Bharata Natyam or Bharatanatyam is a classical dance form originating in Tamil Nadu, nowadays practiced throughout South India by predominantly young females and women. It is held as the national dance of India. The dance is accompanied by the classical Carnatic music. It has its inspirations from the sculptures of the ancient temple of Chidambaram.

Today, it is one of the most popular and widely performed dance styles and is practiced by many dancers all over the world. The Bharata Natyam is Sanskrit for Bharata’s dancing.

Bharata Natyam comes from the words Bhava (Expression), Raga (Music), Tala (Rhythm) and Natya (Classic Indian Musical Theatre). Another significant period of dance history occurred in the 1930’s when visionaries like Rukmini Devi Arundale and E. Krishna Iyer brought Bharata Natyam from the temple to the concert stage. Today, Bharata Natyam has evolved significantly from its Devadasi roots. Dancers are utilizing material from a vast array of traditions for their dance and looking at traditional texts with a fresh perspective. Despite such innovations, the Deva-Dasi roots of devotion, discipline and religious ecstasy are still intrinsic elements of Bharata Natyam.

Costume of Bharat Natyam: The dancers wear tight dhoti (Langdar) in which an attractive dhoti with pleats is joined in the centre; which at the time of foot work spreads like peacock feathers between the legs. Pataka and kamarbandh add further attraction to the costume. Men usually wear a Pataka and Kanthi (a type of necklace) while women wear choli and special garlands.