might be wondering what the ultimate difference between the two is and why there is often much more significance in the domain of Padavarnam when it comes to Indian Bharatanatyam dance.

The most important and striking difference between the two concepts is that while the usage of Tanavarnam is seen mainly in the domain of Carnatic music, for the part of Padavarnam, the use is seen only in the pursuit of Bharatanatyam dance form. At the same time, it is also essential to mention that both the types of Varnams are imperative and used manifold among the masses.

Bharatanatyam Varnams

The segment of Varnams that are used for Bharatanatyam only is a bit segregated; hence, we must shed some light on that segment as well. One of the most important things we have to talk about in this domain is that without experts at answering, we will never be able to perform this in front of an audience because it requires a lot of skills and practice. Usually, the performance of the Varnam is seen to be completed in 45 minutes or even one hour in some cases.

For the domain of the Pada Varnam, you will see that usually, it is very slow speed, and it allows the dancer to bring forth myriad facial expressions and even shift from one to the other. Although it is slow, the elegance of this particular section is worthy of appreciation.

When we talk about Tana Varnam, it is opposite to the other one, and here the dancer must perform in a medium or even fast tempo in most cases.


Finally, we can say that when it comes to Varnams in Bharatanatyam, the importance of the same is quite manifold, and you have to learn it if you want to excel as a dancer and be different from the others. The genre of Bharatanatyam dance is indeed very promising, and the more time you devote to the same automatically, it will be much easier for you.

You can easily choose to learn Bharatanatyam from professional dance teachers at Kafqa Academy, who can give you a better experience in the field and help you acquire the skills.

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