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Bharatanatyam with benefits

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Bharatanatyam with benefits Empty Bharatanatyam with benefits

Post by Seva Lamberdar Sat Feb 27, 2016 4:11 pm

When Indian origin twins Poonam and Priyanka Shah decided to combine Bharatanatyam with their daily 'popping' exercises, and post a video of their routine on the internet, it soon went viral.

"We are learning hip-hop and practise our training 'exercises' for popping every day, so we just combined the two forms," says Chicago-based Priyanka, who along with her twin is now in LA trying to pick up hip-hop dance styles.

While the twins may be focusing on dance fusion, there is now a renewed interest in the health benefits of Bharatanatyam. "It gives a wonderful cardio workout, improves blood circulation, tones muscles and is good for bone density as it is a contact exercise," says danseuse Alarmel Valli.

Dancer and choreographer Anita Ratnam says Bharatanatyam has both physical and mental benefits. "The basic stance of araimandi (a squat in which knees are turn ed sideways) and keeping the torso steady while the hands and lower limbs are moving helps with balance," she says, adding that memory and imagination are stimulated as you have to remember long sequences and improvise when you forget on stage.

Practitioners also say the dance form is highly beneficial for the eyes. Dr Amar Agarwal, ophthalmologist, says it gives the eye muscles a good workout. "When you roll your eyes from side to side, you are actually using the muscles of the eye, which help in the movement of the eye," he says.

All poses and mudras go a long way in rejuvenating and restoring weak parts of the body, says dancer Roja Kannan. "For instance, the chinhamudra called Hamsasyam in dance, wherein the first finger and the thumb are joined together at the tips and the other three fingers are opened up facilitates the circulation of blood flow from the fingers to the other parts of the body while also having a calming effect on the mind," she says, adding that arthritis, muscle degeneration, nervous disorders, tennis elbow, tendonitis, and knee ailments can be restored by dance therapy.

Dr A V Satyanarayana, director, Shristi Center of Performing Arts and Institute of Dance Therapy, Bangalore, uses Bharatanatyam to keep pregnant women fit. "I design dance sequences that create flexibility and mobility, strengthen the back and pelvic floor and also the respiratory system," he says.

According to Mumbai-based paediatric orthopaedic and spine surgeon Dr Ashok Johari, the lateral gliding movement of the neck, commonly used in Bharatanatyam, helps treat children born with torticollis, in which the head is tilted to one side. "It is now a standard manoeuvre in physiotherapy," says Dr Johari. He has made a presentation on the link between dance and therapy at the Scoliosis Research Society of America.

The dance form also has great impact on mental and emotional well-being. Nalini Prakash, a US based dance/movement therapist for instance, uses dance and movement in her work with individuals who have mental illness. "I have used elements of Bharatanatyam, like the navarasas to work with some of my patients who struggle with impulse control and anger management," she says.
Seva Lamberdar
Seva Lamberdar

Posts : 6566
Join date : 2012-11-29

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