Bharatanatyam is one of the oldest classical dance form originated in Thanjavoor of Tamilnadu, South India. The dance was originally performed by Devadasis in temples who were dedicated to temples to serve the deities with dance and music. Slowly by 19th century the dance was codified and has been developed and educated people started showing interest in the dance. Today the glory of the dance has spread all over the world. Bharatanatyam derived its name from the basic concepts Bhava (Expression) Raga (Music) Tala (Rhythym) and Natya. The famous brothers of Thanjavoor Ponnayya, Chinnayya, Sinandam and Vativelu have modified the dance and regularized to the present stage. Eminent performers like Rukmini Devi and E.Krishna Iyer revived and created awareness of the magnificence of the dance form. The other greatest performer of the dance Bala Sarawathi also is responsible for popularizing Bharatanatyam.
Performance of the dance: The dance is performed on the stage as ‘Nritham’, ‘Nrityam’ and ‘Natyam’. The dance is based on the steps (Adavu), hand gestures (Hastamudras). The dance starts with offering of prayers to Lord Ganesha and Lord Nataraja. The dance begins with Alaripu, Jatiswaram, Sabdam, Varnam, Padam and Thillana followed by Mangalaslokam. The dancers wear costumes made with Silk of Kachepuram and Banaras and wear ornaments on head neck ears and hands with a garland with foot trinkets having small bells. The dance is supported by music and vocal songs. The common instruments used in the dance performance are Veena, Flute, Mridangam and Violin. In the dance the dancers use eye and hand movements to express the message and music in a visual form to unite the human soul with the Supreme Being.
Bala Saraswathi, Mrinalini Sarabhai, Rukmini Arundel, Kamala Lakshman, Padma Subramanyam and Chitra Visweswaran are some of the great performers of the dance. Ramayyan Pilla, Panthanaloor Meenakshi Sundaram Pilla and Adayar Laxman are some of the famous Nattuvar (Male Gurus).
Malavika Venkatasubbaiah from Edmonton, Canada
Malavika Venkatasubbaiah is a professional Bharatanatyam artist intensively trained under Lalitha Srinivasan at Nupura school of Bharatanatyam Bangalore. Her experience spans over two decades in course of which she has performed as a solo artist and also in collaborations with various groups. She has been an active performer for over 14 years and is the founder, artistic director of Natyam Dance Academy with the vision of making Indian classical dance more accessible to main stream audience’s world wide.
Malavika dance is noted for its grace which she credits to her Guru Lalitha Srinivasan’s tutelage with whom she trained since 1990 in the Mysore Baani. She studied Indian folk dances as a part of NADAM ensemble under the guidance of Sri. Murali Mohan and
Nandini Mehta, Bangalore. She also had training in Kuchipudi and performed with Gurus Sri. Pasumarthy Venkateswara Sarma, Hyderabad and Smt. Vyjayanthi Kasi, Bangalore. Malavika has further enriched her knowledge through workshops with Gurus Sri Radhakrishna, Smt. Meenakshi Radhakrishna, Sri Kiran Subramanyam, Smt. Sandhya Kiran and Smt. Usha Priyadarshini.
She is a company member of Manohar Performing Arts of Canada, Winnipeg since 2007 in the capacity of a dancer and choreographer. She is also a company member of Nupura School of Bharathanatyam and served as a faculty from 1998 to 2002 and was awarded the best dancer award by Nupura in 2002.