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Indian Classical Dances
Movements in Dance
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Movement of Head

Movement of Head
Movement of the head establishes the calm and gracious mood that clears the mind of distractions. It is the auspicious pose, which precedes all performance.

1. Sarna: (Level)
Not moving, unbent, not raised. It is used at the beginning of dancing, sitting for prayers, pride, authoritative speech, satisfaction, fake anger of love, indifference and stopping from action.

2. Udvahita: (Raised)
Raising the head and keeping it still. It is used to depict moon, sky and mountain, flying things in the air, anything tall.

3. Adhomukha: (Face inclined)
The head is bent. It is used to depict modesty, sorrow, bowing, regarding anything low, fainting, things on the ground, bathing.

4. Alolita: (RoIling)
The head is moved in a circle. It is used to depict sleepiness, obsession, intoxication, faintness, dizziness, hesitation and uncontrolled laughter.

5. Dhuta: (Shaken)
Used by Bharata and others. The hand is turned to and from right to left and left to right. It is used to depict denial, looking repeatedly at things, sympathy with others, wonder, fright, indifference, cold, fire, fear, first moment of drinking alcohol, preparing for battle, rejection, impatience, glancing at ones own limbs, assembling from both sides.

6. Kampita:(Nodding, shaking)
Shaking the head up and down. It is used to depict anger, saying, inquiry, summoning, threatening etc.

7. Paravritta: (Turned round)
When the face is turned round the head is called Paravritta. It is used for denoting the command, It should be done, anger, shame, turning away the face slightly.

8. Utkshipta: (Thrown up)
When the head is turned aside and then raised up it is called Utkshipta. It can denote the command or request, "take this" or "come".

9. Parivahita: (Widely moved)
When the head is moved from side to side, a Chauri. It is called Parivahita. It denotes passion, longing for the separated lover, the praise of a deity, satisfaction, approval and contemplation.

10. Prakampita: (Waving about)
Repeatedly moving the head forward and to both the sides. It is used to depict the wonderful (Adbhuta Rasa), song composition, bee, and enemys mode of fighting.
11. Saundarya: (Elegance)
Looking up and down. The chest also bent. Expressing a cause, in dances showing the bee hand, Yoga practice.

Movement of Neck
There are 4 kinds of neck movements. They are: -

1. Sundari:
When the neck is moved to and fro horizontally it is called Sundari. It is denotes the beginning of affection, effort in the sense of completely with and approval to pleasure.

2. Tiraschina:
The neck moving in an upward movement on both sides. It denotes exercise with a sword and the gliding of a snake.

3. Parivartita:
The neck moving from right to left like a half-moon. It is used in erotic dance (Lasya) and kissing the two cheeks of the beloved.

4. Prakampita:
When the neck is moved backwards and forwards like the movement of a she pigeons neck, it is called Prakampita. It denotes You and I, folk-dancers, swinging, the wordless murmurings and the sound uttered by a woman at the time of matrimonial embrace.


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Movement of Neck

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Movement of Eyes

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Movement of Eyes

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Movement of Eyes

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Movement of Eyes

Movement of Eyes

1. Soma: (Level)
Gazing without blinking. It is used at the beginning of a dance, thinking of some other matter, surprise and the image of Gods.

2. Alokita: (Inspecting)
Swiftly turning with keen glances. It is usedfor depicting potters wheel showing all sorts of things, desires.

3. Shuchi: (Sidelong)
Looking out of the corners of the eyes without moving the head. It is used to depict secret purposes (ingita), twisting the moustaches (self-confidence), aiming an arrow, hinting and Kulata Natya.

4. Pralokita:
Turning from side to side. It is used to depict "looking at a thing on both sides, making signs, moving, disordered mind.

5. Movement of Eyes Nimilita: (Closed)
The eyes half-closed, half-open. It is used to depict appearance of a sage, subjection to anothers will, prayer, meditation, greeting, madness and keen insight.

6. Ullokita: (Looking up)
Directing the glance keenly up and aside. It is used to depict the point of a flag, tower, temple, previous lives, height, moonlight etc.

7. Anuvritta: (Following)
Glancing quickly up and down. It can denote angry looks, friendly invitation.

8. Avalokita: (Looking down)
Looking at a shadow, reflection. It is used to depict bed, study, looking at ones own body etc.

9. Snigdha: (Tender)
The look that is associated with joy, pleasant anticipation, things after ones own heart having an inner radiance, expressing the surge of love, passion, affection etc.

10. Shringara: (Love)
Born of great joy, in the toils of love-raising the eye-brows and looking out of the corners of the eyes, mutual glances of those who are fast bound by amorous desires.

11. Adbhuta:
The ends of the eyelids slightly curved, the eyebrows raised in wonder, the eyes surging. It is expression of the wonderful.

12. Karuna:
A downcast glance, half bestowed with tears, generous, the black pupil slowly moving, regarding the top of the nose. It denotes passion, the sense of tragic.

13. Movement of EyesVismaya:
Quickly raised, straight staring. It is used to depict amazement.

14. Tripta: (Satisfaction)
Steady, wide opened, the pupil motionless keeps its place. It is used to depict resolution, Utsaha.

15. Visanna:
The eyelids wide apart, eyelashes bent, the pupil fixed. It denotes fright, distress.

16. Bhayanaka: (Inspiring fear)
The eyelids raised and fixed, the pupil bright and straining. It denotes great fear, terrible.

17. Druta:
Both pupils moving. It denotes excitement, the heroic, shining, direct, open, rather grand, self-controlled, the pupils at rest.

18. Raudra: (Cruel)
The pupils fixed and the lids not moving, the brows contracted and raised. It is used to depict unfriendly, hostility, red.

19. Dura: (Far)
Slightly raised. It depicts idea of things at a distance.

20. Ingita:
Sidelong glances expressing joy. It is used to depict secret thought.

21. Vilokita:
Looking back. It is used to depict things or places behind.

22. Vitarkita: (Deliberation)
Direct, wide opened, the eye-lids separated, the pupils fixed as if in fear. It is used to depict attention.

23. Movement of Eyes Shankita: (Worried)
A little moved, a little at rest, slightly raised and moved to and fro, the pupils partly hidden. It is used to depict hesitation.

24. Abhitapta: (Burnt)
The eyelids moving, the pupils gaze gradually. It is used to depict indifference (i.e., regarding a thing, but without interest).

25. Avalokita:
Looking down. It is used to depict study, reflection.

26. Shunya: (Vacant)
Eyelids level, pupils visible, motionless, gaze vacant. It is used to depict misunderstanding.

27. Hrishta: (Merry)
Waving, pleasant, twinkling. It is used to depict laughter.

28. Ugra: (Cruel)
Very wide open, a little red at the corners. It is used to depict brutality.

29. Vibhranta: (Wandering)
The pupils moving, rolling unrestrained, between tears and laughter, the roaming glance of excitement.

30. Shanta: (Peace)
Gradually closing the lids, the eyes slightly moving, the pupils moving to the corners, the peaceful glance of dispassion.

31. Milita:
Nearly closed, conditions such as subjection to anothers will.

32. Movement of EyesShuchana:
The eyes partly closed, following the movement of the fear and intoxication. Shuchi hand. It is used to depict pointing out.

33. Lajjita:
The upper eye-lid dropped, the pupil also lowered timidly, the lashes meeting, a modest glance.

34. Malina:
The lashes partly closed, the pupils curving inward. It is used to depict women (i.e., diffusion).

35. Trasta: (Frightened)
Inwardly expanded. The pupil raised. It is used to depict fear and intoxication.

36. Mlana: (Dull)
The pupil moving slowly, blinking, the lashes seeming to touch. It is used to depict uninteresting matters.

37. Mukula:
The lashes trembling and touching, the expression of the pupils mild, the upper lids lowered, this hid eye indicates bliss.

38. Kunchita: (Curved)
The lashes a little recurved, the eyeballs a little sunk. It denotes dislike or jealousy.

39. Akasha: (Sky)
Directed towards the sky, the pupil turned far back. It is used to depict things moving about.

40. Movement of Eyes Ardhamukula:
Smiling, the pupils just visible under the lids. It is used to depict bliss and rejoicing.

41. Anuvritta: (Following)
Repeated glancing. It is used to depict hurry.

42. Vipluta:
The lids trembling, expanded and then dropped, this disordered eye indicates beauty in thing of all sorts.

43. Jimba: (Oblique)
Bent back, a slow and hidden glance, used to convey secret meaning and in envy.

44. Vikosa:
Without winking, the pupils moving, and the lids wide apart. It is used to depict joy.

45. Madira:
Indirect ranging, centred, unsteady, crooked. It is used to depict the early stage of intoxication.

46. Hridaya:
Unsteady, flurried, the pupils moving the lids recurved. It is used to depict average things.

47. Lalita: (Graceful)
The corners of the eye are closed by the movement of the brows, smiling because of the working of love, direct. It is used to depict graceful posing.

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Movement of Eyes

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Movement of Eyes

Movements of Eye-brows
There are the following movements of the eyebrows: Shahaja, Patita, Utkshipta, Chatura, Rechila, and Kunchita.