Bharata Natyam is an effective and unique method to learn, not only about an intricate dance form, but also the classical traditions of India, as it is one of the oldest dance forms of India. Bharata Natyam was nurtured in the temples and courts of southern India since ancient times. Later it was codified and documented as a performing art in the 19th century by four brothers known as the Tanjore Quartet whose musical compositions for dance form the bulk of the Bharata Natyam repertoire even today. The art was handed down as a living tradition from generation to generation. Highly talented artists and the male gurus (nattuvanars) were the sole repository of the art until the early 20th century when a renewal of interest in India's cultural heritage prompted the educated elite to discover its beauty. The revival of Bharata Natyam has brought the dance out of the temple precincts and onto the formal stage though it retained its essentially spiritual nature.
Today Bharata Natyam is one of the most popular and widely performed dance styles and is practiced by male and female dancers all over India and the world. Due to its wide range of movements and postures and the balanced melange of the rhythmic and mimetic aspects lends itself well to experimental and fusion choreography.
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