Artifact analysis: Expressions through sculptures
Abhinaya , Navarasa , Natyam. Expressions play a major significance in a Bharatanatyam performance. They are used to convert the mood/emotion or theme. It is often through the face, a meaning and salutation to god is performed.
In Indian prosody (the science of analysing poetry) and Natyshastra(The science of dance) Ancient Indian Gurus have recognised that there are nine basic emotions( Sthaayi Bhaavas)in our experience. Each of these, rises to the level of perfection when developed in the art, and that fully developed state is called Rasa .There are thus nine rasas (emotions sublimated into artistic enjoyment) prevailing. A work of art, or poetry , if created by a talented artist, develops related rasa in the heart of the viewer or reader.
Reflecting back at my first dance performance, I still remember devoting first ten minutes of the dance to saluting the god of dance by definite postures. There is high importance of carrying out these salutations to invoke the deity's blessings. The significance was that; dancers can perform without obstacles.
Therefore, behind every bharatanatyam dancer, is an idol of 'Nataraja' which symbolises the Lord of Dance. It depicts the Hindu God of Shiva who performs his divine dance to destroy a weary universe. Generally, artistes pay obeisance on stage to this bronze made statue ; the king of dance.
Expressions are what define this dance art. It is often said that you "dance with your eyes" and mesmerise your audience and pay tribute to the divine. Each expression explores an emotion. To me personally, this is what I can relate to my Bharatanatyam experience.
Navarasa (nine moods) is what the mind feels and the expression of the feeling thereafter. Rasa is the emotion experienced by the audience that is created by the facial expression of the artiste.
These Nine Rasas are the follows:
1 Shringara-(love)-created by the emotion of Rathi feeling
2. Hasya(Humour)-created by the feeling of humour
3 Karuna(Pity)- created by the basic emotion of sorrow.
4.Veera(valour)-created by the basic emotion of eagerness.
5.Roudra(Extreme anger)-created by anger.
6.Adbhutha(miraculous)-created by the feeling of wonder.
7.Bhayanaka (terrific)-created by the feeling of fear.
8. Shantha (peace) created by the feeling of calmness.
9.Bhibatsa(perversion)- created by the feeling of nastiness.