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Theory and Practice of Angikabhinaya in Bharata Natyam (An Old and Rare Book)

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Item Code: IDL207
Publisher: Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan
Author: Dr. Sandhya Purecha
Language: English
Edition: 2003
Pages: 608 (Illustrated Throughout in Color & B/W)
Other Details 11.5" X 9.0"
Weight 2.14 kg
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Book Description

From the Jacket

Prosecuted her higher studies in the Bombay University and particularly Wilson college, Mumbai.

In the year 1986, she stood second in B.A. from Bombay University with distinction in Sanskrit, and won five prizes.

In the year 1988, she completed her M.A. with distinction from Bombay University in Sanskrit in Alamkar Shastra a her principle subject.

Thereafter she secured LL.B. Degree in the year 1994.

In the year 2001, she was awarded Ph.D. degree by the Kalidas Sanskrit University, Remtek, Nagpur.

She was also awarded the best child actress award by the Govt. of Maharashtra in the year 1978. The Govt. of India conferred on her National Fellowship for the year 1998-2000 for research on Natyashastra.

She has also earned good reputation by her performances on the National and International levels.

She received the benefit of learning under the guidance of the great Guru Acharya Parvatikumar for Bharata Natyam & the basic training in folk was under Shri Ramesh Purav.

It is worthy of note that she has participated in several Seminars hled at different places and earned meed of praise from the experts. She has also developed academic interest and her ten valuable paper are published in the research journals related to dance.

So far the twenty essays as connected with dance and written by Dr. Ms. Purecha have seen the light of the day.

At present she is working as a director of Kala Parichaya, Mumbai and has given the benefit of her knowledge to about 3000 students out of whom about 20 students have got national recognition.

She is also connected with the Sarfojiraje Bhosale Bharatanatyam Training and Research Centre in the capacity of the Hon’ble Secretary & Managing Director.

At present she is working on the critical edition of Nrityadhyaya of Sangita Darpanam with the practical insight in near future she has also determined to print an English rendering of Nritya Ratna Kosha of Kumbha Raja.

Thus in Dr. Ms. Sandhya Purecha’s personality there is a harmonious combination of academic flavour and practical wisdom in the domain of dance.

I have great pleasure in presenting my first research publication on the topic “Theory and Practice of Angikabhinaya in Bharata Natyam” to the sincere lovers of dance.

In the book only some portion of my Phd thesis is appearing in published form.

In the first chapter I have traced the origin of dance from the Vedic Period and its evolution and development latter Indian Classical Dance Style known as Bharata Natyam, here a good material is supplied regarding the position of Devadasis.

In the second chapter the general idea is given about the subject of Natyashastra.

In the third chapter however attention is concentrated on Rasadhyaya and Bhavadhyaya of Bharata’s Natyashastra and Abhinaya, Dharmi, Vrtti Pravrtti, Tandava, Lasya, The types of hero and heroines and Tala and Sangita.

The fourth chapter deals with the theory and technique of Angikabhinaya not only in Bharata’s Natyashastra but also in other allied texts. Here also the charts are presented and photographs are added.

So far as the second part of the work is concerned there is a discussion on contemporary Bharata Natyam, its innovations. For the benefit of students and their future guidance proper care is taken to give the explanation of technical terms of Bharata’s Natyashastra with the help of other Ancient Sanskrit texts with notations and charts.


The noteworthy feature of dance scholarship in the past independence era in India has been attempts on the part of a few dancers to delve deep into shastra-the theory and correlate it with the practice. Their efforts have resulted in a sizable critical literature on classical dance forms. The major seven classical dance forms viz. Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kathakali, Manipuri, Odissi, Kuchipudi and Mohini Attam have received necessary attention from the scholars as well as dancers. Now Sattriya dance from Assam has also received necessary attention from the scholars as well as dancers. Now Sattriya dance from Assam has also received recognition as the eighth classical dance form.

The climate therefore, has been conducive for Dr. Sandhya Purecha to bring out her thesis Angikabihinaya in Bharatanatyam – A critical study, in a book form. She has received practical training in Bharatanatyam under the renowned Acharya Parvati Kumar in Mumbai. His research in the texts like The Natyashastra and Abhinaya Darpana and writings of Maharaja Serfoji of Tanjore and his own book Tanjavur Nritya Prabandha in Marathi have received appreciation in the right quarters. Sandhya therefore has been fortunate to receive throrough training both in the theory and practice under the great guru. She has one more advantage for the knowledge of Sanskrit language, which has helped her go through various Sanskrit treatises relating to dance and comparing them with the Natyashastra and Abhinaya Darpana, the two major texts.

The application of the analysis of the basic principles which governs Indian classical dance forms in particular Bharatanatyam has been an interesting exercise. Since Sandhya is a performing artists she has a commendable facility to examine these principles and its validity. She has succeeded in communicating it through her writing. It indeed is a painstaking and demanding task, and Sandhya has met the challenges with considerable measure of success.

The detailed background providing information about the evolution and development of Bharat Natyam, the institution of the devadasis, discussion on Indian Aesthetics, in particular the Rasa Theory and the technique of Indian dance, taking a broad sweep of various aspects like dharni, vritti, concepts of margi and deshi, leading to the principle topic of angikabhinaya, and examining it in light of the various texts ranging from Bharataranava, Balaramabharata, Bhavaprakasha, Shringaraprakasha, Dhvanyaloka, Kavyaaprakasha, Natya Darpana, Nritya Ratnakosha and Sangitasarnitam and others Sandhya has bravely attempted to see how these principles reflect in the present day neo-classical but nonetheless traditional Bharatanatyam form.

Of particular interest is the chapter on application of the technical terms of the angikabinaya with major limbs, and other limbs both from the shastra and oral tradition to the basic dance units called advus. These illustrations display visually the terminology of angikabhinaya as in practice even today from the earlier times, of course with some ramifications. With the help of the illustrations natta adavu has been explained in nine lessons.

Natta means to stretch and striking the floor with heel and toe. This adavu has 8 to 9 variations and is taught on similar lines in all the schools-styles. The legs used are pakshasastha, sama, and the feet are in anchita and agratala. The hastas are in tripataka, katakamukha, chaturasra hasta, alapadma and pasha hasta. The sthankas/mandalas are.

Samapada sthana ayata mandala, alidha mandala, swastika mandala, garuda sthana, ekapada sthana. The head movements are sama, udvahita, adhomukha and so on. The names of the upanga are also mentioned for eye movements, charis, shoulder movements, knees, arms, chest, thighs, sides, neck, shanks and eye-brows are all mentioned from the point of view of angikabhinaya. This then is a thorough analysis helping the readers to see its relevance how such a dynamic art like dance has preserved the tradition and shows its continuity in the present times.

Right from the notation in section 1 tai yum dat taa how in basic pose both the hands in adhastala tripataka on their own side at the shoulder level (illustration plate - A) are to be held, feet in anchita, shira looking at right shoulder (plate-B) for the syllables tai yum and for mnemonics dat taa right hand in adhastala tripataka, head – shira in sama and also drishti sama (plate-C), all give an accurate description and also authenticate the exercise as intended. It is followed by sec II for mnenonics tai yum taaa stating anchita feet, left handin uttala tripataka with parivahita shira looking at left shoulder (plate-D) and for the last syllable taa the left hand in adhastala tripataka with sama shira and sama drishti (plate-E).

Gradual succession to more technicalities reveals the grasp of the subject on part of the scholar who can herself demonstrate it for further elucidation.

Angikabhinaya is a vast subject with details of angas, upangas and pratyangas and their corresponding viniyogas, usages for nritta and abhinaya. Sandhya has succeeded in writing about it, a Herculean feat indeed I have no hesitation in recommending this volume to the students of dance and also the scholars who have shown interest in the application of the shastric termo and examining its relation with the present day practice.

Publisher’s Preface

It gives me great pleasure to present Miss Dr. Sandhya Purecha’s independent and original work on “Theory & Practice of Angikabhinaya in Bharata Natyam”.

As a matter of act dance is closely connected with the fine arts such a music, drama, sculpture and painting but the correct significance of the Angikabhinaya in Bharata Natyam is not properly highlighted by the predecessors in the domain of dance. Actually, the theory and technique in relation to the Angikabhinaya in the Natyashastra and the other allied texts form the fourth chapter of the first part of her work.

The special feature of her work is the consultation, of the Sanskrit treatises on the domain of dance right from the days of Bharata to the 17th Century.

For the present treatise, Miss Dr. Sandhya Purecha has consulted about 30 Sanskrit texts with the Sanskrit commentaries on the works. It may be added here that she has consulted about fifteen books on dance which are not at all utilized by the person’s working in this field, hence, the discussion in this direction has certainly added a special charm and the range to the subject.

In the third chapter of the first part of her work she has dealt with various theoretical concepts and has also concentrated on the Rasa aspect which is an integral part of the dance as such. For the present purpose, she has also explored the source of the alamkar shastra even by consulting the modern studies on the aspect of Rasa theory only for throwing an important flood of light in respect of dance.

Incidentally, it may be added here that for the 1st and 5th of the first part of her work she has freely utilized the works of her predecessors making some additions here and there with the ulterior motive of giving a bird’s eye view to the readers of this work.

So far as the second chapter of her work is concerned. She has given in brief the contents of Bharata’s Natyashastra covering 34 chapters of the Natyashastra.

As regards the second part of her work It may be stated here that she has shown the correct application of the technical terms in dance in contemperory Bharata Natyam and the innovations in the respect.

She has further presented some sixty photograph of herself correcting the visual aspect of the sixty illustrations of Angikabhinaya.

In this thesis, seventy-six comparative charts are presented on Angikabhinaya by consulting several Sanskrit books on dance.

This work is her independent contribution to the Angikabhinaya of Bharata Natyam based on Sanskrit texts and dance practices.


**Contents and Sample Pages**

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