Shiro, Drishti & Greeva Bhedhas & Anga
The following describes the different shiro (head), drishti (eye) & greeva (neck) bhedhas (movements) and the categorisation of anga (body) that are used in Bharathanatyam.
Shiro Bhedha – head movements
Shira or shirasa means ”head” in sanskrit. The 9 head movements refer to the head positions when expressing a particular bhava.
- Samam: Keep head straight
- Udvahitam: Look up
- Adhomukham: Look Down
- Alolitam: Move head in a circular movement
- Dhutam: Move head to right and left
- Kampitam: Nod head up and down
- Paravrittam: Turn head to the right or left briskly
- Ukshiptam: Head is turned and raised or in a slanted position
- Parivahittam: Small shakes of the head done quickly
Sama udvahitam adhomukha-lolitam Dhutam
kampitam cha paravrittam ukshiptam parivahitam
navdhakathitam shirasa natyashastra visharadaihi
Drishti Bhedha – eye movements
Drishti means ”eyes” in sanskrit. The 8 eye movements refer to the eye positions when expressing a particular bhava.
- Samam: Keep eyes still
- Alokitam: Roll eye balls in a circular pattern
- Saachi: Look through the corner of the eyes
- Pralokitam: Move your eyes side to side.
- Nimilitam: It looks like a half shut eye, try to focus the eye ball towards the heart
- Ullokitam: Look upwards
- Anuvrittam: Move eyes up and down rapidly
- Avalokitam: Look down
Samam Alokitam Saachi pralokita Nimility
Ullokita-anuvritte cha tatha chaiva-avalokitam
Ithyashtho drishthi bhedaha syu kirtitah purvasuribhi
Greeva Bhedha – neck movements
Attamis exude grace in abhinaya pieces or acts as an ornament in Nritta. 4 types of neck movements mentioned in AbhinayaDarpanam.
- Sundari: Move neck side to side. It is also called as Attami
- Tirashchina: Move neck in a V-shape
- Prarivartita: Move neck in a semi-circle or moon-like shape
- Prakampita: Move neck forward and back
Sundari cha Tirashchina tathaiva Parivartita
Prakampita cha bhavagnair gneya greeva chaturvidha
Anga – body
In dance, the body limbs are classified as Anga, Pratyanga and Upaanga. The body limbs are used differently when expressing a particular bhava.
6 Angas comprise of
Some Bharathanatyam experts include the neck as well.
Some Bharathanatyam experts include the wrists, elbows and ankles as well.
Some Bharathanatyam experts include the heels, fingers, feet and palms as well.
Important Rule for Dance :
Yetho Hasta Thatho Drishti
Yetho Drishtis Thatho Manah
Yetho Manas Thatho Baavo
Yetho Baavas Thatho Rasah
Wherever the hand goes, the eyes follow
Wherever the eyes go, the mind follows
When the mind is engaged, expression results
Where there is expression, there is beauty.
– Abhinaya Darpana, Sloka No. 247
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