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:-










Sorkattu speed 1









Footwork guide

R (Tap)



R(Bring it forward and tap in Parshvagam)

L (Tap)



L(Bring it forward and tap in Parshvagam

speed 2

Ta Tai

Tai Ta

Di Tai

Tai Ta


speed 3

Ta Tai Tai Ta

Di Tai

Tai Ta


Flow of Movements:

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


  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)



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