Bharatanatyam Group of Christchurch

Bharatanatyam is an ancient, classical dance form that originated in the state of Tamil Nadu in India and is recognized as the national dance of India. Over the last several decades, Bharatanatyam has spread to many countries and has become a truly multilingual art taught, practiced and appreciated by multiethnic societies.  The word ‘Bharata’ combines three Sanskrit words: ‘Bhavam’ (emotion), ‘Ragam’ (melodic mode of music) and ‘Thalam’ (rhythm). ‘Natyam’ means drama.  Bharatanatyam has been described as 'the embodiment of music in visual form'.  It is traditionally set to South Indian classical(or Carnatic) music.  Bharatanatyam makes use of dramatic facial expressions and movements of the body to narrate stories that are at once graceful, powerful and compelling.  The stories enacted through this dance form come from Hindu mythology, which is polytheistic (many Gods represent different virtues and values).   Modern interpretations of Bharatanatyam, set to more contemporary themes, are a recent trend.

The Bharatanatyam Group of Christchurch is led by Anuradha Ambalavanar who teaches this traditional dance form in Christchurch, her students who range from primary school aged children to adults, supporters and well wishers.  In addition to year round classes, the troupe performs regularly at various Christchurch events. Main performances of the group are its annual events titled Natyam.