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Q.1 In context with the Bharatnatyam, which among the following  statements are correct ?

1) This form of dance has no words but is composed of pure dance sequences characterized by variety of  moods

2) Bharatnatyam leans heavily on the abhinaya followed by movement & mime

3) Jatiswaram , Shabdam, Varnam & Tillana are the forms of Bharatnatyam


A) 1 & 3

B) 2 & 3

C) 1 & 2

D) 1,2,3

Ans. D

Bharatnatyam originates in Tamil Nadu which is also referred to as artistic yoga and Natya yoga. The name Bharatnatyam is derived from the word “Bharata” and thus associated with the Natyashastra. Though the style of Bharatnatyam is over two thousand years old, the freshness and richness of its essence has been retained even today. The technique of human movement which Bharatnatyam follows can be traced back to the fifth Century A.D. from sculptural evidence. This classical dance has a mesmerizing effect as it uplifts the dancer and the beholder to a higher level of spiritual consciousness. It is a dancing style that comprises of Bhava, Raga, Tala, and Natya which reflect the real meaning of the Bharatnatyam.

Bharatanatyam is arguably the oldest and most traditional classical dance style which seemas a synthesis of philosophy, sculpture, music and literature. This dance got its name from Sage Bharata who wrote the Natya Shastra.

Bharatanatyam is an energetic dance from wherein the postures and balanced position, i.e. the weight of the body is placed squarely down the centre of the body. There is emphasis on the striking of the floor with the feet. There are jumps in the air as also pirouettes called bhramaris. There are movements done with the knees contacting the floor. These are called mandi adavus.

Bharatanatyam can be performed solo or in a group. The pure dance is called nritta and the expressive is nritya. The solo dancer uses various methods of story-telling to interpret the verses and stories she performs. The person who conducts the recital is called the natatuvanar,, who is generally the guru of the dancer. He or the plays the cymbals called nattuvangam. The other musicians are the vocalist, the mridangist or percussion player, of flutist, a violinist and a veena player.

One of the greatest performers of Bharatanatyam has been Balasaraswati who was influential in popularising the dance as much as Rukmini Devi Arundale. Balasaraswati was famous for her soulful renderings of abhinaya or mimetic piece, in which she not only danced but sang as well.

The Steps & Performance

Bharatanatyam is always performed with the knees of the dancers bent. The dance form emphasizes on the hand movements to convey different kinds of emotions to the spectator. While performing Bharatanatyam, the artist visualizes his/her body as made up of triangles. The steps of the dance are based upon a balanced distribution of body weight and firm positions of the lower limbs, allowing the hands to cut into a line, to flow around the body, or to take positions that enhance the basic form. In order to perform Bharatnatyam, the artist should have the knowledge of the numerous subtle features of the dance style.



Four Techniques:


Described in Natya Shastra, Karanas are defined as the 108 key transitional movements of Bharatanatyam that also feature in other classical da nce forms of India. Karana is a Sanskrit word, meaning ‘doing’. Classical dancer Padma Subramanyam is well known for her interpretation of Karanas, which predominantly includes the leg, hip, body and arm movements complemented by hasta mudras, as described in the Natya Shastra.


The use of expressive hand gestures is a highlighting feature of Bharatanatyam. As the name suggests, hastas are the wide variety of hand symbols used by the performer. Some of the most well known hand gestures of the dance form include Anjali, which is used as a symbol of salutation, when a person greets his/her fellow dancer. Hastas are broadly divided into two types – Asamyukta and Samyukta.


Adavus is defined as a series of steps in Bharatanatyam. The execution of the steps is different from style to style. The 108 principals of adavus are recognized by most schools of Bharatanatyam. As many as 60 adavus are used by many professional dancers. Jathis is the combination of adavus and forms the Nritta passages in a Bharatanatyam performance.

Bhedas , Eye  & Neck Movements

Bharatanatyam is considered incomplete without bhedas and the expressive eye movements of the performer. Neck and eye movements are used extensively in the dance form. The shiro bheda (head movements) comprises of Sama, Udhvahita, Adhomukha, Alolita,Dhutam, Kampitam, Paravruttam, Utkshiptam and Parivahitam.


Theme of Bharatnatyam

Bharatnatyam is a solo, feminine type of a dance, which is tender and erotic. The basic theme is love, where the female dancers usually perform as a devotion to the Supreme Being; or love of a mother for child. It epitomizes the adoration of lovers separated and reunited. This dance is considered to be a fire dance, where there is a mysterious display of the abstract element of fire in the human body.

Technique of Bharatnatyam

Among the various styles of Bharatnatyam the Pandanallur and the Vazhuvoor are more significant. Pandanallur style is characterized by its deep sitting positions; its slow Lasya padams, and difficult standing positions. Vazhuvoor is characterized by a static posture to break the monotony with rhythmical variety.


The technique of Bharatnatyam consists of Natya, Nritta and Nritya. Natya is the dramatic art which is the language of gestures, poses and mimes. Nritta includes the rhythmic and repetitive elements. The Nritya is a combination of Nritta and Natya. Abhinaya also is another technique. It is subtle with more spontaneous expressions.


The theme of Bharatnatyam comes alive through the zealous performances of the dancers. It is the combination of technique, styles and Abhinaya. It starts with an invocation to Lord Gnana Sabesar of Vazhuvoor. The themes are personalized depending on the dancer. The dancers need to posses ten essential attributes which include Agility, Steadiness, graceful lines, balance in pirouettes, glance, hard work, intelligence, devotion, good speech, and singing ability.


Dressing style

The commonly used style in bharatanatyam are the skirt (saree) style or the pyjama style. Dancers were costumes made of silk sarees with gold zari embroidery designs. The pleats in this costumes opens beautifully. When the dancer forms a particular posture especially ariamandi(half sitting) and muzhu mandi(full sitting).


Role of Music in Bharatnatyam

Music plays an important role in Bharatnatyam. The musical accompaniment of the Carnatic School predominates over the raga in the Nritta passages. The chief musical instruments used in Bharatnatyam are the Mridangam and a pair of Cymbals. The cymbals provide the timing and the Mridangam provides fractional measures of the broad beats. The dancer follows both. A tambura is also used to provide the scale for the refrain. The musical instruments used are Mridangam, Manjira, Vina, Violin, Kanjira, Surpeti, Venu and Tanpura. The costume consists of a richly embroidered dhoti of silk for both male and female dancers. There is a pleated or frilled cloth hanging from the waist to the knees which is laced over the Dhoti.


Bharatnatyam as a classical dance went through a lot of changes and still retaining its ancient quintessence. The most exciting aspect of Bharatnatyam is that it is religious and possess rich mythological heritage of India. The technique, costume, style and theme of the dance distinguish it from forms of Indian classical dance. Bharatnaty am is known for its grace, purity, tenderness and sculpturesque poses .


Q.2 Which among the following statements related to Kathakali are correct ?

1) Square and rectangular basic positions  are commonly seen in Kathakali

2) Weight of the body is on the outer edges of the feet which are slightly bent and curved

3) It is characterized by facial expressions , movement of eye balls & lower eye lids


A) 1 & 3

B) 2 & 3

C) 1 & 2

D) 1,2,3

Ans. D


Kathakali is the most well known dance drama from the south Indian state of Kerala.  The word Kathakali literally means “Story-Play”.  It is known for its large, elaborate makeup and costumes.  The elaborate costumes of Kathakali have become the most recognised icon for Kerala.

The themes of the Kathakali are religious in nature.  They typically deal with the Mahabarat, the Ramayana and the ancient scriptures known as thePuranas.  This is performed in a text which is generally Sanskritised Malayalam.

A Kathakali performance is a major social event.  They generally start at dusk and go through out the night.  Kathakali is usually performed only by men.  Female characters are portrayed by men dressed in women’s costume.  However, in recent years, women have started to become Kathakalidancers.

Kathakali has a long tradition.  It dates back to the 17th century.  It was given its present form by Mahakavi Vallathol Narayan Menon, who was the founder of the Kerala Kala Mandalam.

The actors rely very heavily on hand gesture to convey the story.  These hand gestures, known as mudra, are common through out much of classical Indian dance.


The costume is the most distinctive characteristic of Kathakali.  The makeup is very elaborate and the costumes are very large and heavy.

There are several kinds of costume.  There are: Sathwika (the hero), Kathi (the villain), Minukku (females), and Thatti.  These basic divisions are further subdivided in a way which is very well known to Malayali (Keralite) audiences.  Each character is instantly recognisable by their characteristic makeup and costume.

The makeup is very elaborate.  It is so elaborate that it is more like a mask than makeup in the usual sense.  The materials that comprise the makeup is all locally available.  The white is made from rice flour, the red is made from Vermilion (a red earth such as cinnabar).  The black is made from soot.  The colours are not merely decoration, but are also a means of portraying characters.  For instance, red on the feet is used to symbolise evil character and evil intent.



The music of Kathakali has some similarity to the larger body of South Indian classical music (Carnatic sangeet); however the instrumentation is decidedly different.  Its local colour is strongly achieved by the use of instruments such as chenda, idakka, and shuddha madalam.


Q.3 With reference to the history of ancient India, which among the following were common to both Buddhism & Jainism ?

1) Avoidance of extremities of penance & enjoyment

2) Indifference to the authority of the Vedas

3) Denial of efficacy of rituals


A) 1 & 2

B) 2 & 3

C) 1 & 3

D) 1,2,3

Ans. B


Q.4 Buddha Vihars were used for :

1) Education

2) Residence of Buddha Bhikshus

3) Residence of worshippers of Buddha

4) Religious expansion


A) 1,3,4

B) 2,3,4

C) 1,2,4

D) 1,2,3,4

Ans. C


Q.5 In context with the Kathak dance which among the following statements are correct ?

1) Weight of the body is equally distributed along the horizontal and vertical axis

2) The full foot contact is of prime importance where only the toe or the ball of the foot are used

3) Use of sharp bends or curves of the upper or lower part of the body are restricted

4) It is characterized by the torso movements that emerge from the change of the shoulder line

5) In this form of dance dancer stands straight, holds one hand at a level higher than the head and the other is extended out on the level of the shoulder


A) 1,3,4,5

B) 2,3,4,5

C) 1,2,3,4

D) All are correct

Ans. D

Kathak is the major classical dance form of northern India.  The word kathak means “to tell a story”.  It is derived from the dance dramas of ancient India.  When the patronage shifted from the temples to the royal court, there was a change in the overall emphasis.  The emphasis shifted from the telling of religious stories to one of entertainment.  Today, the story-telling aspect has been downgraded and the dance is primarily an abstract exploration of rhythm and movement.

Kathak was primarily associated with an institution known as the tawaif.  This is a much misunderstood institution of female entertainers, very much like the geisha tradition of Japan.  It was a profession which demanded the highest standards of training, intelligence, and most important, civility.  It is said that it was common for royalty to send their children to the tawaifs for instruction in etiquette.  Unfortunately, when the British consolidated their hold over India during the Victorian era, this great institution was branded as mere prostitution and was outlawed.  This set the artform of kathak into a downward spiral that was not reversed until Independence when there was a reawakening in interest in traditional Indian artforms.

There are three main gharanas, or schools of kathak.  These schools are named according to the geographical area in which they developed.  These are the Jaipur, Lucknow, and the Benares gharanas.  Each has a slight difference in interpretation and repertoire.


Q.6 With reference to Hindustani classic music which among the following statements are correct ?

1) Anibaddha sangeeta is one which is restricted by meaningful words and tala

2) prabandha is often used as a generic term to indicate musical composition


A) Only 1

B) Only 2

C) Both are correct

D) Both are incorrect

Ans. B


Q.7 With reference to Dhrupad which among the following statements are correct ?

1) Structurally dhrupad has two parts, the anibaddha section and the sanchari dhrupad proper

2) The essential quality of the dhrupadic approach is its sombre atmosphere and emphasis on rhythm

3) Dagarvani, Khandar vani  & Nauhar vani are the schools of singing the dhrupad

Codes :

A) 1 & 3

B) 2 & 3

C) 1 & 2

D) 1,2,3

Ans. D

Dhrupad is the oldest surviving form of Indian Classical music and traces its origin to the chanting of vedic hymns and mantras. Though a highly developed classical art with a complex and elaborate grammar and aesthetics, it is also primarily a form of worship, in which offerings are made to the divine through sound or nada. Dhrupad can be seen at different levels as a meditation, a mantric recitation, a worship , a yoga or tantra based on the knowledge of the nadis and chakras and also purely as a performing art portraying a universe of human emotions.

It is mainly a vocal tradition based on the practice of nada yoga, but is also performed on instruments like the Rudra Veena and the Sursringar. For the past five centuries Dhrupad has mainly thrived under the patronage of Mughal and Rajput kings. The picture on the left shows Dhrupad singersZakiruddin Khan, Allabande Khan, Ziauddin Khan and NasiruddinKhan  (clockwise from top left) the foremost Dhrupad singers in the beginning of the twentieth century. The descendants of Zakiruddin Khan and Allabande Khan adopted the name of the genre (The ?agar Bani of Dhrupad) as their family name and acquired renown as the Dagar brothers. 

They kept this art alive in the difficult period after 1947 when it lost the patronage of the royal courts. Zakiruddin and Allabande Khan were brothers and disciples of their granduncle Baba Behram Khan , and served respectively in the royal courts of Udaipur and Alwar. They were the foremost Dhrupad singers of their times (late nineteenth and early twentieth century) and were greatly respected for their singing and erudition. Their performances are still remembered with awe and reverence.

Although Dhrupad originated in the chanting of vedic hymns and mantras, it gradually evolved into an independent art form with its own complex grammar. Dhrupad was originally sung in temples and later thrived under the patronage of Mughal and Rajput kings. Fundamental to Dhrupad singing is the practice of Nada Yoga, in which, through various yogic practices, the singer develops the inner resonance of the body, and can make the sound resonate and flow freely through the entire region from navel to head. This enables the singer to produce a vast palette of subtle tone colours and microtonal shades. The processes of Udatta, Anudatta and Svarita play the same fundamental role in Dhrupad singing as in Vedic recitation. (For more detailed articles about Dhrupad please seeArticles) . A Dhrupad performance starts with the alap which is a slow and elaborate development of a Raga (mode) using free flowing melodic patterns. The elaboration of Dhrupad alap is done using the syllables of a mantric phrase ‘om antaran twam, taran taaran twam, ananta hari narayan om’ . The phrases of Dhrupad alapa are very slow and contemplative in the beginning, but the tempo increases in stages, and in the faster passages playful and vigorous ornaments predominate. The audio and video samples on this site andMyspace give examples of different facets of Dhrupad. Dhrupad Alap is followed by the singing of a composition with rhythmic improvisation, to the accompaniment of a barrel drum called the pakhawaj (ancestor of the tabla). The Talas or cycles of beats commonly used are Choutala (12 beats), Dhamara (14 beats), Jhaptala (10beats), Sultala (10beats),Tivra (7 beats). In the videos on this page can be heard examples of Chowtal and Dhamar. Dhrupad portrays a vast range of human emotions: serenity, compassion, sensuality, pathos, strangeness, anger and heroism and subtle shades of them all. In Dhrupad of the Dagar tradition the notes are not treated as fixed points, but as fluid entities with infinite microtonal shades.The music is deeply spiritual and meditative. The Dagar style of Dhrupad is defined by 52 musical concepts or Arkaans (12 basic alankaras and 40 more). These include concepts like Udatta, Anudatta, Svarita, Sapta Gupta, Sapta Prakata, Sakarietc. which have all but disappeared from Indian classical music and even from Dhrupad . In the various audio/video files on this site can be heard all these concepts as they are used in practice in Dhrupad performance.

Ashish Sankrityayan is an exponent of the Dagar Tradition of Dhrupad. He has trained for twenty years under three maestros of the Dagar family and is well known for his frequent concert appearances and teaching.Ashish Started his musical training at an early age, first learning the sitar and subsequently vocal music. While studying mathematics at the University of Bombay he was inspired to take up Dhrupad when he heard a recording of the senior Dagar brothers Nasir Moinuddin and Nasir Aminuddin Dagar, and met Rudra Veena maestro Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar. He later trained under several maestros of the Dagar family Ustad Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar, Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar and Ustad Hussain Sayeedudddin Dagar for twenty years and was awarded the National Junior Culture Fellowship by the Indian National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama ( the Sangeet Natak Akademi). Ashish has given numerous public performances of Dhrupad and has given lectures and workshops in institutions like the Anton Bruckner University in Linz, The Free University of Berlin, Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin, Hildesheim University, University of Copenhagen. He often perfoms with European medieval, renaissance and contemporary musicians


Q.8 Which among the following statements regarding Tillana are correct ?

1) It is mainly a dance form which is a short and crisp

2) It is characterised by brisk and attractive music

3) It is constituted of the rhythmic syllable in which music is of slow tempo


A) 1 & 2

B) 2 & 3

C) 1 & 2

D) 1,2,3

Ans. D

The Tillana, corresponding to the Tarana of Hindustani music, is a short and crisp form. It is mainly a dance form, but on account of its brisk and attractive music, it sometimes finds a place in music concerts as a conclusion piece. It usually begins with jatis.


The name Tillana is constituted of the rhythmic syllables, ti la na. It is the liveliest of musical forms. This form is said to have had its birth in the 18th century. The sahitya of a tillana may be in Sanskrit, Telugu or Tamil. The presence of rhythmical solfa syllables alongwith a sprinkling of sahitya enhance the beauty of the form of the Tillana. The music is of comparatively slow tempo in Tillanas meant for dance purposes. The pallavi and anupallavi consists of jatis and the charana has sahitya, jatis and svaras. Ramnad Srinivasa Iyengar, Pallavi Seshayyar and Swati Tirunal are some of the prominent composers of Tillanas.


Q.9 Which among the following regional music are correctly matched ?

1) Pandavani   :  Chhatisgarh

2) Barhamasa : Kumaon

3) Chhakri    :  Kashmir

4) Powada  :  Maharashtra


A) 1,3,4

B) 2,3,4

C) 1,2,3

D) 1,2,3,4

Ans. D

*In Pandavani, tales from Mahabharata are sung as a ballad and one or two episodes are chosen for the night’s performance. The main singer continuously sits throughout the performance and with powerful singing and symbolic gestures he assumes all the characters of the episode one after another.

* Barhamasa : This regional music from Kumaon is describing the twelve months of an year, each with its specific qualities. In one of the songs the Ghughuti bird symbolizes the onset of chait month. A girl in her in laws place asks this bird not to speak because she is disturbed with the memories of her mother (Ija) and she is feeling sad.

*  Chhakri is a group song which is the most popular form of Kashmir’s folk music.It is sung to the accompaniment of the noot (earthen pot) rababs, sarangi and tumbaknari (an earthen pot with high neck)

* Powada is the traditional folk art from Maharashtra. The word Powada itself means “the narration of a story in glorious terms”. The narratives are always odes in praise of an individual hero or an incident or place. The chief narrator is known as the Shahir who plays the duff to keep the rhythm.The tempo is fast and controlled by the main singer who is supported by others in chorus.The earliest notable Powada was the Afzal Khanacha Vadh (The Killing of Afzal Khan) (1659) by Agnidas which recorded Shivaji’s encounter with Afzal Khan.


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