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Opposition & Ban During Colonial Rule The 18th century saw emergence of rule of the East India Company followed by setting up of British colonial rule in the 19th century.
Such developments saw decline of various classical dance forms which were subjected to contemptuous fun and discouragement including Bharatanatyam that through the 19th century remained exclusive to Hindu temples.
The Shiva temple of Kanchipuram that is decorated with carvings dating back to a period between 6th to 9th centuries CE manifests the development of this dance form by around the mid first millennium CE.
Many ancient Hindu temples are embellished with sculptures of Lord Shiva in Bharatanatyam dance poses.
Repertoire The repertoire of this performance art are categorized into three brackets namely ‘Nritta’, ‘Nritya’ and ‘Natya’ mentioned in ‘Natya Shastra’ and followed by all major Indian classical dance forms.
‘Nritta’ is a technical performance where the dancer presents pure Bharata Natyam movements emphasising on speed, form, pattern, range and rhythmic aspects without any form of enactment or interpretive aspect.
During his prison term he convinced the political prisoners to advocate for this age-old classical dance form.
Eminent Bharatanatyam dancers like Arundale and Balasaraswati expanded the dance form out of Hindu temples and established it as a mainstream dance form.
Despite the fact that Hindu temple dances were being suppressed due to laws enforced by the colonial British government, many artists like American dancer Esther Sherman came from the West to learn Indian classical dance forms.
She came to India in 1930 and not only learnt classical dances but also adopted the name Ragini Devi and became a part of the ancient dance arts revival movement.
Theoretical base of this form traces back to ‘Natya Shastra’, the ancient Sanskrit Hindu text on the performing arts.
A form of illustrative anecdote of Hindu religious themes and spiritual ideas emoted by dancer with excellent footwork and impressive gestures its performance repertoire includes nrita, nritya and natya.
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Accompanists include a singer, music and particularly the guru who directs and conducts the performance.