Session 4- Araimandi/ Introduction to adavus

Please do the Salutation/pranam. This should be done before and after every class.

Let’s practise all the exercises taught so far once.



Now let’s start with steps- the building blocks of the pure dance /Nritta Bharathanatyam. The Technical Lingo for steps is Adavu in Bharathanatyam jargon.

Adavus are comprised of the sthanakamm, Nritta Hasta and Chari.

  • Sthanakam – Posture (Eitherin the typical araimandi(half sit), standing or full sitting posture(Muzhumandi)
  • Nritta Hasta– Hasta/hand getures and their movement
  • Chari– the Foot work

Adavus are usually practiced in 3 speeds/kaalams.
These are considered building blocks of Korvais/Jathis in Nritta. Coincidentally 108 adavus are recognized. Most competent classes teach atleast 75 adavus. It may a take a student 3 months to 1 year to complete these depending on one’s exposure to the art form, age, potential and grasp etc.

Note For Adavanced Learners:

Origins of Adavus that are currently of use can be traced to Gangai Muttu nattuvanar, the ancestor of the Tanjore Quartet and have references in the Sangita Saramrita by King Tulaja II. That’s some 300- 400 years ago. Adavus are basically derived from the Tamil word “Adaivu” meaning to reach a point from a starting point. Some claim it comes froma Telugu root which means movement.You can definitely see the Tamil/Telugu regional origin even from the word.

It must be remembered that the movement and execution itself is more important than the nomenclature. There are different types of adavus and the nomenclature or naming also varies according to the style or Pani. There are many styles or tradition of Bharathanatyam , the most common of which being the Vazhuvoor, Kalakshetra, Pandanallur, Mysore and Thanjavur styles. It may be noticed all the styles were born in a particular region after which it is named. The styles may vary in the execution aspects, for example the postion of the head , the gait, leaps or a particular way the hand is held, or the dramatic extent of their expressions, but basically conform to a basic structure .

On adavanced levels, along with the nomenclature, an in-depth understanding of the movement in itself,its evolution and variations and its documentation and transcription may generate interest.


Before we actually start, we need to pay attention the Araimandi, the essential half sit position of Bharathanatyam, in which the dancer compresses her height to atleast 3/4 of her original height. This gives the typical triangular shape and stability to Bharathanatyam.Araimandi is a very important posture in Bharatanatyam. It becomes a comfortable posture with practice. “In this posture, the back should not jut out, the stomach should not protrude and the torso should not bend forward. The ‘Brahmasutra’ (the vertical imaginary line passing through the centre of the body) is in balance. This means that the araimandi (half sit posture) adjusts according to the height of the dancer. When the araimandi is beyond the threshold point, there is an invlountary urge to lift the heels, which will result in imbalance. Too much of sitting or standing is not aesthetically beautiful. ” Prof (Smt.)Sudharani Raghupaty (Chennai, India) as told in Kutcheribuzz. Araimandi is also referred to as Ayatam and ardhamandalam.

Lets look at the introduction of adavus in the following video:-

Video Credits: You Tube, Swathi Soft Solutions DVD

Work on this posture and we could start off with the steps in our next session…

Its the end of this session , so don’t forget to do your salutations again.


5 Responses

  1. Beautifully created website. Good & balanced teaching. Keep it going…

    But unfortunately, now Youtube is not working.

  2. could u please upload the video again? Thank you soo much! and thank you soo much for this site!! finally my dreamis coming true to learn the dance

  3. Hi,I’ve learnt Bharathanatyam in my childhood for abt 10 yrs…Now I want to pass it on to my 4.5 yr old daughter,but don’t have materials to do so,I just came across yr website,which I’m thrilled about.Looks finally I’ll be able to teach my daughter.Started reading yr sessions which is amazing and while reading I recalled the steps I learnt but not completly.It would be really helpful & good if you could get those steps back on You tube…If I can use yr website to teach my daughter that will be a blessing.Thank You

  4. keep on ur good work.its of great daughter is in 4th yr of bharatanatyam in New delhi. I just started to follow this site.thank u

  5. keep on ur good work.

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