Session 16- Introduction to Mardita (Steps 1 and 2)

Congratulations on getting through our first checkpoint test.

Let’s start moving literally…

Mardita: “Marditam” is a foot movement mentioned in Sangita Ratnakara that refers ” to rubbing the floor with one’s sole”. This set of adavus gets its name from this foot movement which is the predominant motion here. The Marditam execution itself varies according to one’s style and aesthetic preferences from a tap to a slight kick.

If you remember I had asked you to find out other names by which this set of adavus is referred to- they are Visharu adavu or Paraval adavu. Both these terms refer to wide sweeping movements in space, characteristic of this group of adavus.

 

Application: These steps are used in a choreography when the participants need to move or realign. The adavu itself may be adapted to move sideways, forwards, backwards or diagonally across the stage. The steps lends itself in creating a continuous flow.

  • Sollukattu for the group: Ta-tai-tai-ta, di-tai-tai-ta (Listen to the audio)
  • Sthanakam/Posture: Araimandi
  • Hatas: Katakamukham and Alapadmam , Pathakam, Dola (You haven’t learnt this just yet) and Tripathakam in a few other styles practised.
  • Feet Positions and Movement: Predominantly Mardhitam and swasthikam.(We will see a few others later)

Eight variations in this group are practiced .

Lets look at the first step.

Lets look at the rhythmic distribution of syllables:-

Beat

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

Sorkattu speed 1

Ta

Tai

Tai

Ta

Di

Tai

Tai

Ta

Footwork guide

R (Tap)

R(apart)

L(back)

R(Bring it forward and tap in Parshvagam)

L (Tap)

L(apart)

R(back

L(Bring it forward and tap in Parshvagam

speed 2

Ta Tai

Tai Ta

Di Tai

Tai Ta

Repeat

speed 3

Ta Tai Tai Ta

Di Tai

Tai Ta

Repeat

Flow of Movements:

Start Position: Araimandi with Katakamukham in front of the chest.

mardita1

  1. Ta-(ref pos 1)
    • Foot: Tap right leg in its current araimandi(parshvagam) position as in Tatadadvu
    • Hands: The right hands is stretched to the front in alapadmam in uttanam (palm facing the roof) (It’s at 90 degress to your body) an arc like movement to right side is commenced
    • Torso remains straight.
  2. Tai– (ref pos 2)
    • Foot: Tap right leg a little away from its araimandi(parshvagam) position
    • Hands: The right hands stretched to the front in uttana alapadmam, is now moved into place in line with the right shoulder.(Now its at an180 degrees to your body or in line with it)
    • The body bends at the waist to the right. (not so much for male students though)
  3. Tai- (ref pos 3)
    • Foot: Take the left leg back and place it in Swastikam behind the right leg.
    • Hands: The right hands stretched to the front in uttana alapadmam, is now moved behind.(Now its at an 270 degrees to your body)
    • The body turns back at the waist to look right behind .
  4. Ta
    • Foot: Take the right light back a little and tap it in line with the left feet (in parashvagam). Simultaneously lower the heel of left feet which is on its toes, gently without a noise.
    • Hands: The right hands are brought back and palced in Katakamaukham in front of the chest.
    • The body turns back to face forward.
    • Now you are in the starting position

For di-tai-tai-ta mirror the movement to your left. It must be noted that the movement of the waist and hands and continuous and smooth and not jerky and instantaneous with the feet.

Teaching Tips: This step has a slightly asynchronous movement of the hands and feet where at the third point in the movement flow, the right hand and left leg move back. There is a tendency to move the right feet when the left is moved. So it is important to practice and perfect the footwork and the hands before putting them both together. It might help to say the following while memorizing the feet…

  • R, apart, back, together
  • L, apart, back ,together
Second Step:
The second step can be described as being the double of the previous step. The movement is as follows : R.L,L, R and repetition
The following list shows the sollu recitation and the corresponding movement for the 2nd step.
  • ta-tai-tai- ta (move to right as in the right in the first step)
  • di-tai-tai-ta (move to left as in the left in the first step)
  • ta-tai-tai-ta (move to left as in the left in the first step)
  • di-tai-tai- ta (move to right as in the right in the first step)

Now let’s practice both these steps with the audio (play the audio twice to practice both steps)

 

Academy Interaction and facilitation …

Hi Everybody,

Thank you for the overwhelming response and the support extended to us in this project.

It’s a pleasure to see so many people interested in this divine art.

In an attempt to bring more organization and structure to this academy and to enable interaction and discussion essential to reasonable knowledge gain, we request you to register yourself in our exclusive community in orkut – http://www.orkut.com/Community.aspx?cmm=44961401

In this community we will attempt to share and discuss everything that can help us learn dance better and faster- from the latest happenings in the dance community, to recommending appropriate articles, books and CD’s. You can post your queries,and answer others. You may post your videos for review and honest feedback. Tests and the answers will also be released/ discussed in this community.

While you register, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you expect from this academy. This will help us focus on individual needs also.

This community will be moderated just to make sure that there is discipline and decorum that we require while approaching an art form so divine and pure. Both of us will be a part of this community, waiting to help you in your endeavor to the best of our capabilities.

Kindly continue your support to make this effort a success.

Thanking you all once again,

Sangeetha Shyam

(On behalf of the all behind this venture)

Test 1-Checkpoint

Dear students,

It is important we check to see if we have grasped and reatined what has been taught in the previous sessions, before we proceed further. So let’s see.

Here are the questions…

  1. What does Thattikumudu mean? When is it done?
  2. What are steps called in Bharathanatyam jargon?
  3. How many speeds are prescribed for practicing steps ?
  4. What are Hastas?
  5. What are one handed gestures called?
  6. What kind of steps are found in Thatadavu? Stretching/tapping
  7. Naatu means to rest on the heel or toes?
  8. While dancing, especially the steps, the eyes usually follow the hastas/hand movements- true or false?
  9. What is the half sit in the Bharathanatyam called?
  10. Can you name a few positions of the feet that we looked into so far?

If you get less than 7 out of these questions right, it may help to revise your previous lessons. Remember we are always here and there is no hurry. Perfection and assimilation are first in our agenda. (Check you answers)
If you got 7 out of 10 correct to the above questions. Answer the following question…
Are you able to recall all the 8 tatadavus and Naatadavus?
Yes– Welcome to our next session.. Great going…
No– Please go through the animations once more before you join us for the next session.

You are welcome to send in your answers to us by posting them as comments. We will check them and let you know. The results/answers for this test will be released in our Orkut Community with a week’s time.

You are welcome to join our orkut community – specially created for the users of this website. Your comments, suggestions, answer to our queries and your queries to us can be posted there.

Session 15- Asamyutha hastas and their meaning

We have learned the Asamyutha Hastas in session 8. Each of these hastas /their names have a meaning. We are going to study the meaning of these hastas in today’s session. It may be necessary to have a look at the chart provided earlier to see how the gesture actually denotes the meaning.

 

Hasta

Meaning

Pathakam

Flag/creeper

Tripathakam

3 parts of a flag/

Ardhapathakam

2 parts of a flag/

Kartarimukham

Scissors/ Tongs

Mayuram

Peacock

Ardhachandran

Half Moon

Aralam

Petal/ bent

Shukathundam

Parrot’s beak

Mushti

Fist

Shikaram

The pinnacle/ top

Kapitam

Wood apple

Katakamukham

bracelet/link

soochi

needle

Chandrakala

Full moon

Padmakosam

Lotus Bud

Sarpasirsham

Hood of Cobra

Mrigaseerisham

Deer’s head

Simhamukham

Lion’s face

Kangulam

 small bell

Alapadmam

Fully Bloomed Lotus

Chaturam

4 sides, square

Bramharam

Bee

Hamsasyam

Swan’s bill

Hamsapakshakam

The swan

Sandamsham

Tongs/twinkle

Mukulam

bud

Tamarachooda

rooster

Trishoolam

Trident

It should be noted that each of these hastas can be used to show various thoughts, actions, ideas and things. Those become the usage or Viniyoga of a Hasta. These Viniyogas are mentioned in Natyasashtra shlokas that will be dealth with at a later time..
For adavanced Learners
While learning the steps in itself it would help to know a few other terms with reference to hastas.
Hasta Pracahara:denotes the facing of the palms. It would at present help to learn the following terms
  • Uttana-Palm upterned or facing ceiling/skywards
  • Adhomukha-facing the floor
  • Unmukha-Palm facing oneself
  • Paran Mukha-Palm facing away from one self.

We will now proceed with the Mardhita adavu in the next session. Did you know that there are other ways/terms to refer to this adavu? Try finding them out and check with us in the next session to see if you came up with the right answers. But before we start on to Mardhita please check to see if you are able to execute all the 8 Tatadavus and Naatadavus with proficiency.

Session 14- Completing Naatadavu and related terminology

Before we start learning the7th variation in Naatadavu, let’s look at two other feetagrasancharam positions involved. We are going to study 2 terms today. They are :

  1. Agratala Sancharam: This is a term from Natyasashtra that describes, one foot placed normally and the other foot placed on the toes with the heels held up.There are a lot of variations possible in this position,and we come across one such in this step.( as shown in the right.)
  2. Parshvagam

    Parshvagam: This term from Sangita Ratnakara refers to the feet that is placed flat on the ground with the toes turned towards the sides.

      Anjitham sometimes spelled ancitam or Naattu you are already familiar with, receives mention in the Natyasahtra.

      Let’s now watch the animation and look for these positons…

      Beat

      1

      2

      3

      4

      5

      6

      7

      8

      Sorkattu

      Tai

      Yum

      Tat

      Ta- a

      Tai

      Yum

      Ta

      Ha- a

      Footwork

      R Nattu

      L tap in parshavagam

      Turn to L

      (Right in agratala sanchara)

      L tap- R tap

      L Nattu

      R tap tap in parshavagam

      Turn to R Left in agratala sanchara)

      R tap- L tap

      Count Guide

      1&

      2&

      3&

      4,5

      1&

      2&

      3&

      4,5

      This table is given to help understand the footwork and its rhythmic distribution in this step.
      Flow:

      Start: Aramandi with katakamukhams at chest level.

      1. Thai– Stretch the right leg in anjitham to the side with the hands stretched diagonally in alapadmam.Right hand nearing the right toe.
      2. Yum: Tap the other left in parshvagam while the hands remain in the previous position.
      3. Tat– Turn towards the left, with the diagonal of the hand maintained change hastas to katamukham. The right feet is on toes stretched in agratala sancharam.(Ref fig in agratala sancharaam)
      4. Ta – There are 2 movements for this one beat.
        • (a)Tap the left in parshvagam with the hands retained in a diagonal stretched katakamukham.
        • (b)Bring the right leg back to aramandi position in a tap. The hands now move back to the front of the chest (still in katakamukham)

          For Thai-yum-ta-ha mirror the movements in left. Lets try this with our audio

          The Naatadavu 8th step is almost a double repition of the 7th step. Here the Sequence of movement from 1-4a is executed and the student then begins with the sequence 1 and completes it till 4 b. The whole scheme uses up all the 8 syllables as follows

          • Tai- Movement 1
          • Yum- Movement 2
          • Tat- Movement 3
          • Ta-Movement 4a
          • Tai- Movement 1
          • Yum- Movement 2
          • Ta- Movement 3
          • Ha- Movement 4a and b

          The left uses up another 8 syllables for total execution. Try with this audio

          In other styles like the Pandanallur its derivatives and Thanjavur traditions, there are few other kinds of Naatadavu extensions that are a combination of Naatadavu and Dit-tit-tai adavus that have a sorkattu Tai- yum- tat- ta- tai- tai- dhithi-tai. The Dit tit tai adavus are a category by themselves and will be covered as a seperate adavu a little later in this class.

          For Adavanced Learners:

          When analyzing the Nattadavu , we see 3 variations in “Anjitham/Naatu” itself:

          1. Parshva Anjitha– Nattu to the side -As in step1,2,7 and 8
          2. Sama anjitha– Nattu in the front- As in step 3and 4
          3. Tryasra Anjitha– Nattu in between the above 2 as in step5 and 6.

            Session 13- Naatadavu Step 6

            The 6th variation in Naatadavu is an extension of the previous step.

            Let’s now watch the animation…

            Looking at the steps in the flow of this step…

            1. Start– Sit in araimandi with hands stretched out inTirupathakam.
            2. Thai
              • Feet- Move right feet behind the left to make a swastikam.
              • Hands- Move right arm upwards to stretch above the head with tirupathakam facing the ceiling. The right hand is now at a right angle to the left
              • Face upwards and look at your right hand extended on the top.
            3. Yum– while in the previous position, tap the left feet.
            4. TatNat 5
              • Feet- Move right feet from behind (the lef)t to the front and stretch in “Naatu”
              • Hands- The right hand now moves down in an arc to make a parallel with the right stretched feet.
              • Head, neck and eyes, follow the movement of the right arm.

              Till this point it is exactly the same as the previous step.

            5. Ta- Now while at the previous position tap the left leg.
            6. Thai– (At this pointit is as if we begin the whole movement again)
              • Feet- Move right feet behind the left to make a swastikam.
              • Hands- Move right arm upwards to stretch above the head with tirupathakam facing the ceiling. The right hand is now at a right angle to the left
              • Face upwards and look at your right hand extended on the top.
            7. Yum– Tap the left feet in front with all other position similar to previous position
            8. Ta
              • Feet: Bring back the right feet to araimandi and tap
              • Hands: The right hand in Tirupathakam is brought down vertically in a straight line, while bending at the elbow. Also slowly turn at your wrist so that the tirupathakam finally faces the ground.
              • Face: tip your chin and look at your right hand in front of the chest.
            9. Ha
              • Feet: Tap left feet in araimandi
              • Hands: The right hand in Tirupathakam in front of the chest is now extended fully at shoulder level by stretching at the elbow.
              • Face: Lift your chin and look ahead(at the audience).
              • You are now in the start position.

              Mirror all the movements in left for another set of Tai- yum- tat-ta-tai-yum-ta-ha.

            Lets try with the audio

            Session 13- Naatadavu Step 5

            Naatadavu Step 5, is a geometrical construction literally. The hand here draws an arc and straight lines. This step lends itself beautifully to group choreographies.

            The Foot postions are once again the swasthikam and Naatu.

            The Hands are in Tirupathakam.

            Lets watch this step in our animation.

            Now lets analyze the flow…

            1. Start– Sit in araimandi with hands stretched out inTirupathakam.
            2. Thai
              • Feet- Move right feet behind the left to make a swastikam.
              • Hands- Move right arm upwards to stretch above the head with tirupathakam facing the ceiling. The right hand is now at a right angle to the left
              • Face upwards and look at your right hand extended on the top.
            3. Yum– Tap the left feet in front with all other position similar to previous position
            4. Nat 5Tat
              • Feet- Move right feet from behind the left to the front and stretch in “Naatu”
              • Hands- The right hand now moves down in an arc to make a parallel with the right stretched feet.
              • Head, neck and eyes, follow the movement of the right arm.
            5. Ta
              Feet- Move right feet back to araimandi position
              Hands- The right hand now moves upwards towards the chest while bending at the elbow and then stretched back in a straight line at the shoulder level.
              Head, chin and eyeslook from down at the audience brightly.

              • For Thai -yum Ta- ha- mirror the movement in the left.

              Teacher’s tip: It may help to say “Back- yum- front ta- back-yum-front -ha

              Practice with audio