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Bhangas (Postures)

Bhangas (Postures)

There is something most important which adds beauty to the bharatanatyam dance. These are nothing but the ideal postures. The ideal postures of the body are described in the Shilpa sastra and are called the Bhangas.

There are four types of bhangas:

• Abhanga
• Samabhanga
• Atibhanga
• Tribhanga

The basic theory of bharatanatyam assumes the entire body to be a mass which is equally divided along an imaginary line (Brahma sutra) that passes through the centre of the body. While dancing, at any stage of the dance if the body is perfectly balanced about the brahmasutra then the Samabhanga posture is attained. When there is slight imbalance about the brahmasutra then the Abhanga posture arises. Atibhanga is the great diagonal bend in the torso with knees bent. Tribhanga is the triple bend in the body with one hip raised, torso curved to the opposite side and the head tilted at an angle that gives a gentle S shape which is most graceful posture. It is believed that Lord Krishna adopted this posture while upholding the Govardhana Mountain (This story is mentioned in the Dasavatara Hastas/Krishna hasta).