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Learn Hand Gestures Used In Bharatanatyam: Their Meaning And Significance through online classes

4th Apr, 2022

For those who do not know but are interested in the genre of Bharatanatyam, this form of dance is one of the most ancient forms of Indian classical dance. It is reportedly said that Bharatanatyam originated in the temples of Tanjore, and since then, there have been numerous adaptations to reach the current stage where it is today.

When you join any form of online Bharatanatyam classes or even the offline options, the first thing that will be taught to you are the hand gestures, often referred to as the mudras. For most forms of Indian classical dance, this constitutes the base centering in which various forms of choreographies are developed. Bharatanatyam is one of the most well-coordinated forms of dance, and here the focus on hand and feet movement is similar.

Common Hand Gestures and Mudras that you Learn in Online Bharatanatyam Classes Online

As a dance form, Bharatanatyam applies most of the hand gestures or mudras. Hence, once you start pursuing Bharatanatyam classes, it will possibly be the first lesson you need to master. Usage of hand gestures or mudras is seen in other forms like Kathak, Odissi, and Kuchipudi or Manipuri. However, in the case of Bharatanatyam, it is a bit unique. Some of the most common hand gestures or mudras are:

  • Pataka - The literal meaning of this word is a flag, and the symbol is also similar to that of the original meaning. Here you need to hold all your fingers straight as if you are asking someone to stop. To add to the mudra, you need to push the fingers a bit back so that it exhibits a tight posture. Finally, the thumb should be bent in half, and it looks exactly like a pataka or a flag.
  • Tripitaka - The term tripataka refers to a tricolour flag, and the depiction of the same with the help of mudras is also quite common and easy. The pataka hand mudra is first exhibited with finally the ring finger bending halfway along with the thumb bending the same way. It generally refers to the trees, arrows and crowns, and thunder
  • Ardhapataka - The ardhapataka mudra is also a play on the former pataka itself. The term ardha refers to half, which translates to a half pataka or flag. So here, along with your thumb, you bend the ring finger and the little finder to depict the half flag.
  • Kartari Mukha - The literal translation of the term Kartari Mukha refers to a pair of scissors. The mudra is one of the easiest to resemble, and here you need to bend your little and the ring finger with the thumb and keep them inward. Although it looks like a pair of scissors, this mudra is usually used to portray impressions like separation or even anger in certain cases.
  • Artha Chandra - We have already discussed what the term artha means, and loosely translating, the phrase Artha Chandra refers to half-moon. Here, the posture is the same as that of the Pataka mudra; however, in the former, the thumb is straight aligned with the hand.
  • Mayurakhyo - Mayurakhyo is a play on the word Mayur, which means peacock. Are you wondering how you can portray a peacock with just a few fingers? Here you initially hold up the hand in the pataka mudra and then join the ring finger with the thumb. The joint is quite tight, and the mudra is usually used to showcase birds or the feathers in Lord Krishna's crown.
  • Mushti - Most of you have heard of the term Mutthi, and it tends to signify a fist. The term Mushti is the exact word, and it is usually a clenched fist. However, the only thing to remember here is that the thumb is not placed inwards but above the other fingers. The mudra is used to portray a controlled environment generally.
  • Kataka Mukha - It would not be wrong to say that there are probably no Bharatanatyam choreographies in the world which does not compromise the Kataka Mukha mudra. There is usually a Kataka Mukha in every dance. The first one is done by getting the thumb, index, and middle finger together. The second is the needle mudra, where all your fingers are clenched and closed except the index and the thumb. The mudra is usually in a pointing or indicative sign. While the former mudra portrays the picking of flowers, the latter refers to the supreme energy or sometimes even the sun.
  • Shikara - Last but not the least, it would be an incomplete discussion if we did not talk about Shikara. The shikara is in the peak position, and it is yet another basic step when it comes to Bharatanatyam-based mudras. All the fingers are closed in a fist; however, the thumb is open and pointing upwards. 

Watch this video of Mudras in Bharatanatyam to get the better visualization of the mentioned hand gestures.

The Final Wrap

All these mudras are the basic aspects that you need to master before moving ahead and learning the more difficult poses of Bharatanatyam. So if you are looking for the perfect online Bharatanatyam classes in the most affordable price range, then the only trustworthy name is Kafqa Academy. Get in touch with us today to know more about the online classes and enrol yourself for the most professional dance classes.

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