Much as it is true that the term Adavu is transalated as foot work, adavu is not a presentation limited to usage of the the feet. Every single limb of the body is coordinated in a certain style. The hands, legs, head etc constitute the major limbs. The simplest defenition of Adavu would be, basic unit of Bharatanatyam involving the whole body.
It is pretty easy to say that there rae about 65 adavus involving a range of movements. This would only put offan eager leaner for he or she might feel that the adavus are too many in number to be grasped easily. Let us have a brief look at a few core aspects of adavus that appear in almost every adavu.
1. ARAIMANDI – HALF SEATED POSITION.
If this is mastered, half of Bharatanatyam is mastered! Now, this is no exaggeration because to master the right araimandi is quitean arduous and time consuming process. Initially, one will experiance a lot of pain in the knees and thighs but that will slowly settle down. Here are few points to remember.
- Back straight (bending or stooping can crete a hunch-effect).
- Height reduced by atleast 1/3rd.
- Feet pointing to the opposite sides a nd placed horizolly
- Hands firmly and and neatly placed on the hips.
- Eyes straight.
Students can start off by standing like this for 10secs, 20secs, 30secs and gradually improve it to 1min, 1.30secs etc.
2. SAMAPADAM – LEGS TOGETHER
Standing straight, legs joined, eyes straight, hands on the hips. This may sound easy, but it is very important for a dancer. When a dancer is given rest in between the dance he/she should be in this position.
3. MANDI – FULL SEATED POSITION
This is a full seated position – perhaps the most painful one to grasp and reproduce. One tends to trip and lose balance many times in the initial stages. But it settles down slowly. Here too, the eyes must be focussed straight and the back is to be erect.
4. Hands to the sides with a slight curve. Elbows to be erect and not to droop. This gesture is difficult causing quite some pain in the elbows. It is again practice; more importantly, practice with a positive mind that “ I am going to master this! “.
5. Hands in the front of the chest. Elbows firm, eyes straight.
It is these 3 major leg positions and 2 hand positions on which one builds on.
So, the next time you are watching a Bharatanatyam performance, I am sure it would be very easy to identify these 5 aspects that occure repeatedly.
Starting from any of these as the base position, the adavu involves well-coordinated movement of the body.
Since this is intended to be a concise volume in understanding the form of bharatanatyam, let us stop our discussion on Adavu presently and move on to the next concept. We shall certainly take on a detailed study of adavus later.