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Akasha Bhramari – Posture In Indian Marital Dance – Rotation Of Body In Air


Akasha Bhramari is the rotation of the dancer’s body in mid-air. It is a posture in some Indian martial dances. Akasha stands for sky and bhramari denotes rotation of the body. In this dance movement, the body leaps vertically upwards with the legs of the dancer spreading into a horizontal line, while the body is momentarily suspended in space before reaching the floor.

It is performed primarily by male actors and dancers who use vigorous, masculine movements during the dance performances. They perform this aerial feat as nrtta (part of abstract, non-representational dance) and nritya (dance that evokes a mood or feeling).

Akasha Bhramari is used to express intense emotions like elation or fury in a given dance sequence. A seasoned performer is able to move through all the three levels of space – high, mid or low while improvising.

According to the Natya Shastra (ancient Indian treatise on dramaturgy and histrionics), there are seven kinds of Bhramaris – many of these are performed in Odissi (classical dance form of Odisha).

Akasha Bhramari is rarely performed by classical dancers; it can be witnessed in dance forms like Mayurbhanj Chau (marital dance of Odisha), Kathakali (classical dance-drama of Kerala and Yakshagana (folk dance-drama of Karnataka).

The dancer’s flight begins with sthanaka position (body standing straight with feet close together) which is used to take off and make a leap into space. The dancer returns back to sthanaka (the original position) after the legs split with a midair rotation. This movement is also typical of classical ballet in the West, performed by both male and female dancers.

Notes taken from Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume I page 142 – IHRF




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