Natyadharmi And Lokdharmi

In the world of Indian performing arts, there are two key ideas called Natyadharmi and Lokdharmi, as outlined in the Natya Shastra by the sage Bharata Muni. But before we dive into what makes them different, let’s understand the concept of ‘dharmi’. Back in the days of Bharata, ‘dharm’ didn’t just mean religious rules; it included the good qualities and habits that make a person who they are.

Have you ever watched a dance performance or a play and wondered how the performers create such magical worlds on stage? Well, in the world of Indian performing arts, there are two fascinating techniques called Natyadharmi and Lokdharmi that make it all happen. Let’s dive into what these terms mean and how they shape the stories we see on stage.

Understanding Dharmi

First things first, let’s talk about ‘dharmi’. Back in ancient times, ‘dharm’ wasn’t just about following religious rules. It was more about the qualities and habits that define a person – like being kind, honest, or respectful. When these qualities become a natural part of someone’s character, we call them ‘dharmi’ Now that we’ve got that, let’s explore Natyadharmi and Lokdharmi a bit more.


This is all about dance! Imagine watching a dancer gracefully move across the stage, without using any props, yet making you feel like you’re in a whole different world. That’s Natyadharmi magic! Through their expressions and movements, dancers can create vivid images of rivers, gardens, or even rainy days, capturing the audience’s imagination. For instance, in Kathak dance, when performers depict stories like Radha Krishna without any props, that’s Natyadharmi at work.


On the flip side, we have Lokdharmi, which is more about plays and acting. Here, it’s all about using physical objects and props to bring stories to life. Picture actors donning costumes, holding props, and moving around on stage to make scenes look real. Unlike Natyadharmi, which relies on expressions and gestures, Lokdharmi uses tangible things to help tell the story.

Natyadharmi is like painting a picture with dance moves and expressions, while Lokdharmi is more like building a scene with props and costumes. Both techniques are super important in Indian performing arts, adding layers of richness and excitement to the stories we love to watch on stage. Whether it’s the mesmerizing grace of Natyadharmi or the immersive realism of Lokdharmi, these techniques continue to enchant audiences and keep the magic of performing arts alive!

Natyadharmi is like the magic of storytelling through dance, especially in styles like Kathak. Instead of using props or objects, dancers use their expressions and movements to paint pictures and tell stories. Picture this: a dancer gracefully gliding across the stage, making you feel like you’re in a whole new world – that’s Natyadharmi in action!

They can make you see rivers flowing, gardens blooming, or even royal courts bustling with activity, all without using any physical objects. Imagine feeling the sensation of rain soaking clothes, even though there’s no actual water – that’s how powerful Natyadharmi can be!

In Kathak, there are sequences called Gat-Bhav, like Radha Krishna chedchad or Matki gat, where dancers bring intricate stories and emotions to life without needing any props. It’s all about the skill and artistry of the dancer, making you feel every emotion and scene without relying on anything else.

Natya Dharmi and Lok Dharmi

Natyadharmi and Lokdharmi are like two sides of a coin in Indian performing arts. Natyadharmi is all about the skill and emotion of the performer, using expressions and movements to create vivid images without needing physical objects. On the other hand, Lokdharmi is about using props and tangible things to make scenes look real and immersive.

Both Natyadharmi and Lokdharmi have their own challenges and opportunities. Natyadharmi lets performers showcase their artistry and connect deeply with the audience, while Lokdharmi creates a more tangible experience by using props and costumes.

In the end, both Natyadharmi and Lokdharmi play vital roles in India’s cultural heritage. They enrich the world of performing arts, offering different ways for artists to express themselves and captivate audiences for generations to come.

About the Author: – Neha Khunteta

Neha Khunteta is a highly experienced Kathak dancer and trainer with over 15 years of experience. She is the founder of Kathak By Neha, one of the Best Kathak Dance Academies. With her profound expertise and experience, Neha has established herself as one of the foremost educators in Kathak.

If you are interested in learning more about Kathak dance or finding out about Neha’s upcoming workshops and classes, please visit her website or contact her through the details provided in the blog.

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