Evolution of Bharatnatyam
As said by Dr.Z.K.Themistocles, when Art turns erotic it is always an indication of slackening morals,social, political and religious corruption, all leading to political downfall. The Nayaks were Vaishnavaites whose erotic art led to the political downfall. This had setup a trend in which religion was used to kindle and enjoy debased morals and this affected the dance field adversely during Marata period . The entrance of the European visitors were also one of the main causes for the downfall of Dance. The Devadasis were treated like dasis. The content of the art and its forms and the very approach had been changed and affected as a result it had lost its protection that was given by the Cholas . The political chaos and the economic insecurity led to the evolution of “SADIR”. But then sadir was banned in temples by the public. They demanded for a reformation to it and renamed it as Bharatanatyam. This is how Bharatanatyam was evolved. Thus sadir was reestablished as Bharatanatyam – Sage Bharata’s art. This had brought about a great change in the public’s mentality. Dance was once prohibited to the ladies of the dignified families but now learning dance has become a status symbol.
Sage Vedanta Desika has proposed a fanciful pun on the name of a person Bharata in his play “Sankalpa Suryodhaya’. This led to the misunderstanding of the meaning of Bharanatyam as a combination of Bhava, Raga and Thala alone. But in real it comprises of many more features. Bharatanatyam has evolved a lot and dosenot actually reflect Bharata’s work. Sadir is one of the dance styles that comprises of traces of Bharata’s technique, and hence cannot claim Bharata’s name wholly. The term Natya doesn’s suit the sadir dance since it is only a kind of solo Nrtya . The sadir Dance style is mainly based on Adavu technique that emerged after the 14th century. The Adavu is the basic unit for the sadir Dance .Adavu is nothing but the Southern terminology for Karana.The word Sadir is a recent origin.It has its roots in the Ve’ttiyal(a kind of performance).It is meant for the consumption of the plutocracy ie.Ve’ttiyal is performing in the praise of the Ve’ndan(the king).The term Sadir has been taken from the pra’krit script. Since Sadir had its origin in Maharashtra about the reign of Sivaji(the great Marata king), it has been derived from Satara which is the capital of one of the major districts of Maharashtra.
Sadir evolved from three sources:-
1)From the folk tradition of the Tamizhs( those people whose mother tongue was Tamizh a south Indian language)
2)From the Telugu (another south Indian language) artistes during the rule of Vijayanagara when the Hindu culture was fading.
3)For the court of the Maratas.
Adavu is a southern terminology of the concept of Karanas.This technique emerged after the 14th century and is the basis of the Sadir dance style.It is a unit of contemporary dance.This term is used for the basic steps and exercises of the Kalaripait( a martial art of Kerala, a state in south India,that influenced the modern Kathakali –another form of dance art of Kerala). Adavu means Serkkai(a combination) in the Tamizh language. It is a combination of both steps and gestures in dance. Adavu is a phonetically decayed form of the word ADAIVU .The Adavus evolved from typical folk movements of dances like –Kaavadi, Karagam and Oyilattam of the Tamizhs.The term Adaivu seems to be an inscription of the days of later Cholas.This belongs to the rein of Parakesari – Kulothunga III and is found at the ruined temple of Shiva at Kulattur. The kind had made allotments of the turns for “Tiruppattadaivu’ , ‘Meikaattadaivu’, ‘Tiruvaalatti’and ‘Tirukkuulam’ for the Devadasis in the temple as agreed by the trustees.
It has been assumed that Tiruppaattadaivu has been a dance for a song in which Vaakyarthabhinaya was the main feature. Meikaattadaivu seems to be closer to the concept of Nrtta Karanas as Mei means body and Kattu means to show in Tamizh.It reflects the usage of all the Upangaas and Angaas of the Mei. All the contemporary Adaivus are grouped under this category. It is important to note that Mei is performed even now in the contemporary Bhaagavatamiha Naatakas of Melattur and other villages in Tamil Nadu. Tiruvaalatti must have been the Aalatti (Haarati) performed by the Devadasis. However it was later known as Kudamurai system. Tirukkutam must have been a dance of Shivaite character. The contemporqary Adavu system has already shrunk to the minimum in the course of this century.