Session 49: Ettadavu Step 2

Hi ūüôā

The link below shows a clip of Ettadavu Step 2.


Keep watching this site as more videos shall be uploaded soon ūüôā

Take care,


Session 48: Introduction to Ettadavu and Step 1

Hello everyone!

The next set of adavus is ‘Ettadavu’.¬†(yettu +adavu). ” Yettu” in Tamil means “to reach out” or “to stretch”. True to its name the adavu comprises of ¬†movements that reach outwards , expanding the space used the dancer. These steps are usually seen at the beginning of Jathi Korvais. Traditionally, a lot of Trikala Jathis (The 3 speed jathis seen in Varnam) begin with this adavu, though it is not a necessity.

The adavus use tripathakam on both hands. The lines and the hands and feet emphasize the stretching movements.

Sollu Kattu: tai- taiyum- tatta (In Tisram or 3 beat as in ta- ki -ta). Use Ta-ki-ta for the third speed

Please see the following link for the first step of Ettadavu:

Thank you,


Vidya Warrier


My name is Vidya Warrier and I will be helping Sangeetha put up videos of the lessons from here onwards!

I have been learning dance since the age of five and was a Kalakshetra student under my guru Shrimati Suma Balasubramaniam for several years. Thereafter, I learnt under Shrimati Thenuka Vigneshwaran who was a disciple of Smt. Chitra Visweswaran. I performed my arangetam in the year 2006 in under  Guru Thenuka.

Thanks you and hope my upcoming videos shall be useful to you.

Best Regards,


Session 47- Drishti Bheda, Eye movements

Sri. Santosh Kumar Menon will elucidate the drishti Bhedas in this session.


Samam alokitha saachi pralokitha nimilithe

Ullokitha anuvrththecha thatha chaivaavalookitham


Samam¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† –¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Look Straight¬†¬†

aalokitham ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† –¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Rolling eyes

saachi ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† –¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Glancing at one corner of

                                                the eyes (one side)

pralookitha¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† –¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Moving eyes side to side(wide)

nimilithe¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† –¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Half closed eyes

Ullokitha¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† –¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Looking Up

Aanuvrththecha¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† –¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Looking up and down(in anger)

Avalookitham¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† –¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† looking down

Test 3- Checkpoint

  1. What is the salutation at the beginning and end of a dance session called?
  2. What was the first set of adavus taught?
  3. What kind of movements does Paydhal adavu feature?
  4. Thattimettu can also be called?
  5. Match the Following
    • Chatushram- 5
    • Tisram——4
    • Kantam—–3
    • sankeernam—7
    • Misram——-9
  6. Demonstrate Adi Talam
  7. Greva Bedhas refer to the movement of the ………………………….
  8. Demonstrate the 4 Greva Bedhas.
  9. Shiro Bhedas refer to movements of the …………
  10. Demonstrate Shiro Bedhas..

The answers for this quiz is be published in our orkut community

You are free to send in your answers to us as comments…(Will not be posted)

Answers Now posted at

Session 46- Panchanadai – Kantam and Sankeernam

Step 4

Kantam : Ta-ka- ta-ki-ta (5 beats) Play audio file

Kantam: Ta- Ka- ta-ki-ta (5 beats)..

Beat/Foot work






Right Feet




Left Feet

Mettu(strike the floor with toes while keeping the heels lifted)

Mettu (Bring the heel down and strike the floor)



Sankeernam: Ta- Ka- Dhi-Mi- Ta-ka-ta- Ki- ta (9beats)(4+5)

Perform step 1(Chatushram) and step 4(kantam) successively.

 Play audio file

Session 45- Chatushran, Tisram and Misram

 It was said in Session 42 that “Thaati-means to tap, metti- means to hit the floor with the heel while being rooted on the toes “. While the right feet  does the tattu and meetu, the left feet just does the mettu.(No Tapping involved here)

Common Features of the Thattumettu Adavu:-

While the Sollukattu for each of the Pancahanadai varies, the following are common to all of them

Sthanam: Araimandi. A few styles do with both feet in  Parshvagam(feet turned sideways and toes facing the sides, other styles have the right feet in samam,facing straight and the left in parshvagam)

Hastas: Right hand in Tamarachuda  held near the chin, left hand placed on the waist or hung out in a dola. Some styles also hold the hands above the head (suchi in one hand grasped with all the fingers in the other)

Foot Work:  involves the tapping (Thattu), Mettu (which is referred to as Udhgatitham in Natya Sahtra) and agratala sancharam(to strike the floor with the toes while the heels remain lifted)

Now lets us look at the first 3 Panchandais

Step 1

Chatushram: Ta- Ka- Dhi-Mi (4 beats).. Play audio

Beat/Foot work





Right Feet


Mettu (lift heel and then strike floor by bringing it down)

Left Feet

Mettu(strike the floor with toes while keeping the heels lifted)

Mettu (Bring the heel down and strike the floor)


Tisram : Ta- Ki- ta (3 beats)  Play audio

Beat/Foot work




Right Feet


Left Feet

Mettu(strike the floor with toes while keeping the heels lifted)

Mettu (Bring the heel down and strike the floor)


Misram: Ta- Ka- Dhi-Mi- Ta- Ki- ta (7beats) Play Audio

Successively perform the step 1 and 2 repeatedly


Session 44:Exercise- Reciting with Thalam

Below is a video of Adi talam( Chatushra jati Triputa Talam having a total of 8 beats). Now try to use this and recite the natadavu or the mardhita in three speeds. Also try using your own hands to keep the time measure. Once you have understood this, you are ready to embark further on the panchanadai..

Please Visit ( since the video embedding is prohibited by this user, I am not able to do so here)

Video Courtesy: You Tube

Once you have accomplished reciting the sorkattu for the adavu with the thalam, watch the following video which demonstrates a Mirdanga Vidwan,mr. Satish Krishnamurthy, reciting a korvai (or a rhythmmic sequence) for adi talam. This recitation of the rhythmic syllable is also referred to as Konakkol. Try to keep the Talam along with him. It may not be easy the first time. Dont give up, learning the knack of it will be a very satisfying experience.

You may wonder why talam is given so much emphasis in this blog, but then remember “Tha” in Bharatha Natyam is for Thalam. Since we are learning the adavus or steps currently, we arent exactly touching upon the Bhavam or expressional aspect.. Ragam or Music is a subject in itself. Currently the right approach for you would be to master Talam (Rhythm) and Kaalam(Speed)

Video Courtesy: You Tube

Session 43- An introduction to Thalam

While we are learning the Panchanadai, it will do good to understand the Thalam in Carnatic Music. Bharathanatyam is traditionally set to Carnatic Music, and an understnading of the system will go a long way in ensuring a wholesome learning of the art form.

Here is an intoduction to Thalam as written by Mannarkoil. J. Balaji at

Tala in Indian Carnatic Music is a time measure or rhythm cycle. As heart beat is to life for a man, Tala lends life for whole of a concert. It is said “Sruthi Mata Laya Pitha” which means, the drone emanated from the Tambura is Mother to the music and the Tala is like father. The tala or time in Carnatic Music is a series of counts made by wave of hand or tap of the hand on the lap or by using both the hands in a manner of clap.

There are seven basic talas in Carnatic Music: Suladi Sapta Talas. The Seven Talas form the major oft used rhythms in Carnatic Music. Though there are many tala systems in Carnatic Music, the Suladi Sapta Talas are the most famous since the time of Purandaradasa (1484-1564) and most of the Compositions currently sung are part of the Suladi Sapta Talas

To get an indepth understanding into the Suladi Sapta Thala Structure and its relationship to the Jathis let us look at this write up at

Each and every talam has a structure, that is governed by the rules pertaining to it. For example, if we take the most common tala РChatusra Jaathi Triputa Talam (Adi Talam), we can describe the process of the tala thus :  
1 beat of the palm of the hand on the thigh,  
followed by counting three fingers, then beating the palm and turning it over, then beating the palm and turning it over  
If we count a number each for every beat, fingercount or turn of the palm Рthe number comes to eight. So the tala has eight units. The units are called Aksharams and the Adi talam has 8 aksharams.  

The first part of the tala which consists of the beating of the palm & counting is called Laghu. Here the number of units is 4 (Chatusram) and the laghu is Chatusra laghu. The Jaathi of the laghu determines the jaathi of the tala so the tala is Chatusrajaathi Adi Tala.  

The next process of beat and turning the palm is called Drtham. It is done twice, so the tala has 2 drthams. Thus Chatusra Jaathi Triputa Talam(Adi) has one Chatusra Laghu and two drthams. The symbol for laghu is 1 and the number written beneath it represents the jaathi and the symbol for drtham is 0 and hence, this thalam will be represented thus  

1 4 0 0

Thus, from the above, we understand that a tala has laghu, drtham and these are called Angams (parts) of the tala. In some cases, there may be half of drtham, i.e., just the beat of the palm without turning it and is called Anudrtham. 

There are seven basic talas in Carnatic Music: Suladi Sapta Talas The Seven Talas form the major oft used rhythms in Carnatic Music. Though there are many tala systems in Carnatic Music, the Suladi Sapta Talas are the most famous since the time of Purandaradasa (1484-1564) and most of the Compositions currently sung are part of the Suladi Sapta Talas.

There are seven basic thalas/Suladi Sapta Thalas :  
1. Dhruva talam – 1-Laghu,1-Dhruta,2-Laghus

2. Matya Talam¬†–¬† 1-Laghu,1-Dhruta,1-Laghu

3. Rupaka Talam-  1-Dhruta,1-Laghu 

4. Jampa Talam -1-Laghu,1-Anu Dhruta,1-Dhruta

5. Triputa Talam-1-Laghu,2-Dhrutas 

6. Ata Talam -2-Laghus,2-Dhrutas 

7. Eka Talam -1-Laghu 

Now lets see how the jathis come into interact:-

In a tala, the drtham has two units and anudrtham (if it is part of a talam) has 1 unit and this is a constant. But the units of the laghu vary according to the jaathi.  

1. Thisra Jaathi  
2. Chatusra Jaathi  
3. Kanta Jaathi  
4. Misra Jaathi  
5. Sankeerna Jaathi

So, depending upon the jaathi, the units of the laghu varies. And the jaathi of the talam is determined by the jaathi of the laghu. Also, depending upon the jaathi of the laghu, the aksharams of the tala vary. For instance, the Triputa talam has the following angams Рone laghu and two drthams and symbolically 1 0 0. Now, if the Triputa is Thisra Triputa, the laghu will have three aksharams  

1 (3) 0 0

and the thala will have seven aksharams. If the talam is Kanda Triputa, the laghu will have 5 aksharams and the tala will have 9 aksharams 

1 (5) 0 0

Thus the 7 talams in combination with the 5 jaathis gives 35 talas in Carnatic music. Among these, the Chatusra Jaathi Triputa (Adi), Rupakam, Kanda Chapu, Misra Chapu are the most widely used talam. All the 7 talas in one of the jaathi is taught in the preliminary¬†vocal exercise of “Alankaram”. These talas are called desi talas


 Further Reading to enhance comprehension

Please visit our Orkut community Forum at for further study.

Session 42- Introduction to Panchanadai/ Thattimettadavu

If you did watch the previous video carefully, you would have observed a few variations in beats while performing the nattadavu. This is referred to as a varaiation in nadai.

Nadai (meaning gait) refers to the rhythmic flow of the composition. Carnatic Music upon which Bharathanatyam is based, recognizes 5 basic nadais( Pancha nadais). Hence this adavu is also referred to as Pancha Nadai.

The Panchanadais their nomenclature, number of beats and sollukattu are as follows:-

  • Chatushram– 4 beats-Tha-ka-dhi-mi
  • Tisram-3beats-ta-ki-ta.
  • Misram(Putting a Chatushram and Tisram together)-7beats(4+3)-Ta-ka-dhi-mi-ta-ki-ta
  • Kantam-5 beats-ta-ka-ta-ki-ta.
  • Sankeernam (putting a chatushram and kantam together)-9 beats-Ta-ka-dhi-mi-ta-ka-ta-ki-ta.

Each nadai has its own flow that can be harnessed to potray a particular mood or feel. These adavus are usually used as a wrap up portion of the end of sahitya (lyrics) portions in the varnam to enhance and emphasize the tempo and rhythmmic content. This is referred to as Thattimetti. (Thaati-means to tap, metti- means to hit the floor with the heel while being rooted on the toes ). During the thattimetti , the dancer uses hand gestures and facial abhinaya to convey the meaning of the lyrics and simultaneously performs the relevant tattimettu (or an intricate combination). This requires a lot of concentartion and dexterity.

Let us look at a tattimetti that occurs in a video featured in You Tube…

Watch this

In this clip the dancer performs a varnam . While for the first 20 seconds she mimes the songs out with gestures, you can see her perform the tattimetti from the 20 second onwards..(till around the 3oth sec or so). You may notice that the thattimetti performed in this particular clipping is set to 4 beat/chatushram.