IITA

 

அனைத்துலகத் தமிழ்க்கலை நிறுவகம்

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As mentioned already, Silappadikäram gives a fund of information about the music and dance of the ancient Tamils 2000 years back. While giving the necessary qualifications of the ideal dance master in ‘Arang­eru Kadai’, Silappadikãra;n mentions that an ideal master must have thorough knowledge of the characteristics of the 2 broad divisions of Ahakkoothu and Purakkoothu.

 

When conducting the 2 general varieties of dance Ahakkoothu and Purakkoothu that include the songs, the tales and their combinations, he should have an eye upon the movements with the single and double hands, beauty hands and expressive hands known as Pindi and Pinayal, Ezhirkai and Thozhirkai respectively. The Ahakkoothu and Purakkoothu referred to by Ilango Adigal are only the Nritta and Nritya aspects of Bharatanatyam which are the 2 major aspects of this great art.

 

Purakkoothu or Nritta is pure dance which consists of movements of the body and limbs which are performed to create beauty and decorative effect and not to convey any specific meaning or idea to the beholder.

 

Ahakkoothu or Nritya on the other hand is dance with facial expressions. i.e. a dance which is performed specifically to convey the meaning or import of a theme or an idea to the beholder. This Nritya is accomplished through the use of suggestive facial expressions and codified gestures of the hands. The Pindi and Pinayal mentioned here are the single handed gestures or Asamyuta Hastas and double handed gestures or Samyuta Hastas.

 

The Pindi or single handed gestures are 28 in number and they are: — Pataka, Tripataka, Ardha-Pataka. Kartari-Mukha, Mayura, Ardha-chandra, Arala, Sukatunda. Mushti. Sikjara. Kapittha. Kataka-Muk­ha. Suci, Chandra-kala. Padma-kosa, Sarpa-sirsa, Mrga-sirsha, Simha­Mukha, Kangula. Sola-padma, Chatura, Bhramara. Hamsasya. Hamsa­paksha, Samdamsa, Mukula, Tamrachuda. Trisula.

 

The Pinayal or double-handed gestures which are 24 in number are Anjali Kapotha, Kar­kata, Swastika, Dolahasta. Pushpa puta. Utsanga. Sivalinga, Katakavar­dhana, Kartari-Swastika, Sakata. Sanku, Chakra, Samouta, Pasa, Kilaka, Matsya. Kurrna. Veraha, Garuda, Nagabanda. Khadva, Berunda, Avhit­din.

 

Of these 28 and 24 hand gestures. only some are used while performing the pure dance or Purakkodoothu. Such of those hand gestures that are used in Pure Dance as ornamental adjuncts are called 'Ezhirkai’ (hand used to create beauty) and all those that are employed for expressing some idea or meaning are called ‘Thozhirkai’ as they serve the purpose of conveying an idea. Thus, while the ‘Thozhirkai’ are 28 plus 24 52 in number, used in the Nritya aspect of Bharatanatyam, ‘Ezhirkai’ are comparatively less in number. i.e. 13 in number as they serve only as ornamental adjuncts.

 

The dance master should see that pure dance does not get mixed up with dance with expressions and vice versa, and he should not mix-up the foot movements of the Kuravaikkoothu with those of Varikkoothu.

 

On the other hand, a dancer had to undergo rigorous training for 7 years starting from her 5th year in music and dance. She was expected to be able to sing songs composed in foreign languages as well as play on the Yal, flute and drum. This compares well with the verse in the Abhinava Darpana’.

 

vanakkam

 

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