Dances of Tamil Nadu - Unbridled Expressions
Tamil Nadu has an invaluable heritage and cultural richness that makes every Tamilian proud of their nationality. Tamil Nadu boasts about its scores of folk and classical dances, each dance a pure ecstasy in itself. Be it a dance, which enacts a story, or a dance performed as a worship to Gods, they have this exceptional aura and presence that enchant and motivate each and every spectator to their deepest. These flawless dances that have been preserved through centuries are now an integral part of our present culture and have become a mirror of Indian cultural richness to the outside world. It has gained such an importance in tourism that many tourist like you visit this land of Tamil Nadu just to watch and experience this flowing poetry right in front of their eyes. When in Tamil Nadu, witness any form of dance and rest assured, you will not leave the theater premises without the tickets for next show.
This is the most famous and practiced dance form in the the state of Tamil Nadu that has fascinated one and all. This is one of the oldest forms of performing arts not only in south India but in the entire country. You will find to your amazement that Bharatanatyam is not just a simple dance that is performed just for the sake of entertainment but it is an amalgamation of many different essences. Few of them are Bhava(expression), Tala (rhythm), and Natyam (dance). Take a close look at the flow of the body and discover new definitions for expressions and rhythm. Though the exact time of origin of Bharatanatyam is not known, but reference even in the Natya Shastra written by the great sage Bharata, confirms it as one of the oldest forms of dance. Along the path of its development it has gone through quite a few changes. Earlier, Bharatanatyam was considered the practice of only devdasis in the temples of south India and was not considered a reputed profession. But then it was taken up by Rukmini devi who learned Bharatanatyam from these devdasis, practiced it and perfected this art. She then started performing this divine art form in public and slowly and gradually, Bharatnatyam started gaining recognition and number of people who wished to get trained in this increased drastically. Bharatanatyam was no longer considered the profession of devdasis. It had now become one of the most sought after dance form in the world. Learn the art in one of the many institutes that specialize in the area of Performing arts like the Kalakshetra, which is the most famous of all institutes.
Bommalattam (Puppet Show)
Locally called Bommalattam, this is a dance form that most of you must have seen and enjoyed from your childhood days. Almost all villages have their own puppet show during fest and festivals but one thing is for sure that you would not have seen a puppet show this colorful and with such variation any where else in the world. You will find the most amazing puppets made up of cloth, wood, and leather that are used here. As is every where else, these puppets are controlled by threads from the backstage and all you see is puppets performing in the front. Stories from Indian mythology and epics are enacted in the shows which are full of ideals and morals that prove to be very useful for little kids and sometimes, probably more relevant for the grown ups. Don't miss the puppet show or Bommalattam as these shows are so marvelously performed that they will virtually leave you hypnotized.
Karangattam is a folk dance, which is accompanied by music. The dance is performed while balancing a pot of water on the head. It is said that the dance is performed as an offering to rain goddess Mari Amman and to river goddess, Gangai Amman as their praise. You will be amazed to see the huge amount of poise, balance and control that is required to execute the difficult steps of this dance, that too while balancing a pot of water on their head and for all the spectators, this turns out to be a breathtaking display of skills. The dancers exemplify the inherent resilience of our dance traditions to cope with new ideas and changing contexts. The dance is classic and contemporary at the same time. You can enjoy a performance of this dance at any theater that is staging a show.
This is a joyous form of dance as a symbol of prosperity during the harvest festival 'Pongal', which is performed by girls only. In this dance the performers are dressed like a Peacock from head to toe complete with a beak. When in Tamil Nadu, do try to catch a performance of this wonderfully enchanting dance form. Check out the timings for the show from a local tourist center.
More than performing art, this is a religious dance done in devotion to Lord Subramanya. The origin of this dance form is said to have been by devotees on pilgrimage. To remove the boredom during the long journey, pilgrims started to sing and dance and this dance form came to be known as Kavadi Attam. This dance is done by carrying a long stick on which pots filled milk or coconut water is balance d on both the sides of the stick and this stick is carried by men on their shoulders. This dance is only performed by men. You are not likely to witness this dance in any theaters but if you are touring Tamil Nadu during, you might just spot a group of pilgrim moving towards Palani hills, absolutely immersed in their devotion to the Lord Subramanya and performing this traditional dance in complete merriment.