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Hasta Lakshana Deepika

Hasta Lakshana Deepika is a text exploring the hand gestures used in dancing. The words “Hasta Lakshana Deepika” mean ‘The Lamp which shows the purpose of Hand Gestures’. Koodiyaatam, Kathakali, Mohiniattam and Kerala Natanam follow this as the manual of gestures or ‘mudras’. The Kerala tradition’s hand gestures are recognized to be from the scripture […]

Dance Therapy

By Rashmi Khanna (Collaborative Practice- Dance Movement Therapy) Theoretical dance in education or TDIE is the art and science of teaching dance to students with innovative teaching methods. It helps create ‘Temenos’, a Greek word meaning ‘sacred space’ where anything can happen and children can learn, respond, create, perform and appreciate dance. TDIE understands the […]

Samanya Abhinaya And Chitrabhinaya

The term ‘Abhinaya’ is usually interpreted as ‘acting’. According to Bharata, in the Natyasastra, this is incorrect, for ‘Abhi’ means ‘towards’ and ‘ni’ means ‘to carry’. This denotes the meaning of the play or act which is carried towards the audience. Therefore, the words (vachika), with physical gestures (angika) to suit the emotion (sattva), along […]

Bhanudatta’s “Rasamanjari”- An exploration of the Nayikas and Nayakas

Bhanudatta is the most famous Sanskrit poet – certainly the most famous Sanskrit poet of early modern India. Bhanudatta was from Vidéha (today’s Northern Bihar), a member of the highly learned Máithili Brahmin community, and the son of a poet named Ganéshvara (or Ganapati). No other Sanskrit poet exercised anything remotely approaching Bhanudatta’s influence on […]

Cultural Significance of Indian Mythology in Dance

Indian culture is a tapestry woven with threads of ancient traditions, rich history, and vibrant mythology. Among the many art forms that celebrate this cultural heritage, dance stands out as a captivating medium. Indian mythology, a treasure trove of stories, gods, and goddesses, plays a pivotal role in shaping the narrative of traditional Indian dance […]


Vrittis mean to ‘behave’ or the ‘wielding’ of various emotions and sentiments, as discussed in chapter twenty two of the classical text “Natya Shastra”. Hence, essentially Vrittis are modes of expression. In the context of drama, the use of a specific type of vritti includes different styles of theatrical presentation, the perfect execution of actions, […]

Nritta, Nritya and Natya

Based on the mode of performance and usage, dance can be broadly classified under three main heads such as Nritta, Nritya and Natya. Nritta: Nritta means pure dance, a presentation of rhythm through graceful movement of the body. It always reflects the mood, Bhava and Rasa underlying the compositions sung for dance. It is important […]

Dasha Tala Pranas

Introduction “hastadvayasya sanyoge viyogecaapi vartate vyaaptimaan yo dashapraanaihi sa kaalastaalasajnakaha” Process of union and separation of the two hands in accordance with the 10 elements of musical time is called taala. Taala is any rhythmic beat or strike that measures musical time. This rhythmic beat is not arbitrary but in fact it is governed by […]

Importance of Iconography and Mythology For Dancers

Icons are objects through which worship is offered to God. Hence, Iconography means a detailed description of Icons. It is the classification or identification of an image according to what is seen and understood from the outwardly appearance. Iconology, on the other hand, literally means “the science of icons”. It also identifies and studies the […]