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Akshiptaka – Body Posture In Hindu Classical Dance

Akshiptaka is used in Hindu classical dances such as Bharatanatyam, Kathakali, Odissi and Kuchipudi. It is one of a set of graceful movements of the limbs (angaharas) which are thirty two in number. One hundred and eight positions of the body which combine movement of hands and legs (karana) and movements of the neck, hand, waist and foot (recaka) are integral parts of the angahara. Karana and recaka add to the beauty of angahara and act as transitory movements which fill the pause between two body positions.

Angaharas are used in preliminary dance movements at the commencement of a dance drama (purva ranga). Forceful, vigorous movements are performed by men and soft, delicate movements are performed by women.

In akshiptaka the dancer’s body is lowered, with the feet in the turned-out position and the knees half bent (armandi). The right foot, raised slightly, rests on the toes, with the left hand resting lightly on the chest between the breasts. The palm of the right hand rests on the upper part of the right thigh. This posture is used by dancers while moving sideways, performing nritta (abstract, non-representational dance) or nritya (expressive dance). It is a dynamic posture rather than a static pose. The head its held high with the gaze focused straight ahead. The face either has a calm expression with a smile or a change of expression according to the mood of the dance. The body assumes a square shape, creating a beautiful stance which is symmetrical and formal.