The history of Indian classical dance affirms that Bharatanatyam is one of the oldest classical dance forms in India. It originated in Tamil Nadu in South India and was initially performed by the temple dancers known as Devadasis. They showcased their dances during festivals, important events, ceremonies and at times of worship in the temples.

The word ‘bharatanatyam’ is an amalgamation of relevant symbiotic Tamil words – ‘Bha’ from the word ‘Bhavam’ which means expression; ‘Ra’ from ‘Ragam’ means music; ‘Ta’ from ‘Talam’ implies rhythm and ‘Natyam’ refers to dance. As the explanation of the word indicates, Bharatanatyam involves complex and graceful hand gestures and footwork accompanied by striking facial expressions and fluid movements. It is an energetic dance which stresses on postures and balanced positions. Emphasis is also placed on striking the floor with the feet and movements where the knees make contact with the ground. The characteristic features of bharatanatyam involve movements that are either formed in straight lines or in triangles. The dancer appears to weave a series of triangles apart from creating other geometric patterns.

Indian history has captured the essence of this significant dance form through various media – be it paintings, sculpture, literature or poetry. Since its inception, this art form was passed down from one generation to another and today has become one of the most popular Indian classical dance forms in India, practiced by both, men and women. Today the demand for learning it has surpassed the growth in its audience or sponsorship. However there is wide variation in the quality of the dance itself; from the scarcely exquisite to the absurd commercialization of the art. There is no doubt therefore that the pure form of the dance needs to be fostered.

Learning this intricate and untainted dance form takes years to master and interested individuals can pursue undergraduate and post graduate courses in the theory and practice of this dance.


kRtyaVed offers a six year diploma course in the Tanjavur style of Bharatanatyam. All students are taught adavus (basic steps) and theory according to the school of Shree Tanjavur Nrityashala. The minimum age requirement to enroll for this course is 8 years.

The academy follows the Indian academic calendar and hence courses commence in the month of June and culminate in April with the administration of the relevant exams. On the successful completion of the six year course, students are awarded a Diploma certificate.