Idea of form in tat aḍavu of Bharatanāṭyam dance style

Sonal Nimbkar*

 

Abstract

There is an attempt to understand dance. What are the basic structures of dance? For this we resort to the idea of mind (manas) given in Indian Vaiśeṣika darśana where no action or movement is possible without the attendance of mind. The characteristic of mind is such that at given time it is present at one place only. The motion of mind is sequential, consecutive in nature and is not simultaneous. Taking this as a cue it is applied to the tatta aḍavu group of Bharatanāṭyam and see what emerges. It is a presupposition that this will give the exact nature of this aḍavu. This is done with a First Person Perspective.

Keywords: Dance, Mind, Phenomenology, Bharatanāṭyam, Vaiśeṣika darśana

Introduction

When one says Dance, an array of movements with its regional influences come to mind. A varied array of movements come to fore. So what is this reality called dance? What are the essential elements of dance?

To understand this, basic movements or aḍavus of bharatanāṭyam are studied. But what is the premise to study these movements? As per Vaiśeṣika theory human is a combination of Self (ātman) Mind (manas) and Body (śarīra). All the desires are stored in Self and action is in Body. Self cannot perform any action hence fulfils its desire through body. But how does it convey? It is done with the help of Mind. Mind is the connecting link between Body and Self. But mind can be at one place only at one time. At T1 it is at P1, it cannot be at P1 & P2 both. Therefore in other words at T1 it is at P1 and cannot be at P1 and P2 at the same time. In other words no action, no movement is possible without the involvement of mind. As it is present at one place at a time it is successive and sequential therefore it is linear in nature[1],[2].

Dance movement has been analysed in this framework in this paper.

Therefore dance movement that look simultaneous is linear in nature. The motion of movement is sequential in nature. Then how to observe and understand the linearity of movement? This is done with First Person Perspective.

Phenomenology is a study of phenomenon or study of things that come to our experience. So what is the experience of dance movement? What comes to one’s consciousness when a movement is executed? The movement is studied from the first – person point of view. An aḍavu or dance movement is done in an extremely slow motion. When done in a very slow motion certain pattern emerges in consciousness. These patterns are the material to further study and understand the exact nature of dance movement

Methodology

Bharatanāṭyam, a south Indian dance style has nṛtta and nṛtya predominantly. It starts with nṛtta, the basic dance movement or dance steps known as aḍavus. These aḍavus starts with simple stamps and then transits to various complex movement of hands and legs.

The first group of aḍavus is tatta aḍavu which will be studies and analyzed in this paper.

It only consist of leg movement. It does not have hand movements. Tatta aḍavu is basically about stamping the leg in various ways. Its basic syllable is tai yā tai. Then it varies with the steps. So to begin with legs are in aramaṇḍī where weight of the body is taken by both the legs and hands are on the waist where wrist is rested. All the steps shown here are done on one side only that is right, as left being its replica would be repeatition. Hence done only on one side.

So coming to tatta aḍavu first step sitting in aramaṇḍī in tai yā tai there is a STAMP on each tai with each leg starting with right. So right leg STAMPs in tai, left leg is lifted in and STAMPed in 2nd tai. This STAMP happens at the same place from where it is lifted. Leg is lifted by flexing the knee, hip joint is almost as it is. There is no major movement in hip joint. So sitting in aramaṇḍī leg is lifted by flexing the knee. And then again stamped by bring the leg down. The leg that is stamped is placed in the same place from where it is lifted.

If one looks at each stamp in detail then it is noticed that to STAMP with right leg on its place it is to be lifted first. So there is an attempt to LIFT the leg. When this attempt is made to lift, there is a change in the proportion of weight. The proportion of weight taken by both the leg changes. So as soon as this attempt is made i.e. effort to lift the leg but is still not above the ground; weight of right leg is SHIFTed to left leg. This is understood as SHIFT of weight. The weight keeps shifting on left leg due to which pelvis moves on left side giving a horizontal experience. This is understood as Horizontal SHIFT of weight.

The another way would be weight has begun to SHIFT but leg is not lifted from the ground. At that time left leg creates resistance, acts as a wall due to which merudanda/pelvis is not able to move to the left much. The movement of pelvis is obstructed. So left leg here acts as a wall and does not allow pelvis to SHIFT. But still there is an effort put by right leg by LIFTing of the leg. So weight is being shifted to left but as there is no horizontal space it stacks itself vertically. So instead of body moving horizontally it moves vertical i.e. goes up a little. And right leg becomes sans weight. This is understood as Vertical SHIFT. It is also noticed that when weight is being shifted on left leg and resistance by this left leg certain pressure is built. This experience is similar to press but is not press.

Vertical SHIFT is also done when the leg that takes the weight PRESSes. That is when the right leg is lifted weight is taken by left leg. So left leg presses. As the leg PRESSes weight from the other leg starts getting collected in this leg. Due to the nature of the PRESS which is in vertical direction weight also gets collected vertically. Due to this body moves up a little. The felt experience of this motion is vertical in nature hence Vertical SHIFT.

So generally SHIFT of weight is either Horizontal SHIFT or Vertical SHIFT. Now after the weight has been SHIFTed on left leg both the legs are still on the ground but maximum weight is taken by left leg. Now because right leg is still on the ground it does carry little weight that also needs to be shifted on left leg. So as that last little weight is also shifted to left leg navel CONTRACTs, this is understood as CONTRACTion of navel.

Thus after the CONTRACTion of navel one leg is taking or HOLDing the weight, here it is left leg and other leg is completely sans weight, ready to move freely. So now left leg is HOLD of weight, which is taking the weight of the body and the right leg which is free to move is here moving upward or flexes as LIFT of right leg. Thus LIFT = HOLD + FLEXION

Once the leg has been lifted now it needs to be STAMPed. Hence it goes down, it extends and culminates in STAMP. So left leg is HOLDing the weight of the body and right leg STAMPs. Thus STAMP = HOLD + EXTENTION

Though here LIFT & STAMP have HOLD plus FLEXION & EXTENTION resp. It is mentioned as LIFT = HOLD + LIFT & STAMP = HOLD + STAMP in the description of movement pattern for simplicity and clarity. The words flexion or extension are not used.

C:\Users\Sonal\Desktop\Manas Fig\Tatta Adavu\1.jpeg

Above figure is of step 1 Tatta aḍavu

Thus the STAMP or tai of tai yā tai is a process which goes through different stages such as SHIFT of weight, CONTRACT of navel, LIFT and STAMP of leg. Throughout this eyes are in samam i.e. looking straight at eye level which is referred as POINT.

It is noticed that in LIFT and STAMP one can feel the sharpness or pointedness of eyes. So first it is eye movement and then followed by LIFT and STAMP. But this is not felt so in SHIFT of weight. It is noticed that in SHIFT of weight the pointedness is being created. So first it is SHIFT of weight and then POINT of eyes in the making.

Once the POINT of eyes is created it leads hence in LIFT and STAMP it is POINT first and then LIFT or STAMP of right leg. Though there can be a variation in this as per the movement.

So the details of tai are SHIFT of weight, POINT of eyes for 2 times or cycles. Then CONTRACT of navel for 1 cycle. Then POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, LIFT of right leg for 2 cycles. Then it is POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, STAMP of right leg for 2 cycles.

Thus while doing the STAMP of right leg a movement pattern is created as below

SHIFT – POINT – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP

SHIFT CONTRACT LIFT STAMP
SHIFT – POINT CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP

Minimally any movement is SHIFT – CONTRACT – LIFT – STAMP. Hence it can be understood as the smallest unit of movement. It is also further observed that every movement falls within this SHIFT – CONTRACT – LIFT – STAMP structure though there can be variations to it. Hence below is the table of step 1 which gives the details of the movement within the structure of SHIFT – CONTRACT – LIFT – STAMP

Now moving forward to second step of tatta aḍavu the syllables remains the same, tai yā tai. But instead of stamping one syllable with each leg, here both the syllables or both the tai-s are stamped with same leg. So right side two times and left side two times, sitting in aramaṇḍī.

So when the leg is LIFTed for the first time, before that as in step 1 there is SHIFT of weight. So the weight is shifted here on the left leg. But both the legs are still on the ground with major weight carried by left leg. So right leg still has that little weight. Now the effort is put on right leg to lift. In this lift, muscles are pulled up making the leg still lighter but the foot is still on the ground not lifted. Hence there is still that little weight on right leg; when the muscles are further being pulled up due to that navel contracts and goes in. And right leg is sans weight, completely free to move. So till now weight has been shifted and navel contracted. Now comes the stage where leg is lifted.

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Here when the right leg is being lifted, left leg is HOLDing the weight of the body. So there is HOLD of left leg and LIFT of right leg.

Then after the leg is lifted, it comes down. When the leg is coming down weight is still being carried by left leg. So it is HOLD & STAMP.

So it is SHIFT – LIFT – STAMP or

SHIFT – CONTRACT – HOLD – LIFT – HOLD – STAMP

This is for the 1st stamp of right leg. Now there is 2nd stamp also in the same manner. But it does not have SHIFT of weight. This is because when the leg is stamped in first tai major weight is still on left leg. And right leg even after stamp does not carry the major chunk of the weight. But because of the nature of the gravity or body, as the right foot touches the ground or is stamped it does bring with it certain weight. This is because the muscles relax. As muscles relax navel also relaxes because both the feet are on the ground. Hence again when the leg is lifted for the 2nd time that little weight is shifted on left leg as a result navel contracts. Then again as 1st stamp, left leg HOLDs and right leg LIFTs, left leg HOLDs and right STAMPs.

C:\Users\Sonal\Desktop\Manas Fig\Tatta Adavu\2.jpeg Above is the figure of step 2 Tatta aḍavu

So 2nd STAMP is CONTRACT – HOLD – LIFT – HOLD – STAMP

So the pattern for 2nd tatta aḍavu would be

SHIFT – CONTRACT – HOLD – LIFT – HOLD – STAMP – CONTRACT – HOLD – LIFT – HOLD – STAMP

Also as far as eyes are concerned they can be in the starting or in the end (as shown in step 1). POINTedness of eyes is also dependent on determination. So if one is with clear mind and determination then even before starting the aḍavu eyes have POINT. Or if not so then the POINT is constructed as the aḍavu starts and progresses. So in the first when eyes are determined, have POINT then aḍavu starts with eyes. And if POINT is constructed over time then it comes at the end after motion of the body parts have taken place.

So the movement pattern for 2nd step is

POINT – SHIFT – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP

SHIFT CONTRACT LIFT STAMP
       
POINT – SHIFT CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP
  CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP

Moving further it is 3rd step whose syllables are tai yā tai yā tai. Here right leg stamps three times and left leg three times.

The earlier two movements were initiated with SHIFT of weight which was horizontal in nature. Here doing it in a different way then the first two. That is initiating it in a different way. So here left leg PRESSes (from heel), due to which muscles harden and left leg becomes stiff giving a sense of wall like feeling. As heel PRESSes body goes up and some weight is shifted on that leg (left). But not all weight is shifted on left leg, there is still some weight remaining on right. That weight is also shifted on left leg resulting in CONTRACTion of navel and then LIFT and STAMP thrice.

So it is noticed that CONTRACT of navel is associated with the rest of leg. So the longer the rest or slower the speed stronger the CONTRACT, shorter the rest of STAMP or faster the speed lighter the CONTRACT. So it looks there will be CONTRACT lighter or stronger once the leg touches the ground however brief it may be.

So movement pattern for 3rd step will be

POINT – PRESS – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP

Similarly step 4 is stamping of leg four times on each side and its syllable being tai yā tai yā tai yā tai. The movement pattern for 4th step will be

POINT – PRESS/SHIFT – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP

STEP 3      
SHIFT CONTRACT LIFT STAMP
POINT – PRESS CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP
  CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP
  CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP

And for step 4 it is

STEP 4      
SHIFT CONTRACT LIFT STAMP
POINT – PRESS CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP
  CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP
  CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP
  CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP

Now moving further it is step 5, here also as above there is STAMP which is done five time with each leg. But there is a little variation in terms of time. And this in turn affect space too. The syllable is tai yā tai yā tai tai tām. So here the speed of tai yā tai which is two STAMPs, is different from tai tai tām comprising of three STAMPs. Last three STAMPs are faster than first two STAMPs. So in first two stamps there is pause after STAMP or one can say there is rest after stamp or stamp is for longer duration which is not there or is for a less duration in last three stamps. And 2nd as duration affects the rest or pause, it is also affecting motion. So in motion i.e. when leg is being lifted the distance covered in lift is less as there is less time.

So one can say that in slower speeds there is more of PAUSE (sthiti) and in faster speeds there is more of motion (gati), PAUSEs decrease. That is number of PAUSEs in slower speed is more compared to faster speeds. And number of motion is more in faster speed compared to slower speed.

So time and space is affected. So compared to first two stamps last three stamps has less PAUSE and as there is less PAUSE or less time the distance covered is also less.

So the details of this movement are POINT of eyes, PRESS of left feet. Then CONTRACT of navel. Then POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, LIFT of right leg. Then POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, STAMP of right leg. Then CONTRACT of navel. Then POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, LIFT of right leg. Then POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, STAMP of right

C:\Users\Sonal\Desktop\Manas Fig\Tatta Adavu\3.jpeg

Above is the figure of step 5 Tatta aḍavu

leg. Then CONTRACT of navel. Then again POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, LIFT of right leg. And then lastly POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, STAMP of right leg. All the above for 1 cycle each.

POINT – PRESS – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP

SHIFT CONTRACT LIFT STAMP
POINT – PRESS CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP
  CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP
  CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP
    POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP
    POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP

Now the 6th step whose syllable is tai yā tai yā tai kiṭataka tai yā tai yā tai similar to 3rd step.

But in 3rd step this whole syllable was done or spread on both the legs with pause in kiṭataka. This resulted in stamping thrice on each leg. But here in 6th step the whole syllable is done with one leg that is stamping six time with each leg. But this stamp is not continous, after three stamps there is a pause in kiṭataka and then the remainig three are done. This step is also done in the same structure of SHIFT – CONTRACT – LIFT – STAMP

So the movement pattern will be twice of 3rd step.

POINT – PRESS – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP

kiṭataka

POINT – PRESS – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP

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SHIFT CONTRACT LIFT STAMP  
POINT – PRESS CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP  
  CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP  
  CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP KIṬATAKA
POINT – PRESS CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP  
  CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP  
  CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP  

Next in line is seventh step with seven stamps whose syllables are tai tai tat tat tai tai tām. But it is not just seven steps on one leg each. The spread has a variety. Here it is three stamps with right leg, 4th stamp is done with left leg and remaining three are again done with right leg. That is in 6th step six stamps are done with one leg with pause or rest of kiṭataka. Seventh step is almost same. It has six stamps with one leg and the pause or rest is replaced with motion from another leg. This motion of stamp is done by the other leg. That is if the six stamps are done with right leg then that motion or the fourth stamp is done by left leg. So first three stamps by right leg, fourth by left leg and remaining three again by right leg. This comprises one side. Then again when done with left side aḍavu start with left leg. Here showing right side only.

The details of the movement are POINT of eyes, SHIFT of weight. Then CONTRACT of navel. Then it is POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, LIFT of right leg as one cycle. Then it is POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, STAMP of right leg. Then CONTRACT of navel as a cycle. Then POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, LIFT of right leg, POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, STAMP of right leg. Then again CONTRACT of navel. Then POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, LIFT of right leg. Then POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, STAMP of right leg. Then POINT of eyes, SHIFT of weight. Then CONTRACT of navel. Then it is POINT of eyes, HOLD of right leg, LIFT of left leg as one round or cycle. Then POINT of eyes, HOLD of right leg, STAMP of left leg. Then POINT of eyes, SHIFT of weight as a cycle. Then CONTRACT of navel. Then it is POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, LIFT of right leg. After that it is POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, STAMP of right leg. Then CONTRACT of navel.

C:\Users\Sonal\Desktop\Manas Fig\Tatta Adavu\4.jpeg

Above is the figure of step 7 Tatta aḍavu

Then POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, LIFT of right leg. Then POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, STAMP of right leg. Then CONTRACT of navel. Then POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, LIFT of right leg. Then POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, STAMP of right leg.

Thus the movement pattern which emerges is as below

POINT – SHIFT – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – POINT – SHIFT – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – POINT – SHIFT – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP

STEP 7      
SHIFT CONTRACT LIFT STAMP
POINT – SHIFT CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP
  CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP
  CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP
POINT – SHIFT CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP
POINT – SHIFT CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP
  CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP
  CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP

Now the last step of tatta aḍavu set. The syllable are tai tai tai tai tai tai tām. As observed earlier with every step, the number of stamps increased. So step 1 had one stamp and step 2 had two stamps and so with step 5 having five stamp and step 7 having seven stamps. So one might think step 8 has eight stamp. But no, step 8 has seven stamps, done differently than step 7. Usually it was seen that all the stamps were done in/with one leg with exception of 7th step where only one stamp is with other leg i.e. left. So primarily all steps have been on one side. But here there is a variation as both the legs are used for stamp alternately and with two speeds. So gradually complexity of time and space has increased. Though fundamentally this set is simple. In first six steps all the stamps are with one leg only. With step 7 both the legs are used to complete the seven stamps. But in 7th step the other leg is used only once. Now here in 8th step also there are seven stamps in total but done differently.

So these seven steps are stamped alternately with each leg and speed of the last three stamps is double of first four stamps.

So weight SHIFTs to left and right leg is LIFTed and STAMPed. Then weight is SHIFTed to right leg and left leg is LIFTed and STAMPed. This happens for five more times alternately.

So the details of the movement are POINT of eyes, SHIFT of weight. Then CONTRACT of navel. Then POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, LIFT of right leg. Then it is POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, STAMP of right leg. Then it is POINT of eyes, SHIFT of weight. Then CONTRACT of navel. Then it is POINT of eyes, HOLD of right leg, LIFT of left leg. Then it is POINT of eyes, HOLD of right leg, STAMP of left leg. Then POINT of eyes, SHIFT of weight. After that CONTRACT of navel. Then POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, LIFT of right leg. Then POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, STAMP of right leg as one rotation. Then POINT of eyes, SHIFT of weight. Then CONTRACT of navel. Then POINT of eyes, HOLD of right leg, LIFT of left leg. Then POINT of eyes, HOLD of right leg, STAMP of left leg. Then POINT of eyes, SHIFT of weight. Then it is CONTRACT of navel as one rotation. Then POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, LIFT of right leg. Then POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, STAMP of right leg. Then POINT of eyes, SHIFT of weight. Then CONTRACT of navel. Then POINT of eyes, HOLD of right leg, LIFT of left leg. After that POINT of eyes, HOLD of right leg, STAMP of left leg. Then POINT of eyes, SHIFT of weight. Then it is CONTRACT of navel. Then it is POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, LIFT of right leg. And lastly it is POINT of eyes, HOLD of left leg, STAMP of right leg as one cycle of rotation. Each sequence has one rotation or cycle each.

The movement pattern for 8th step of Tatta aḍavu is as below.

POINT – SHIFT – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – POINT – SHIFT – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – POINT – SHIFT – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – POINT – SHIFT – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – POINT – SHIFT – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – POINT – SHIFT – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – POINT – SHIFT – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP

SHIFT CONTRACT LIFT STAMP
POINT – SHIFT CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP
POINT – SHIFT CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP
POINT – SHIFT CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP
POINT – SHIFT CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP
POINT – SHIFT CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP
POINT – SHIFT CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP
POINT – SHIFT CONTRACT POINT – HOLD – LIFT POINT – HOLD – STAMP

Conclusion

In tatta aḍavu it is noticed that each movement goes through four stages SHIFT – CONTRACT – LIFT – STAMP. Though it is further noticed that the use of these 4 stages varies from movement to movement.

In first step a movement goes through all these stages once. But in step 2 it is seen that it goes through SHIFT once but twice through other stages. In step 3 also SHIFT is once but rest of the stages that is contract, lift and stamp is thrice each and same is in step 4 where shift is once & rest of the stages are four times/quadruple. In these four steps it is seen that shift is only once and rest are repeated twice, thrice or quadruple. This is because the stamps are with the same leg. As the leg doesn’t change it does not have to shift the weight from one leg to another. Hence shift is done only once. But lift and contract is repeated because if stamp is done twice then it need to be lifted twice and before lift there is contraction of navel also because though weight is not completely shifted on that leg, stamp still does bring certain weight with it due to gravity and rest. However little it does carry certain weight with it and this weight, that last little weight that is shifted to the other leg is contract. Hence contract, lift and stamp are repeated.

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Moving further to step 5 it is seen that it has 1 SHIFT, 2 CONTRACTs, five LIFTS and five STAMPs. Now if with every STAMP there has to be LIFT and CONTRACT then why are there only two contracts and not five? It is noticed that when weight goes with stamp that means it is a result of rest or time. Time is needed to shift or hold the weight. As the last three stamps are done in faster speeds there is no time where there can be rest as there is no rest there is no weight involved in it as muscles don not relax as it does not have weight there is no contract.

Going to step 6 there are 2 SHIFTs, 6 CONTRACTs, 6 LIFTs, 6 STAMPs. Now though all the stamps are done with the same leg there are two SHIFTs here. Earlier above it is mentioned that SHIFT is involved because weight is being shifted from one leg to another. Here there is no such case as shifting weight from one leg to another. All the stamps are with one leg only. But still there are two SHIFTs because it is noticed that after three stamps there is a long pause or rest in kitataka. The time duration between third stamp and fourth lift is longer than the others that is from first stamp to second lift. Hence as there is longer duration there is more rest. Due to this rest weight is taken by the right leg here now as the weight is taken by that leg it needs to be shifted. Just contraction of navel is not enough for weight to carry from one leg to another. It needs the process of shifts of weight.

So one can say that time is a determinant factor which affects gravity or weight. Another determinant factor is region or space. Weight SHIFTs from one leg to another. After the STAMP with say right leg is done now left leg is to be STAMPed so weight is SHIFTed from left leg to right leg that is from left region to right region. This change in region or space can be considered as another determinant.

So it can be said that the there are two determinants of SHIFT of weight

  • Space &
  • Time

So change of space and pace of time are the two factors that determines SHIFT of weight.

Moving further to step seven there are three SHIFTS, seven CONTRACTs, seven LIFTS and seven STAMPs. So here the determinant that plays the role for three SHIFTs of weight is space. Till now it is seen that the STAMPs are with one leg only, the same leg stamps multiple times. But now here both the legs are used, six stamps are with one leg and one stamp with another leg. So this step has seven stamps and the fourth stamp is with the other leg. That means when done with right leg first three stamps are done with right leg, fourth stamp with left leg and then again last three stamps that is fifth, sixth and seventh stamp are done with right leg. Hence there is a necessity to SHIFT the weight from one leg to another. So the first SHIFT is in the starting when both the legs share the weight equally and need to be shifted on one leg only. So all the weight is shifted on left leg then there are three STAMPs along with three LIFTs and three CONTRACTs. Then as fourth STAMP is with left leg the weight that is on left leg has to be shifted on right leg, hence now the second SHIFT of weight. After the weight is SHIFTed there is CONTRACT, LIFT & STAMP. Then rest of the stamps again are with right leg, so the weight that is on the right leg is now shifted to left leg. Thus the third SHIFT. And once the weight is shifted again on the left leg weight, right leg STAMPs thrice along with LIFTS and CONTRACTs. This is the spread of seven stamps.

Now the last step, the eighth one. This also has seven STAMPs and each leg is stamped alternately with two speed. First four STAMPs are in first speed or the slow speed and last three STAMPs are the double of the first speed that is faster speed. It has seven SHIFTs, seven CONTRACTs, seven LIFTs and seven STAMPs. As mentioned above because the stamps are done with each leg, weight needs to be shifted with every stamp. So each STAMP goes through the four stages of SHIFT, CONTRACT, LIFT & STAMP.

Results

So while notating the observations as mentioned earlier it is noticed that structures emerge. Every movement has a certain pattern through which it unfolds itself. As mentioned earlier SHIFT – CONTRACT – LIFT – STAMP is the basic pattern and every movement falls within this. But if one further goes in detail say SHIFT or LIFT then one can see variety in it. The way SHIFT is done or LIFT is done and also the number of times it is done is where movement varies from one another. So if one looks at tatta aḍavu then it can be seen that every movement has certain pattern and within these certain clusters emerge which are common in almost all the pattern or are often seen in various patterns. They are POINT – SHIFT for SHIFT, LIFT is POINT – HOLD – LIFT and STAMP is POINT – HOLD – STAMP. If one looks at step 1 then the movement pattern is SHIFT – POINT – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP and that of step 2 is POINT – SHIFT – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP – CONTRACT – POINT – HOLD – LIFT – POINT – HOLD – STAMP and so on and so forth.

So if this pattern is studied within the format of SHIFT – CONTACT – LIFT – STAMP then one can see that SHIFT happens only once and then it is CONTRACT – LIFT – STAMP if the stamp is with same leg. If the leg changes then there is a need for SHIFT of weight as weight from one leg gets transferred to another as is seen in 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th step. Now in 6th step all the stamps are on one side only. But in spite of that there is SHIFT twice. One in the beginning when the aḍavu starts and then on fourth step. This happens as after three stamps there is a pause/rest in kiṭataka. In this rest weight is again shifted on right leg making the sharing of weight equal on both the legs. Hence when again right leg is LIFTed it need to be shifted. That is why there is SHIFT of weight at fourth stamp. In 7th step there is SHIFT of weight three times. One when the aḍavu is started with right leg then after three stamps because fourth stamp is with other leg that is left leg and again third SHIFT as STAMPs from 5th stamp onwards is with right leg again. Going further if we look at 8th step there are seven SHIFTs of weight as STAMP is with alternate leg that is right then left then again right then left. This happens seven times hence seven SHIFT of weight. So it can be seen that eventually that which started with one STAMP spreads till seven STAMPs in various ways. It is also observed that SHIFT of weight is governed by space and time.

It can be said that SHIFT – CONTRACT – LIFT – STAMP or SHIFT – LIFT – STAMP is the basic structure that emerges and also smallest unit of movement. Any movement minimally goes through at least the above mentioned changes.

Going into the details of SHIFT of weight there are two ways observed

  • Horizontal SHIFT of weight
  • Vertical SHIFT of weight
  1. Vertical SHIFT with HOLD
  2. Vertical SHIFT with PRESS

Further the other prominent cluster that emerge in this group of aḍavus is POINT – HOLD – LIFT and POINT – HOLD – STAMP.

Acknowledgment

I am thankful to Late Prof. Navjyoti Singh, CEH, IIIT-H under whose guidance I did this research. I am also thankful to Prof. Dipti Mishra Sharma, LTRC, IIIT-H who further supervises this work.

References

  1. Chakrabarti Kisor Kumar, 2017, Classical Indian Philosophy of Mind, Motilal Banarasidas, New Delhi
  2. Mishra Umesh, 2006, Nyāya – Vaiśeṣika, Conception of Matter in Indian Philosophy, Bhartiya Kala Prakashan, Delhi
  3. D. Gurumurti, Sapthapadārthī of Sivāditya, Universal Voice, Delhi
  4. Johnstone Maxine sheets, 1999, The Primacy of movement, John Benjamins Publishing Company
  5. Johnstone Maxine sheets, Phenomenology of dance, University of Wisconsin Press
  6. Johnstone Maxine sheets, ed, 1992, Giving the body its due, State University of New York Press, Albany
  7. Leder Drew, 1990, The Absent Body, The University of Chicago Press
  8. Ponty maurice merleau, Phenomenology of Perception translated by Colin Smith, Routledge
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  10. Dwivedi Parasnath Nāṭya śāstra in Hindi Sampurnand sankrit mahavidyalaya
  11. Newlove Jean, 1993, Laban for actors and Dancers –- Routledge New York, Nick Hern Books London
  12. Davies Eden, 2006, Beyond Dance, Laban’s Legacy of Movement Analysis Routledge, New York, USA
  13. Maletic Vera, 1987, Body-Space-Expression, Approaches to Semiotics, Mouton De Gruyter, Germany
  14. Hackney Peggy, 2002, Making Connections, Total Body Integration Through Bartenieff Fundamentals, Routledge, NY, USA

*Centre for Exact Humanities

IIIT – Hyderabad

Telangana

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  1. Mishra Umesh, 2006, NYĀYA – VAIŚEṢIKA Conception of matter in Indian Philosophy, pg 116 Pub. Bhartiya kala Prakashan, Delhi (India)
  2. D. Gurumurti, 2007, SAPTAPADĀRTHĪ OF SHIVĀDITYA, page 69, pub. Universal Voice, Delhi

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