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In the 20th chapter of the Natyasastra, Bharata describes the 10 types of plays under the heading ‘Dasharupavikalpan’. Here, the term ‘Rupaka’ is used in the context of visual representation. Hence, in Bharatha’s theory, the term Rupaka is equivalent to drama and not to the current popular term ‘naatak’ which according to him is one […]

Atodhyas – Musical Instruments

“Atodhya Vadya,” as mentioned by Bharata in Chapter 28 of the Natya Shastra, categorizes musical instruments into four types: Tata (stringed), Avanaddha (percussion), Sushira (wind), and Ghana (solid resonators). This classification, based on acoustic principles, highlights the diverse and intricate nature of ancient Indian musical traditions. Tata– Included all stringed instruments, mentioned in Chapter 29 […]

Rasa, Bhava, Vibhava, Anubhav, Sanchari And Sthayi Bhava

ABHINAYA TECHNIQUES IN BHARATA’S NATYASHASTRA The Natyashastra of Bharata consists of thirty – six chapters, out of which chapters 6 and 7 relate to “rasas” (sentiments) and “bhavas” (emotions), 8 to 14 discuss Angigaabhinaya, 15 to 22 deal with Vachikaabhinaya and chapter 23 talks of Ahaaryaabhinaya. The Sanskrit word “rasa” fundamentally means ‘taste’ or ‘flavour’ […]

The Natyasastra

The art of Music and Dance, which was well developed during Vedic age itself, has been systematized by Bharata in his Natyashastra. He condensed and codified the necessary laws which govern music, dance and drama. Not only these three but all that are essential to the authors and actors like the knowledge of grammar, prosody, […]

Banis or Styles in Bharatnatyam

All the different styles of Bharatnatyam stem from the Natya Sastra and follow the prescribed pattern of the Sadir Katcheri evolved in the 18th century starting with the Alaripu and concluding with the Tillana. The differences, if any, are very slight and purely regional in flavour depend upon the environmental conditioning of that particular area […]

Abhinaya Darpanam

“Abhinaya Darpanam” is a Sanskrit treatise dedicated to Indian classical dances, offering a comprehensive exploration of dance movements and expressions. The entire text is composed in a poetic form known as ‘padya,’ primarily employing meters such as ‘Anushtupa chhand,’ ‘Sragdhara,’ and ‘Shardulvikridit.’ This format facilitates the method of ‘memorizing and recitation’ for knowledge acquisition, aligning […]

The Importance of Dance in Kalidasa’s Works

Kalidasa, the renowned poet-dramatist of ancient India, left a lasting mark on the association between literature and dance. His many works offer exquisite insights into the art of dance, aligning perfectly with the principles of the Natyashastra. This introduction unveils Kalidasa’s deep understanding of dance, weaving together the elaborate relationship between his literary brilliance and […]

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 […]