Bharatanatyam is simply a term that has originated from Sadir. This term began with the Maratha rulers of South India in the 17th century. It was the presentation of the dance in the courts. Another important form was Dasi Attam, which was the dance of the devadasis. Devadasi means 'servant of divinity,' who was a dedicated artist to the services of the temple. The dance of the devadasi was important to the ritual worship. Devdasi families along with nattuvanars have maintained these traditions from generation to generation supported by the royal patronage.
The dance of Bharatanatyam is based on Natya Shastra as supported by the literary shreds of evidence. However, this dance form has observed a deterioration in North India due to repeated foreign invasions and the mixing of this dance form with others. However, this tradition has survived in its true form in South India. Over the years it has evolved and seen many regional variations in its elements. A major milestone in this evolution was by four brothers known as Thanjavur Quartet. They had greatly refined the music and dance forms.
After the British invasion, this art was interpreted as immoral and crude to the concept of the West. The royal patronage fell, and the Indians started to become isolated from their own traditions. The devadasi system also declined. Most of them had to seek the patronage of the ordinary people and this diminished their reputation as a community. In the late 19th and 20th century, social reformers under the influence of the west 2 the art itself condemning it as a social evil. Century, south India was completely wiped out.
REVIVAL: There are many changes that have come in the life of folk artists during the last 50 years. Only a few families have been able to preserve the knowledge of the folk song and music tradition. It was only the work of the Indian freedom fighters, people interested in the folk artist, etc who had learned Bharatanatyam and other dance forms. Without their efforts, the current era would not have seen this beautiful dance forms. For example, E. Krishna Iyer was an Indian freedom fighter and lawyer who performed Bharatanatyam in a female costume. He worked hard to remove the stigma associated with the dance and to increase public interest in this art form. The efforts of Rukmani Devi can also not be ignored in this regard. Earlier she had trained her self in ballet, but soon she took the step to reform the existing Bharatanatyam by focusing on its spirituality. Other artists such Nagaratnamma and Balasaraswati also preserved this tradition over the years and kept it in the hands of the devadasi community.
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