danzatrice bharatanatyam

danza espressione



The word “natya” that, as we have seen, is mainly used with reference to the dramatic art derives from the Sanskrit root nrt which means “to dance”. From natya comes also the term nata meaning usually the actor even though its primary meaning is “dancer”. This could suggest that the ancient Indian dramas were mainly danced and that in them the rhythm and the poetry played a fundamental role respect to the action. That was also confirmed by Rabindranath Tagore who referring to them wrote: “our very word for dramas or play, nataka show that dance was its essential feature”.
Beside the term “natya” synonyms can be met that evoke the real nature of the Indian drama; they are rupaka, drsyakavya or preksakavya. The word rupa that refers to something with a shape is taken from the world of literature where it is used to designate a rhetorical figure, the metaphor. That happens because also in the drama a status of non difference is established between the character and the actor called to represent it. Drsyakavya expresses on the contrary the idea of a poem which is admired instead of read. The reference to the action seems to be missing among these titles, in the accepted meaning of the word typical of the western theatrical environment.
The behaviours and the actions of the educated people in the most different situations are the subject of natya. The duty, the peace, the laugh, the war, the love and the hatred are all pictured in it. All this has the scope to encourage and donate wise advises. But the Natya has got also a very important task which consists in helping human beings to achieve the four scopes of life: the observance of laws, the achievement of the right means, the pleasure, the liberation from the ties of ignorance. The zeal in the art of communicating present in the treatises correspond in first instance to an elaborated aesthetic theory where most of the arts in India find their origin. Such a theory is based on the assumption that art is especially a co-operative experience, where more than one interlocutors participate. The analysis of the word abhinaya shows it; in fact it is composed from the prefix abhi (towards) and the root ni (to conduct); their union gives the meaning of “leading the performance to the understanding of the audience” (Natyashastra, III, 6).
Both, the artist and the audience have an active role in the achievement of the aim of the drama: the aesthetic enjoyment, the rasa. The idea of rasa eventually has been object of two different studies: on one side it has become the centre of the philosophical speculation of many schools of religious thought and on the other side it has been studied as a technique of artistic performance.