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Indian Classical Dances
Feet in Dance
Hasta Mudra
Hand Gestures
The Navarasas
Gesture & Posture
Feet in Dance
Qualities & Performances


Feet in different positions and with different movements will be described in accordance with old tradition. This (positions and movements) gives rise to mandala (posture), utplavana (flying movement or jumping). Bhramari (spiral movement) and padachari or Chari (gait).

1. Mandala: (Postures). There are ten postures.
- Sthanka (simple standing),
- Ayata,
- Alidha,
- Pratyalidha,
- Prekshana,
- Prerita,
- Swastika,
- Motita,
- Samshuchi,
- Parswashuchi.

Feet Posture- Sthanaka:
Standing with samapada feet in the same line and touching the hip with ardha-chandra hands.

- Ayata:
Standing with two and half cubit apart from each other in a Chaturasra posture and at the same time bending knees and placing one of them upon the other.

- Alidha:
Place the left foot before the right one at a distance of one cubit and half, make the shikhara with the left on and kataka-mukha with the right.

- Pratyalidha:
When hands and feet are interchanged in the Alidha posture.

- Prekshana:
Putting one foot by the side of another heel and having Kurma hands.

- Prerita:
Putting one foot violently (on the earth) at a distance of one cubit and half from one another and standing with knees bent and one of put across another and them holding shikhara hand on the breast and showing pataka hand stretched out.

- Swastika:
The right foot is put across the left one and the right hand across the left.

- Motita:
Stand on the ground with the fore part (toes) of the feet and touch the earth with each knees alternately and make tripatak with both hands.

- Samashuchi:
A posture in which the earth is touched with toes and knees.

- Parswashuchi:
A posture in which the ground is touched with toes and one knee on one side.



Feet Posture - Varieties of simple postures
Simple postures are of six kinds according to the placing of the feet. They are:

(1) Samapada, (2) Ekapada, (3) Nagabandha, (4) Andra, (5) Garuda, (6) Bramha.

Standing with two feet alike. Usage offering flowers (to God) and playing in the role of gods.

Standing with one foot and laying the other across the knee of that foot. Usage-motionlessness and the practice of penance (tapasya).

Standing like a serpent intertwining two feet and two hands together. It is used for showing nagabandha.

Standing with one leg bent and the other leg and knee raised and hands hanging naturally. It is used to denote Indra, king.

In the alidha posture one knee is put on the ground and the two hands jointly show the gesture. It is used to denote Garuda.

Sitting with one foot on one knee and another foot on the other one. It is used to denote Japa and similar matters.

Jump Movement - Different kinds of Jumps (Utplavana)
There are five kinds of jumps, viz, Alaga, Kartari, Ashwa, Motita and Kripalaga.

Alaga: Jumping with both feet and placing shikhara hand on the hip at the same time.

Kartari: Jumping on toes with kartari hands held behind the left foot at the same time.

Ashwa: First jump on then place them together and make tripataka with both the hands.

Morita: Jumping on both sides alternately like a Kartari.

Kripalaga: Place the heel of both feet alternately on the hip and keep ardhachandra hands between the two.

Spiral Movement - Various Spiral Movements (Bhramari)
There are seven such movements: Utpluta, Chakra, Garuda, Ekapada, Kunchita, Akasha and Anga.

Utpluta: If a person moves round his entire body from a sampada posture.

Chakra: If keeping feet on earth and carrying tripataka hands one moves rapidly.

Garuda: Stretch one foot across another and put the knee on the ground and then move about rapidly with outstretched arms.

Ekapada: Moving round alternately on one foot.

Kunchita: Moving round with knees bent.

Akasha: If one moves round his entire body after making his fulIy stretched feet wide apart in jump.

Anga: If one jumps with feet half cubit apart and then stops.



Charis :
There are eight charis, viz., Chalana, Chakramana, Sarana, Vegini, Kuttana, Lunthita, Lolita and Vishama.

1. Chalana: (Walking) advancing a foot from its nutural place.

2. Chakramana: (Making a leap). A gait made by two feet carefully raised up and thrown sideways alternately.

3. Sarana: (Moving). Moving like a leach, i.e., covering ground by joining one heel with another (at each step) and holding at the same time pataka hands.

4. Vegini: (Running). If a nata walks swiftly on his heels or toes or by his entire sole and holds alapadma and tripataka hands alternately he is said to go with Vegini.

5. Kuttana: (Pounding). The striking of the earth with the heel or the forepart of a foot or the entire sole

6. Lunthita: (Rolling). Performing the kuttana from the swastika posture.

7. Lolita: (Trembling). Slowly moving a foot, which has not touched the earth after performing the Kuttana.

8. Vishama: (Rough). Setting the left foot to the right of the right one and the right foot to the left one alternately at the time of walking.

- Stepping Posture - Different Kinds of Stepping
There are ten kinds of stepping, viz., Hansi, Mayuri, Mrigi, Gajalila, Turangini, Simhi, Bhujangi, Manduki, Veera, Manavi. (Goose, peacock, deer, elephant, horse, lion, snake, frog, heroic, and human.)

1. Goose-step: Placing slowly one foot after another at a distance of half a cubit and bending on two sides alternately and carrying the triparaka with both hands.

2. Peacock-step: To stand on toes and to carry kapiththa in both the hands and to move both the knees alternately.

3. Deer-step: Running forwards or sideways like a deer with tripataka on both the hands.

4. Elephant-step: To walk slowly with samapada feet with hands holding pataka on both sides.

5. Horse-step: To raise the right foot and jump in quick succession and to hold the shikhara with the left hand and pataka with the right.

6. Lion-step: First stand on toes and then jump forward swiftly and proceed in this manner with the shikhara held in both the hands.

7. Snake-step: Holding the tripataka with both the hands and both sides and walking as before (swiftly).

8. Frog-step: Holding the shikhara with both the hands and jumping almost like a lion.

9. Heroic-step: Coming from a distance holding the shikhara with the left hand and the pataka with the right one.

10. Human-step: Going round in quick succession and putting the left hand on the waist holding the katakamukha with the right hand.