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Tamil Nadu Folk Dances-Famous Bharatanatyam Classical Dance

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About Tamil Nadu Dance

Dance in South-India, is anchored to age-old tradition. This vast sub-continent has perpetuated to varied forms of dancing, each shaped by the influences of a particular period and environment. These pristine forms have been preserved through the centuries, to become a part of our present culture, a living heritage which is both our pride and delight.

Nurtured in temples, princely courts or villages, dance has moved into the auditorium of today, bringing pleasure to many more people, in far-flung regions

Utraced footprints of southern passion!

It is difficult to determine the age of Bharat Natyam; this is due to the evolving nature of Indian dance. Although Bharat Natyam is a developed form of Sadr and Dassi Attam, there are variations. If one feels that Bharat Natyam is different enough to be considered a distinct genre, then we may conspicuously say that it is only about 70 years old. On the contrary, if we consider the differences to be insignificant, then we may push the age back several centuries. However, in a general manner in which most artists date Bharat Natyam back to the Natya Shastra is absolutely preposterous. The cumulative changes that have occurred over the last 2000 years make such statements totally baseless.

» In its popular connotation, the name Bharat Natyam is understood in two ways:
It is the dance (natyam), that beautifully blends the three elements - 'Bha'-Bhava (from expressions), 'Ra'-Raga (from musical melody) and 'Ta'-Tala (from rythm).

The name 'Bharata' is after the great author of the treaties, "NATYA SHASTRA"(an encyclopedia on Dance, Drama and Music).

» The musical instruments used to accompany Bharat Natyam
  • Mridangam
  • Manjira (Thalam)
  • Vina
  • Violin
  • Kanjira
  • Surpeti
  • Venu
  • Tanpura

Music & Soul concourse !

Bharatanatyam is an Indian classical dance form from the state of Tamil Nadu, which represents the language of rhythm and melody in different patterns of curves, angles and lateral movements. The basis of the dance is the synchronization of rhythmic movements of the hands, symmetry of movement in footwork, poetic gestures and facial expressions. Bharatanatyam has a devotional basis and owes its origins to Devadasis (temple dancers).

Karagam is a folk dance with musical accompaniment, performed balancing a pot on the head. Traditionally, this dance was performed by the villagers in praise of the rain goddess Mari Amman and river goddess, Gangai Amman, performed with literature with water pots balanced on their heads.

Kummi is one of the most important and ancient forms of village dances of Tamilnadu. It originated when there were no musical instruments, with the participants clapping their hands to keep time. This is performed by women.

Mayil Attam
This is done by girls dressed as peacocks, resplendent with peacock feathers and a glittering headdress complete with a beak. This beak can be opened and closed with the help of a thread tied to it, and manipulated from within dress.

Kolaattam is an ancient village art. This is mentioned in Kanchipuram as 'Cheivaikiyar Kolaattam', which proves its antiquity. This is performed by women only, with two sticks held in each hand, beaten to make a rhythmic noise.

Oyil Kummi
This is an ancient folk dance form popular in Trichy, Salem, Dharmapuri, Coimbatore and Erode. No other musical instruments are used in this dance except the ankle-bells. This dance is performed by men only, during temple festivals. Stories and episodes centering around Murugan and Valli are depicted in the songs. As one of the rare folk art forms of ancient Tamil Nadu, this is being practiced now by the Telugu speaking people of the northern districts.

Kavadi Aattam
The ancient Tamils when they went on pilgrimage, carried the offerings to the gods tied on the either end of the long stick, which was balanced on the shoulders. In order to lessen the boredom of the long travel they used to sing and dance about the gods. Kavadi Aattam has its origin in this practice. Special songs were created to be sung while carrying the Kavadi Sindhu. This dance is performed only by men. It is done by balancing a pole with pots fixed on either end, filled with milk or cocunut water.

Poikkal Kudirai Aattam
This is the Dummy Horse Dance where the dancer bears the dummy figure of a horse's body on his/her hips. This is made of light-weighted materials and the cloth at the sides swings to and fro covering the legs of the dancer. The dancer dons wooden legs, which sound like the hooves of the horse. The dancer brandishes either a sword or a whip. This folk dance needs much training and skill. This dance is accompanied by Naiyandi melam or Band music. This is connected to the worship of Iyyanar, prevails manily around Thanjavur.