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Lakshmi Gopalaswami

BHARATANATYAM - LAKSHMI GOPALASWAMI

 

LAKSHMI GOPALASWAMY WAS BORN ON 7TH JANUARY IN BANGALORE, KARNATAKA,INDIA. SHE IS AN EXCELLENT BHARATHANATYAM DANCER AND STARTED PERFORMING AT THE AGE OF 12. AT A YOUNG AGE SHE WON A RENOWNED MADRAS MUSIC ACADEMY’S MGR AWARD. SHE WAS THE FIRST PERSON FROM KARNATAKA TO RECEIVE THAT AWARD. DR. UMA GOPALASWAMY IS HER MOTHER WHO HAS PHD IN CARNATIC MUSIC. LAKSHMI HOLDS MASTER’S DEGREE IN WOMEN’S STUDIES.

 

LAKSHMI GOPALASWAMY IS THE ACTRESS WHO WON THE KERALA STATE FILM AWARD AS A BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS FOR HER PERFORMANCE IN THE MALAYALAM FILM ARAYANNANGALUDE VEEDU OPPOSITE ACTOR MAMMOOTTY.

 

BHARATANATYAM IS ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR INDIAN DANCES AND BELONGS TO THE SOUTH INDIAN STATE OF TAMIL NADU. THE NAME IS DERIVED FROM THE WORD "BHARATHA", AND IS ASSOCIATED WITH THE NATYASHASTRA. IT IS BELIEVED THAT BRAHMA, THE FIRST GREAT TRINITY OF HINDU PANTHEON IS THE NATYA SHASTRA OR THE SCIENCE OF DANCING. BRAHMA WAS SO MOVED BY THE ENTREATIES OF INDRA AND OTHER DEVAS OF HEAVEN THAT HE USED THE FOUR VEDAS TO CREATE NATYA VEDA. THE NATYA VEDA OR THE FIFTH VEDA WAS BESTOWED ON BHARATA AND HIS DISCIPLES WHO INTRODUCED THE ART TO THE MORTALS ON EARTH. HENCE THE NAME BHARATNATYAM.

BHARATA NATYAM SKILLFULLY EMBODIES THE THREE PRIMARY INGREDIENTS OF DANCING. THEY ARE BHAVA OR MOOD, RAGA OR MUSIC AND MELODY AND TALA OR TIMING. THE TECHNIQUE OF BHARATA NATYAM CONSISTS OF 64 PRINCIPLES OF COORDINATED HAND, FOOT, FACE AND BODY MOVEMENTS, WHICH ARE PERFORMED TO THE ACCOMPANIMENT OF DANCE SYLLABLES.

BHARATNATYAM COMPRISES THREE ELEMENTS OF LIFE- PHILOSOPHY, RELIGION AND SCIENCE. IT IS A DYNAMIC AND EARTHY DANCE STYLE AND ITS ANTIQUITY IS WELL ESTABLISHED. IT HAS BEEN APTLY CALLED A SYMBOL OF BEAUTY AND AESTHETIC PERFECTION. IT IS, IN EFFECT, A TRADITION THAT DEMANDS TOTAL DEDICATION, DETACHMENT FROM WORLDLY TIES AND A SUBLIMATION OF SELF TO THE ART FROM THE PERFORMER. BHARATANATYAM IS A RELATIVELY NEW NAME. IT WAS EARLIER KNOWN AS SADIR, DASI ATTAM, AND THANJAVUR NATYAM.

IN THE PAST, IT WAS PRACTISED AND PERFORMED IN THE TEMPLES BY A CLASS OF DANCERS KNOWN AS THE 'DEVADASIS'. BHARATANATYAM DANCERS ARE USUALLY WOMEN AND, LIKE THE SCULPTURES THEY TAKE THEIR POSITIONS FROM, ALWAYS DANCE BENT-KNEED. IT IS AN EXTREMELY PRECISE DANCE STYLE WHERE A HUGE REPERTOIRE OF HAND MOVEMENTS IS USED TO CONVEY MOODS AND EXPRESSIONS. BHARATANATYAM IS VIBRANT AND VERY DEMANDING OF THE DANCER. THE BODY IS VISUALIZED AS MADE OF TRIANGLES, ONE ABOVE AND ONE BELOW THE TORSO. IT IS BASED UPON A BALANCED DISTRIBUTION OF BODY WEIGHT AND FIRM POSITIONS OF THE LOWER LIMBS, ALLOWING THE HANDS TO CUT INTO A LINE, TO FLOW AROUND THE BODY, OR TO TAKE POSITIONS THAT ENHANCE THE BASIC FORM.

SPECIAL FEATURES OF THIS DANCE FORM ARE PADAMS OR POEMS ON THE HERO-HEROINE THEME. THE TEMPO OF THESE LOVE SONGS IS SLOW AND EACH PHASE OF THE PERFORMANCE IS CRYSTALLIZED INTO A SPECIFIC MOOD OF LOVE.

 

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Taken on October 6, 2010