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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. Julie

    This is truely an amazing website. Your language of description is so clear and your use of animation and video makes this the most comprehensive site I have come across!

  2. Drishti Panchal

    Respected mam,
    thank you so much for your guidance…..
    please keep on postiing , so that my basics can be solid perfect…..please post every details you now as i am majorly watching it and learning, THANK YOU SO MUCH…

  3. Vidya

    Hi angali, I am a dance student and I must check the meaning of these items please tell me what is the meaning of nirutham, niruthiyam and korvai ?

  4. kiran

    Hi, Anjali ma’am I m very lucky that I saw your videos and knew about you.You are really amazing. Thanks for your videos.

  5. Devisri Sundarrajan

    Hi Anjali,I am also a classical dancer. Kudos to your great work! Very neat explanation of adavus and the basic concepts. Keep doing this wonderful job!

  6. shefali sonecha

    Hi, when should we learn the sutral adavu? It’s not mentioned above in the basics of bharatnatyam. Which level is it considered?

  7. Recreater Little Cutie

    Mam this was very helpful..
    But can you tell that which adavus are of 1st year, and which are of second year???
    Pls.. mam

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