Bharathanatyam is one of the premier classical dance forms of India. Its legendary founder, Sage Bharatha, lived several centuries ago. The word natya means dance, and so Bharathanatyam literally means the dance according to the rules set by Bharatha.
There are three aspects of Bharathanatyam: Nritta, Nritya, and Naatya. Nritta, means pure and simple dance which does not convey any meaning. On the other hand, Nritya is dance that conveys meaning through facial expressions and hand gestures. Naatya is dance that has an element of drama through the use of spoken words. Typically, the music for Bharathanatyam is Carnatic Music, the classical music of South India.
Although Bharathanatyam follows a standard set of rules, great Natya Acharyas (dance teachers) and practitioners over the years have established their own unique approach to this art form. One of greatest Natya Acharyas was Vazhuvoor Ramiah Pillai, who passed away in 1991. His school is known for the artistic recitation of jathis (beats) and resonating cymbals. Among his famous students are Kamala, Padma Subramaniam, and Chitra Visveswaran. He has also trained many dance teachers, one of whom is Srimathi Kausalya, Mathura’s guru.
Below is a list of photo galleries showcasing various performances by students of Jathiswara at various events and the evolution of guru, Mathura Alladi, through her dance career.