The correlation between Dance and Yoga – Dr.Vasundhara Doraswamy

As it is a universal fact that any form of dance involves a lot of physical movements and requires a certain degree of fitness depending on the corresponding style. Yoga involves a lot of breathing exercises and stretching exercises [asanas] which would enhance balance, spirituality, stamina and flexibility - the four most basic requirements for a dancer. Bharatanatyam is a dance form which involves both nritha [bodily movements] and abhinaya [facial expressions] - both of these playing equally important roles. I believe that it is very important for a successful performing artist to be at a fitness level that enables him/her to perform nritha at the same degree of intensity and let the abhinaya flow freely overpowering the constantly produced fatigue. Vinyasa, which is a major part of Ashtanga yoga, plays an extremely important role as itself in Bharatanatyam as the free flow and connection between poses and movements is as important as the pose or the movement itself.This can be achieved, by regular practice of Yoga. This can be achieved, by regular practice of Yoga. I have taken many of these various asanas from yoga and have been successful in blending them in my dance compositions.

Over my years of teaching and performing both Bharatanatyam and Yoga, I have discovered the millions of ways they overlap complementing each other. Strong core muscles keep your back healthy. They hold your body upright, improve your balance allowing you to move your arms and legs freely.  If the core muscles are weak, your body won`t work effectively, and other muscles have to pick up the slack. An intense performance that requires quality nritha can be quite taxing to say the least on a dancer, and holding ones balance with the fatigue building up, needs stong core support, and excellent breath management to prolongue the endurance, which can be achieved by regular yoga practice.

My yoga training for over 30 yrs now has been a major factor in me tasting success in Bharatanatyam, my advice to any budding artist would be to take this blend which would prove a success factor in a prospering career.

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