Experiencing Bharatanatyam – History, Movement and Story telling with Deepa Mahadevan

Intercultural Roots

  • Mindfullness
  • Digital
  • £85 - £130
  • 18+


Beginner +
Number of places available:
Session length (in minutes):
Led by:
Deepa Mahadevan
Read less
Local Times:

London: 3pm-5pm
New York: 10am-12noon
San Francisco: 7am-9am
Chennai: 7.30pm-9.30pm

Full Description:
This is an eight-week session of two hours each. Every session will start with a 15- minute warm up inspired from a yoga flow.

This will be followed by forty-five minutes of training in Bharatanatyam movement technique- the student will be introduced to the system of ‘Adavus’ or the basic movement vocabulary of Bharatanatyam. After the first three weeks, the student will be taught a movement flow using the Bharatanatyam technique assimilated in the past couple of weeks. From week 3 the student will continue learning new movement vocabulary. But this section will be geared towards building up a dance sequence that the student will perform in the final session.

The following half hour will be spent on learning hand gestures or mudras and introducing the student to facial expressions. Facial expressions or ‘Abhinaya’ is an important aspect of Bharatatnatyam and most Indian dance forms. Again from the third week this section will be directed towards learning a dance sequence that will involve Bharatnatyam movement technique from the above 45 minutes and understanding facial expression with hand gestures from this 30 minute session. Using both Bharatanatyam movement vocabulary and the aspect of using facial expression and hand gestures we are trying to learn a small movement sequence of about three minutes, which will be presented on the last day.

The last 30 minutes of the class will be spent on understanding the critical history of Bharatanatyam. In the last 30 minutes the student will be introduced to the place of religion, caste, gender and sexuality in Bharatanatyam and ways in which it shapes Bharatanatyam aesthetic. For the final part of class, which involves understanding critical Bharatanatyam history, the participant will need to read an article or two and submit a response before every class in order to keep the discussion moving forward.

Homework – Every class will involve a three part homework:
a. Reading the material required for the final 30 minute critical history portion of the class and submitting a brief blog-type response.
b. Watching a two videos up to a maximum of five minutes each- links will be provided along with the syllabus
c. From week 3 we need the participant to start working on the sequence that we will be putting together during class and be ready for the next class. In Week 3 and 4 the student will choose a working partner. From Week 5 participant will share their practice video of the sequence with their partner who will give them constructive feedback as needed. I will be looking at the comments and feedback and will be discussing them, as appropriate, during class to help master the dance sequence.

The dance sequence will be presented on the final day of class.

While the live workshops will take place in Zoom, all participants will receive an invitation to join our Basecamp online forum for additional support and group communication.

Take-Away Benefits:
a. Participants learn Bharatanatyam movement vocabulary from a professional Indian performer/teacher/choreographer.
b. Participants learn the nuanced art of facial and hand gesturing-Abhinaya.
c.While Bharatanatyam has been largely assimilated in dancing bodies as a traditional art form this course will make the participants critically aware of the inequities in its history, practice and transmission and ethically practice the form with that nuanced understanding of aesthetics.

Type of Format: Course

Language: English

Duration of Each Session: 120 minutes

Technical Platform for the Course: Zoom Pro

Concessionary Ticket – is only for job seekers, students and seniors with a low household income.

Bursary Ticket – is only for people living in countries classed by the World Bank as ‘low income’ and ‘lower-middle income’. Please click here for a list of countries qualifying for Bursary Tickets. We won’t question if you self-declare as low income…

Early Bird Ticket – ends 15th Dec 2023 at 12 noon

Contact Information


This is a digital programme




£85 - 130
The Reader logo
The Reader logo