Bharatanatyam, the classical dance of Tamil Nadu in South India is one of the most ancient and highly developed forms of stylized dance. Surviving over a period of about two thousand years, the original style underwent numerous changes and acquired a variety of connotations: aesthetic, religious, occult with differences in emphasis upon one or the other during different periods of its long history. Today this dance style is no longer confined to the region of its origin but is practiced and performed by dancers of most other parts of the country. However, the essentially regional flavor is still retained in its association with the distinctive music, language, poetry and local cultural overtones of South India.
The learning path of the student is designed to include several elements that go into the making of a professional classical dancer. These are: body conditioning exercises, physical technique of dance steps and movements, narrative technique of mime to tell a story, interpret poetry, portray dramatic roles and characters through the language of dance; teaching of dance repertoire—traditional and contemporary; music of dance including singing, complex rhythms and oral recitation of drum mnemonics.
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