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Gati in Dance as per Natyashastra and Abhinaya Darpanam – Different Ways of Walking


Gati as per Natyashastra is the different ways or speeds of walking and stepping. Type of steps, walking and the tempo are to be adopted depending upon the nature of the characters and situations. Gati can also be described as Gait - the rate of moving (especially walking or running) or a person's manner of walking or moving.

Natyashastra gives separate gait for men and women. Gati adds up to the gracefulness and aesthetic value of the dane.

Natyashastra also mentions the gait to be employed according to the sentiment. For example, when one is in love and walking with his or her beloved, the step should be slow and silent. Movement should be furtive and circumspect, looking around at the slightest noise, and the actor should falter in his or her steps frequently.

Abhinaya Darpanam, another treatise on dance, mentions ten kinds of Gati. This is listed under Gati
Bheda. They are:
  1. Hamagati – Goose Gait
  2. Mayuragati – Peacock steps
  3. Mrigagati – Movement of deer
  4. Gajalilagati – Elephant steps
  5. Turanginigati – Horse gait
  6. Simhagati – Walking like a lion
  7. Bhujangagati – Slithering like a snake
  8. Mandukagati – Jumping or hopping like a frog
  9. Viragati – Walking like a victor or hero
  10. Manavagati – Normal human walking.
The gati plays an important role in dance. If the gait is not employed properly, the entire dance piece will look sloppy and would not have the desired effect on the audience. The appropriate gestures will not save a dance piece if the gati is not proper.






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