Bharatanatyam is a combination of the words, Bharata and Natyam. Natyam is translated to dance and a popular interpretation of Bharata is: BHA – as bhava (emotions and feelings), ra is raga (musical notes), and ta is Talam (rhythm). There is an ancient text in Sanskrit on the performing arts.

This is called the Natya Shastra and is attributed to Bharata. Bharatas were believed to be experts of dramaturgy which included music, dance, and theatre which were originally a unified art form. This text contains thousands of verses on how dance should be performed and what the purpose of the dance is.

It also contains chapters on stagecraft and recommended principles on the staging of drama and a couple of chapters on music. All the classical dance styles of India are connected to the Natya Shastra. You can find out and learn more about Bharatanatyam dance via 

Bharatanatyam encompasses a wide variety of skills, it is a dance form that requires the dancer to have experience of theatre, music, literature, and poetry. There are two main elements of Bharatanatyam which are Nritta and Nritya. Nritta is pure dance, it is creating complex movements and patterns to rhythms.

It does not have a focus on meaning but it expresses the joyous energy and beauty experienced by the dancer. Nritya is a combination of rhythm and expression. The dancer would perform a poem or song by using subtle facial expressions and hand gestures. The entire body reacts to the emotions and allows the dancer to be elevated to a non-worldly level.