“Pumnrityam tandavam, prahu: stree nrityam lasyamuchyate”
Dance, as per the classical texts is classified into Tandava and Lasya like the Marga and Desi classification in music. According to Bharatha, the masculine form of dance Tandava, performed by Lord Shiva, is a combination of difficult poses and Angaharas, while Lasya anga is the feminine form. Performed by Goddess Parvati, Lasya is the dance that denotes happiness, grace and beauty. Lasya is said to be the response to the male energy of the cosmic dance of Tandava. Lasya literally translates to beauty, grace and happiness.
The feminine form of dance, Lasya, is believed to have been introduced by Goddess Parvati. Lasya aspect of dance strengthened the spiritual fervour of Shiva’s Tandava. It comprises of delicate karanas, poses and body movements. Lasya is the dance form said to be performed by Apsaras, the celestial nymphs in the Hindu mythology.
Sangeet Ratnaakar defines Lasya as a dance form consisting of delicate movements that awaken erotic sentiments. It gives description of 10 lasyanga which belong to the desi category.
- Chaali: The simultaneous movement of feet, hip, thighs and arms. It should be evenly rhythmic, adhering to tala, soft, graceful and beautiful to be performed in various degrees of speed.
- Chaalibada: Chaali performed with quick, straight body movements.
- Urongana: Oblique, graceful movements of the shoulders and the neck.
- Ladhi: soft, graceful simultaneous oblique movements of the hips and the arms.
- Suka: A rhythmic movement to be performed slowly or fast.
- Dhasaka: Lower the breasts gracefully and slowly adhering to rhythm.
- Angahara: Graceful bending of the body like a bow.
- Oyaraka: Slightly oblique and downward movement of the head.
- Vihasa: Sringara smile to be performed in sthaya tala.
- Mana: To be performed in sthaya laya.
Lasya is known to be mainly of four types:
- Srinkhala: The term means chain and this admits of tenanga such as Geyapada, Sthitapatya, Asina, Pushpagandika, Pracchedaka, Trigudhaka, Saindhavaka, Dwimudhaka, Uttamottaka and Uktapratyukta. This form is danced in a chain form in drutakala.
- Lata: It consists of Rasakas. It consists of three types such as Danda, Mandala and Natyarasaka. Also known as latabandha. The partners holding together dance in a medium tempo.
- Pindi: This is a kind of Lasya having many sub divisions. Some texts also term it as Gulma. A group of dancers, mostly four, together in a vilambita laya.
- Bhedyaka: In this, dancers form a group, each dancing on her own role in drutakala. Like Srinkhalika, Bhedyaka has also got ten lasyangas.
There also exists desi lasyanga with two more sub divisions. This is also performed by women. The two sub- divisions of the desi lasya are Churita and Yauvata. In Churita, both hero and heroine perform an episode of dramatic acting in the middle of an act in an erotic way whereas in Yauvata, the dancers dance very delicately with fascinating and charming movements. The prominent desi lasyangas are Chali, Calibheda, Urongana, Dhasaka, Nati, Tukam, Rekha and dyotita.
Tandava and Lasya aspect of natya depicts the personification of the feminine and masculine form of dance. Lasyangas were employed mainly for depicting the soft and gentle expressions and is meant to be danced by females.