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Adhara Bhedas – Movement Of The Lower Lip In Dance

Adhara Bhedas is the movement of the lower lip in dance. Indian classical dance consists of two parts – nritta (pure dance) and nritya with abhinaya (dancing with miming and gesticulation).

Facial expressions in nritya with gestures express emotions. Natyashastra (200 BCE to 200 CE) contains a detailed analysis of the movements of angas (major limbs) and upangas (minor limbs) of the body. According to this classification, the head, hands, chest, sides (waist) and feet constitute the angas; adhara (lower lip) along with eyes, eyebrows, nose, chin and mouth constitute the upangas.

The lower lip movements referred to as adhara bheda are important in angika abhinaya (the representation of feelings) like love, humor, pathos, courage, fear, disgust and wonder.

Natyashastra mentions six different kinds of lower lip movements, generally used in nritya as well as a dramatic enactment.

Khandana – depicted through frequent meeting of lips as in the case of talking, singing or eating.

Cuksita – helps to denote surprise by holding the lips apart.

Lehita – moving the tongue over the lips as if removing the saliva.

Sama – marks the natural position of lips, slightly apart while performing a pure dance.

Dasta – biting of the lower lip when the dancer emotes anger or fear

Kuttana – throbbing movement of lips with chattering teeth as in the case of people suffering from cold.

Natyashastra describes six other varieties of lower lip movements. They are –

Vivartana – downward narrowing movement of the lower lip used by the dancer while enacting physical pain, contempt, jealousy and laziness.

Kampana – trembling of the lips due to a character being angry, feeling cold, or frightened

Visarga – horizontal spreading out of lips like those of the heroine who acts indifferently or does so while applying paint on the lower lip

Vinigohana – drawing in of the lips when an actor makes an effort to conceal a feeling or hide a secret.

Sandastaka – the movement of teeth biting the lower lip which is done to express anger, envy or fear.

Samudgaka – the simultaneous action of joining and moving the lips together while kissing, feeling compassionate or greeting someone.

Lip movements, while lending grace and meaning to dance, require a professional skill for their accurate presentation.