Contents: Preface/R. Venkataraman. I. Dance in India: 1. The foundations of Indian dance. 2. Historic origin of Indian dance. 3. The beginning of contemporary dance styles. II. Nataraja and the dance of the Gods: 1. Mythological origins of Indian dance. 2. The Nataraja figurine and its symbolism. 3. The dancing Siva in his different forms. III. Training in Bharatanatyam: 1. The Guru-Sisya or teacher-disciple tradition of learning. 2. The training period from the Adavu to the Arangetram. IV. Music in Bharatanatyam: 1. The musical heritage of South India. 2. Carnatic dance music. 3. Musical instruments for Bharatanatyam. V. Nrtta and Nrtya, the dance techniques: 1. Pure dance movements or Nrtta. 2. Adavu, or the basic dance steps. 3. Hand gestures in Bharatanatyam. 4. Expression in dance or Nrtya. 5. Rasa, or emotion. 6. Nayaka-Nayika, the roles portrayed by the dancer. VI. Bharatanatyam today: 1. The evolution of Bharatanatyam in modern India. 2. The relevance of Bharatanatyam today/Sudharani Raghupathy. 3. The role of dance festivals in preserving Bharatanatyam/Chitra Visweswaran. 4. Motion, emotion, commotion: a note on contemporary choreography/Anita Ratnam. 5. An ancient heritage for tomorrow. Annexes. Bibliography. Glossary.
"Bharatanatyam is the soul of India. A sacred art that even three hundred years ago was as flourishing as it was three thousand years ago, had been left in ruins by the cultural patrons in India. Fortunately, there has been a revived interest in Bharatanatyam over the last fifty years that has taken both India and the West by storm. This revival and popularity springs from its eternal message that through dance each and every one of us can realise the divine spirit and true happiness within ourselves.
The goal of this book is to facilitate the comprehension of this ancient dance for the dance student and layman both in India and in the West. It studies not only the origins, but also includes translations of technical and literary texts, and articles written by some leading Chennai (formerly Madras) based dancers on their view concerning the place and relevance of Bharatanatyam today."