Dance Course: Bharatanatyam

Instructor: Izumi Sato


Class Schedule

Minimum twice a week each an hour



Venue of the Class




Bharatanatyam is one form of South Indian classical dance. It was traditionally performed in Hindu temples to worship Gods and Goddesses. Today, the stage of Bharatanatyam has moved from the temple to the theater. The purpose of this course is for students to learn basic postures, movements, and choreography of Bharatanatyam as an introduction to Bharatanatyam and Indian culture. In this semester, students will learn several fundamental footsteps (adavus), eye, neck movements, and hand gestures (hasta mudras), which are selected in order to learn and perform Alarippu, selected a dance piece. Students also will learn Bharatanatyam terms while learning the movements.

Class Requirement:


Students are expected to come on time to each class. Students are encouraged to participate to the class by asking questions to the instructor.

Students are advised to check email and the course home page frequently, because most of the announcements and course materials will be posted on-line by the Instructor.


Class Attire:


Class attire should not limit your movements for Bharatanatyam. For example, bare feet, bottom which covers your thigh (no tight jeans, no short skirt, no short pants so on). A point is to work on proper posture for the Bharatanatyam. We will avoid getting incorrect habits in movements. Another point is a cultural concern of Bharatanatyam.



Attendance and Participation

Exam #1 Hand gestures (Hasta mudras)

Exam #2 Dance

Essay # 1

Creative Art # 1

Final Portfolio

Performance Requirement

30 % (more than 5 absences: F)

10 %

10 %

10 %

10 %

15 %

15 %









Very good


Barely Satisfactory






below 59



to increase appreciation for Asian dances and cultures.

to examine the role and meaning of dance in social, cultural, and historical contexts through learning Bharatanatyam.

to identify unique qualities in Bharatanatyam, and to differentiate Bharatanatyam from other India dances and other dance forms

to find ways of communicating meaning and express yourself

to improve physical and spiritual awareness

Course Philosophy:


In this course, Bharatanatyam is taught in a spiritual context, harmonizing mind and body rather than in Hindu religious context. It aims to dance for seeking peace and happiness and with the motivation of your own personal spirituality and belief system. Think and move peacefully with calm mind.

Assignment Dues:




Mid term Exam


Creative Arts project




Final Demonstration


Final Exam


Discussion and Sharing of Portfolio


Essay Assignment:


Chose ONE of the following three essay assignments and write an essay of brief summary, response of what you learned about Bharatanatyam or Ramayana from your activity. Your essay should be typed in double-spaced and 12 point Times New Roman, not more than 1000 words, and saved in word document. Send essay by email to

Handout of some more information will be provided in class.

Course Material:



Dance music CD:


Chatusra Alarippu

Ramayana Shabdam

each US$ 5


The CD is provided by the instructor at the second day of the course.



Sample Course Syllabus

This syllabus was applied for university dance courses, Bharatanatyam courses Spring 2005 at University of Hawaii at Manoa.



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