Abhinaya in Dance
Abhinaya is the main technique used in Natya. “Abhi” means “towards” and “ni or Naya” is the root meaning to “carry”. Thus as the meaning implies the dancer through the vehicle of Abhinaya has to reach out to the spectators. It is an inseparable component of Natya.
Lets see how Natya is related to Abhinaya. Natya has got six elements namely:
2. Geeta (Song
3. Abhinaya (Gestures)
4. Tala (Rhythm)
5. Bhava (Emotions)
6. Rasa (sentiment)
Natyshastra says that Abhinaya is the art of “exhibiting the meaning of what one depicts”. The dancer has an enormous resource bank to communicate a story, an idea, an emotion. She uses her body, her limbs, hands, face, eyes to express her ideas. The dancer has to draw the audience into her world. The shores reached by both the viewer and the dancer are described as the experience of ‘Rasa’, which is compared to spiritual experience.The main purpose of dance is to evoke Rasa, which means sentiment or flavor among the audience. Abhinaya Darpanam of Nandikeshwara says:
Photo courtesy : parimalphadke.com
Where the Hands go, the Eyes should follow
Where the Eyes go, the Mind should follow
Where the Mind goes, the Emotions are generated
Where the Emotions are generated, Sentiment arises.
A good dancer needs to evoke the sentiment of the audience by following the essence of this verse. I feel it not only applies to Dance, but also to every actions of our daily life. It means that if our heart is present where our head and hands are working the outcome would be outstanding. Just give it a thought.
- Angikabhinaya (Bodily gestures),
- Vachikabhinaya (verbal like song),
- Aaharyabhinaya (ornamental description)
- Sattvikaabhinaya (depiction of mental state of mind )
In the next post we shall see in detail what the above four types of Abhinaya mean.