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More about Adavus

Let us explore on Adavus a little more. The word “Adavu” means basic step. Adavus forms the ABC’s of pure dancing(Nritta) in bharatanatyam. Just like a combination of alphabets give words and thereafter sentences, adavus are combined to form a dance sequence in Bharatanatyam.

An Adavu is the combination of:

  • Position of the legs (Sthanakam)
  • Posture of our standing (Mandalam)
  • Walking movement (Chari)
  • Hand gestures (nritta hastas)

All the four done in synchronization with Rhythm or Tala is ADAVU. Every Adavu will have certain number of steps and would have a BOL or Sollukattu or syllable like “Tai Ya- Tai Hi”.

Following are the Ten important Adavus that a new student is asked to practice thoroughly:

  1. Tatta Adavu
  2. Natta Adavu
  3. Visharu Adavu (Mardita Adavu or Paraval Adavu)
  4. TattimittiAdavu
  5. Tirumanam Adavu
  6. Murka Adavu
  7. Jati Adavu
  8. Kuditamitta Adavu
  9. Mandi Adavu
  10. Sarikal Adavu

Some parents and students have often asked me why should we learn these steps and not the dance directly?
A child when starts schooling , learns the alphabets first. Imagine if they were taught words directly!!!
Learning just the adavus and practicing them for a while helps the students to :
1. to develop flexibility and overcome the initial muscle cramps and sore feet at the beginning stages.
2. attain right posture
3. develop stamina
4. become aware to the sense of Talam (Rhythm) and kalam (speed)
5. become Swift and agile and attain control over the body.

Generally During the first year of Bharatanatyam coaching, a student is trained only in Adavus, and Nritta Hasta or Hand Gestures. Gaining perfection over Adavus is the most important.

I shall describe about TATTA Adavu in my next post.


  1. Nishita

    Hi Anjali, would u please tell us something more about Natta Adavus and further Adavus? How to do steps in detail?

  2. Anjali

    Hi Nishita, Thanks for visiting. Yes I shall describe the Natta adavus within my next few postings .Stay tuned……

  3. Rashmi

    I really liked how you described the thattu adavu concept. My daughter is currently taking BN lessons. She’s struggling with the 2nd visharu adavu. Could you please email/post the proper technique for doing that adavu. I’d like to help her practice at home.

  4. Anjali

    Rashmi, Thanks for your kind words. I shall mail your directly to understand and help your child better.

  5. Savita

    Hi Anjali,

    First, let me tell you that your site is amazing. I am 30 years old and have started dancing again after a 20 year hiatus! I love your sincerity, your positive energy, and your smile.

    Are you going to post the other adavus soon?

    I am learning the Kalekshetra method. What is the difference between yours and this method?


  6. Anjali

    Hi Savita, Thanks a bunch for your kind words. Its good to know you have taken up dancing again. Yes i will post the other adavus soon. I practice the Pandanallur style. Kalskshetra and Pandanallur are more or less the same. Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai was the propagator of this style. Rukmini devi who started the Kalakshetra was the disciple of
    Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai. So I guess there should be lot of similarities between these styles.

  7. Anu

    Hi Anjali,
    My 6 yrs old daughter has been learning BN for a while. I’ve been struggling to make sure that she is practicing the right way. I stumbled upon your blog few days ago. It was very helpful for me. After going through the articles i could understand what is going on in her class and correct her while practicing. Thanks a ton! I’ve been referring your site to all other parents in her class.

    Is it possible for you to post the audio of sollukattu for basic adavus? I find it very difficult to give sollukattu to my daughter in the right taalam and speed. She will be taking year 1 exam from Singapore Indian Fine Arts Academy. She is learning thattadavu, nattadavu, paraval adavu, kudhitthumettadavu and thath thei thaam adavu. i was searching for audio for kalakshetra style in all 3 speeds, which i could play to make my daughter practice. so far could not find any thing suitable.

    Also what is thath thei tham adavu? do you have an article on that?


  8. Anjali

    Hi Anu, thanks for lot. I appreciate your concern for your daughter. Not all parents show such a seriousness towards extra curricular activities. May your daughter have a great future. I shall try if i can do something with the sollukattu…..not sure. Why dont you approach her guru and request her to record it for you. Nowadays recording is so easy can be done with a laptop and a mike or even a mobile. In this way she gets to practice with the sollukattu that she is familiar with.
    “tat tai tam, dhi tai tam” is the Bols for Murka Adavu. Some call it Sutral Adavu aswell.
    Sending you a link in youtube …might help you.

  9. Anu

    Hi Anjali,

    That was fast reply. I’m really speechless. Thanks for the formal name for sutral adavu. I have the full vcd of the youtube video sou sent me. I was still going through marditha adavu, never saw the CD completely. Thanks again. I was able to follow your steps easily as they came with lot of explainations. Now i’m able to follow the CD better.

    I’ve been trying to record the audio during the class, but the voice quality is not so good, gets disturbed many times. I guess i’ll have to take permission and use my digital camera to record it. I’m planning to request the guru to spend some time on the recording and distribute it to other parents as well.

    I bought Natya Dwani, the sollakattu is a tiny bit faster than her guru. But she is OK with your videos. So i thought of asking you. Please keep up the good work and upload more videos and articles soon. I’m sure many parents and kids would be benefited.

    I was on the verge of giving up on understanding the steps, luckily i hit upon your blog. Will be writing to you again, As and when i get into trouble :).

    Thanks so much for taking out time to answer and that too within few min.


  10. Veena

    Hi Anjali,
    Awesome work!! it would be great help if you could also include the sollu kattu for each of these sets of adavus. I have learnt these adavus but am not familiar with some of the names. With the sollu, it will make it much easier for me to tell which one is which. 🙂

    Thanks a million in advance….

  11. Shweta

    Hi Anjali,

    Thank you for doing such a wonderful job. I am very passionate about classical dances especially Bharatanatyam. But I never got to learn this wonderful art due to lack of resources in our village. I used to dance for some classical songs and folk songs during school day performances. So never got to learn from the basics. I am very glad I found this website of yours.

    Thank you soooooo mcuh…


  12. Anjali

    Hello Shweta, thanks for the encouragement. I am glad you are now able to learn from this site. Nice to know about your dancing abilities too. Continue and keep performing and exploring. Good luck.

  13. Varuna

    You are blessed with the flair of dancing so beautifully that it feels like a poem. Balance, holding the pose and the steps are graceful and have good instructions too.
    Can you please elucidate/show/upload videos on tat tai tam adavu, mandi adavu, paaichal and kuditu mettu adavus? I didn’t find much about them and would sincerely like to learn them.

  14. shruti

    I really like your site, as I’ve learnt bharatanatyam for 8 yrs and find it very helpful while brushing through basics etc.

    I just wanted a little help on the details of utplava adavu. I learnt that there is this adavu about jumps but have no further information on it. could you please help me with that? also could you post some details about mandi adavu?

  15. Aarthi subramaniam

    very gud inputs thank you. do you have any inputs on natya shasthra? if you can share it ti will be helpful.

    thank you


  16. tarana

    Hi Anjali, Very impressed with your site. Keep up the good work!
    My twin girls (7 yr olds) have been learning BN for a year now. We live in US & I know nothing about BN. Your site is a great resource to teach them the Adavus, Adavu names & the Bol. I especially appreciate the Explanations & the Videos. Since I discovered your site, the girls have been elated as they are able to better keep up with their teacher.

    How soon will you be posting Mandi Adavu?

  17. kirijambal

    hi Anjali
    Would you please let me know where I could obtain the lyrics for saraswathy jathiswaram in rupakam talam, and also
    whether I could see it in video ( acutal dance performance )

    Thank you

  18. Krithiga

    Hi Anjali, I have visited your online website and it is of great use. I just wanted to have a clarification. My daughter has learnt bharatanatyam in Kalakshetra style for nearly two years and she has learnt up to mandi adavu. Due to shifting of place she was not able to attend classes for three months. She remembers all the steps and the solla kattu also only thing she needs is a warm up of all that I feel. But the new teacher with the same style is saying again for two years she is going to teach only adavus. Is that really needed. The previous teacher was very happy with my childs performance and she was taking her in a senior batch with students who were completing the adavu lessons. Please guide me,

  19. Anjali

    @Karthiga, let go with the style, it is least important. If your daughter has a good Anga shuddhi, then you must look for another teacher.

  20. Krithiga

    Thank you very much Anjali for your suggetion. I was also having the same thought but little confused about executing that. Your guidance is really making me feel better. Thank you once again.

  21. Tejasri


    I really appreciate the work which ur doing, its really helpful, I have been learning dance since past 2 years, and right now i’m learning jathiswaram, it will be really nice if post iteam online so that we can watch and learn. Thanks a lot, this site is helping us a lot.

  22. kamya

    hay anjali,.. anjali i am learning bharathnatyam dance nd i am having problem in doing tattimitti nd tirumanam adavus…….so will u plzz explain some steps of it…!

  23. Mahendran

    The way the contents of bharatanatyam explained in this site is simple, communicative and useful for the practitioners. Unfortunately the video in this site does not load in China & Youtube doesn’t work here. Could you suggest some other sites where I can find the videos.
    In the tatta adavu animation there is no movement of spine noticed but when i practice the whole body moves left & right. Is it correct way of practicing tattaadavu? Please clarify.


  24. Nrityangona Hazorika

    A Big thanks to you for help us about the Bharatanatyam , I am a student of 2nd year, but Tai Tai Dhatta Adavu and Tariketa means , please help me , I want to know about that.

  25. Anjali

    @Nrityangona, Tai Tai tat tat is the Tatta Adavu solluketta that I use. Tarikita is Teermanam adavu. They dont mean anything, but they are musical sounds or phrases that have been substituted instead of numbers.

  26. Swati

    Miss Anjali,
    I’m 11 years old and am learning bharata natyam.
    We had to make a project in class, on all you have to do to reach the arangetram stage.
    As we had to describe the adavus, your site has helped me tremendously in doing so.
    Thanks a ton,
    Best wishes,

  27. mythravarune

    hi mam,
    thank you so much mam, this is very much useful for me to correct my method of dancing. u are a perfect teacher. i have just taught with the steps and nt with their names. your website is so much useful for me. am glared mam.. dance is ma passion mam.. and nw u are framing it. am very much exited about it mam. thanku thanku so much

  28. francisca

    hi Anjali, i had read in one of the comment , u said hv a CD of all the Adavus. How can I buy the cd and how much is it?

    Pls reply me ASAP

  29. Rifa

    hi! could you put up pictures of stick figures representing them it would be easier for me to learn because in our class we have to draw them.

  30. shalabh

    hi anjali saw ur classes highly impressed my elder daughter is also learning bharatanatyam hope u wil guide her whenever required take care bye

  31. Shree Sangli

    Hi Anjali,

    Your site is amazing. I am very passionate about dancing especially bharatanatyam. But unfortunately , I was unable to learn it properly. This site is helping me a lot to learn my favorite dance and I am very thankful to you. Do keep it going.

  32. maria

    I asked for shimir adavu could u post something about that please as I need it desperately need it for my grade two!! I love the website though I think it is really cool has helped me a lot before…

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