Author Archives: Sharmini

About Sharmini

I am a dancer in my feet, my eyes, my mind, my fingers and my very soul... My wish is to share my love for Bharathanatyam with the world. I want to share the feeling of joy dance gives me, the feeling of being connected to something that is so much bigger than me. I feel humbled to be allowed the gift of dance. My dance experience is not mine... it is a blessing from God that I will cherish forever. My dance school and my blog are my ways of sharing this blessing and of giving thanks for this beautiful gift. I am eager to speak to other dancers and share knowledge and experiences. I have much to learn and would love to network with other people who are also passionate about dance.

An archive of bharathanatyam videos

Follow the link for a truly amazing selection of bharathanatyam videos… Enjoy!


Some random thoughts on what music means to me while dancing


The chime of bells, I feel in my smile,

The dham of the mridangam is my heartbeat,

The staccato of the natuvangam, my calling into bliss,


The flute breathes stillness into my mind,

The violin flows into me, bringing lasya to my limbs,

The ragam creates emotion resonating through to my fingertips,


All sounds work as one… gathering my wandering self and focusing my energies onto one all-encompassing point…



A very informative post…

Bharathanatyam and the worldwide web

Mallika writes…

Identification of varnam

Varnam is a song in the Carnatic music repertoire. A varnam is a relatively long piece and can range from 30 minutes to up to nearly an hour or 40-50 min. It is usually set to Aadi or Ata tala. It is the center piece in a recital of dance. The lyrics are simple and consist mostly of long syllables and swara phrases of various lengths which bring out the essential features of the raga.
It has two types: Taana varnam and Pada varnam.
Varnams are considered vocal exercises in a particular raga. The patterns in a varnam are considered to be characteristic patterns of a particular raga or scale. Varnams are considered the most complex of the vocal exercises in Carnatic Music. They are designed to help develop voice culture and proper control of rhythm. Indeed, varnams are often practiced in double and triple…

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Saraswathi Sloka



Saraswati Namastubhyam
Varde Kaamarupini
Vidyarambham Karishyami
Siddhir Bhavatu Me Sadaa


My humble prostrations unto Thee, O Goddess Saraswati,

You are the fulfiller of all my wishes,

I start my studies, with the request that I achieve perfection in them.

image from


The Bharatanatyam recital is structured like a Great Temple:

we enter through the gopuram (outer hall) of alarippu, cross the ardhamandapam (half-way hall) of jatiswaram, then the mandapam (great hall) of sabdam and enter the holy precinct of the deity in the varnam. This is the space which gives the dancer expansive scope to revel in the music, rhythm and moods of the dance. The varnam is the continuum which gives ever expanding room to the dancer to delight in her self-fulfillment, by providing the fullest scope to her own creativity as well as to the tradition of the art.

Padams now follow. In dancing to padams, one experiences the containment, cool and quiet of entering the sanctum from its external precinct. The expanse and brilliance of the outer corridors disappear in the dark inner sanctum; and the rhythmic virtuosities of the varnam yield to the soul-stirring music and abhinaya of the padam. Dancing to the padam is akin to the juncture when the cascading lights of worship are withdrawn and the drum beats die down to the simple and solemn chanting of sacred verses in the closeness of god.

Then, the tillana breaks into movement like the final burning of camphor accompanied by a measure of din and bustle. In conclusion, the devotee takes to his heart the god he has so far glorified outside; and the dancer completes the traditional order by dancing to a simple devotional verse” 

A Margam beautifully described by the legendary T. Balasaraswati