There are many components to Bharatanatyam, including foot movements, hand gestures, facial expressions, and adavus. Dance forms benefit greatly from facial expressions, as they add elegance and beauty. This Classical dance form includes expressions called abhinaya. This dance form may be enhanced by learning expressions. We will learn about various types of Bharatanatyam facial expressions in this lesson.
The importance of facial expressions in Bharatanatyam
In this dance form, nine expressions are used to express various feelings, along with hand and leg movements. A dancer’s facial expression is very important. There are nine major facial expressions known as ‘navarasa’-abhinaya. Before we learn various Bharatanatyam facial expressions, we need to learn about Rasa and Bhava in Bharatanatyam.
How are rasa and bhava connected?
Every “bhava” in Bharatanatyam leads to a corresponding “rasa”. The bhava or expression is a means of expressing emotions such as happiness, sadness and so on in the dance form. The facial expression conveys a certain feeling, the rasa, which is communicated to the audience. Proper expression is a necessary condition to express both the bhava and the rasa.
- From the shringar rasa comes the bhava known as rati. This is an expression of extreme joy in bharatanatyam.
- Hasya means laughter or happiness in bharatanatyam. The bhava associated with this is Hasa.
- Karuna or sorrow is the expression of sadness in the Bharatanatyam dance form. This expression is contained in the bhava shoka.
- Raudra or the expression of anger is associated with the Bhava Krodh.
- Veera corresponds to the Bhava Utsaha and means heroism.
- The next rasa is called Bhayanaka, which means Bhaya in its Bhava form.
- Bibhatsa rasa corresponds to that of Jugupsa in Bhava.
- Rasa Adbhuta corresponds to that of Bhava Vismaya in Bhava.
- Shanta rasa means silence in bhava.
9 Types of Bharatanatyam Facial Expressions
This is one of the nine facial expressions used in the Bharatanatyam dance form. This facial expression is meant to express the various feelings of erotic, romantic love or attraction. Rasa, meaning taste, mainly shows the feelings of love that develop between a man and a woman. Shringar is one of the most important expressions used in various arts and classical dances of India. It is also often used to represent beauty in classical dances.
This expression is used in the Bharatanatyam dance form to convey laughter, happiness, or a sense of carefree cheerfulness. Hasya is also said to describe the mythological events of Lord Krishna’s naughtiness during his childhood. This term is used when describing any form of happiness.
People use this facial expression to express disgust. It was used to describe events that could sicken people. Bharatanatyam describes the sorrows of Siddhartha through this expression. In the end, this disgust he had felt led him to seek peace and tranquility, which transformed him into Gautama Buddha.
Through Bharatanatyam dance, anger can be expressed in all its forms. Among all the rasas, this is the most violent. Bharatanatyam’s Tandava form also emphasizes this rasa. Also used to express anger against injustices perpetrated by kings, disrespect that causes anger, etc. This expression is also used when the dancer wants to represent destruction in all forms, which includes natural disasters.
This is a sentiment used in this dance form to convey peace and tranquilly. An extremely important rasa. It is used to represent tranquilly in the classical dance form and adds elegance to the dance.
Used to describe heroism through facial expression. An individual’s courage and fearless attitude are symbolized by this. Also used to describe the heroic deeds of various kings during battles in history. It is also used to describe the heroism of the martyrs who sacrificed their lives in war. This rasa and bhava are used to represent the boldness of human character.
The Bhaya facial expression is used in Bharatanatyam dance to describe fear. This is used to express the terror instilled in people by autocratic and cruel rulers who tortured and practiced injustice. The term bhaya is also used to describe other emotions and expressions, such as shyness, timidity, cowardice, discomfort, etc. Powerless people who submit to society’s powerful feel fearful when they feel this way.
In other words, it is the feeling of kindness, compassion, sympathy, and a strong sense of empathy for the struggles of others. It also brings out the feeling of empathy for loving people and closed people. It describes how human life is full of sorrow, worry and suffering, as described by Lord Buddha, which compelled him to choose the path of salvation.
The term is used to describe people’s curiosity. When one describes the wonder of meeting the supreme, God, or describes something of great beauty and astonishment, it is performed.
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