The Elements of dance

When it comes to dance, it is not just a dance but a performance that is why dance is said to be a performing art. It not only includes a song or steps but it is a formation likewise composition in music. A complete dance performance includes many elements such as:

  • Laya (Rythym/ Tempo)
  • Taal (Beats)
  • Emotion (Bhaav)
  • Acting (Abhinaya)
  • Body movements
  • Costume
  • Space
  • Timing

A Dance performance is said to be beautiful when it fulfills all the above requisites:

1.Laya: Laya is rhythm in the music. It is the tempo of the rhythm which means a difference of timing between two components. Let’s understand with teental in Indian Classical music whose nodes are:

धा धिन धिन धा

So the gap between reaching from one node to another i.e. dha (धा) to dhin (धिन) is laya.

Laya is of three types: Vilambit (slow), Madhya (Medium), Drut (Fast) according to Indian Classical music, or dance.

2. Taal: Taal is beats in the music. In Indian Music there are many Taal like Teentaal, ektaal, chautaal, rupak etc. Taal is the way to measure the timing of the music. For example in teental there are 16 counts and each has been divided into four sections means 16 divided by 4 i.e. 4 sections to easily understand and recognize the beat or taal of the music.

3. Expression (Bhav): Literal meaning of Bhav is emotion. It is a very essential element of dance, to bring the emotion of the song in the heart of a dancer.

4. Acting (Abhinaya): Bhav is emotion and Abhinaya is its expression means bringing emotion on face and in body language. Blank face can not let the dancer to connect to the audience. This element of Dance will tell the entire story of the performance. The crucial part of any dance is to connect with the audience and the dancer can reach out to the audience through depiction.

5. Body movements: It is very important to move the body (eyes, neck, chest, eyebrows, waist, and legs) in such a way that it leaves the impact of the dance and helps to narrate the entire story of the performance.

6. Costume: Costume is the first impression of any performance. It is crucial that the costume of any dance must compliment the performance. Costume must be of light weight to handle. Colour, texture, pattern, and design must be related to the act.

7. Space: Space is the availability of the stage to the dancer. How much a dancer can cover the entire space of the stage by traveling and using the entire space in synchronization with the elements of dance.

8.Timing: Timing is really valuable not only in an act but also in dance. The right element of dance and the correct timing is important. It is said that dance according to rhythm is essential for example: Music and beat of the song is going somewhere and dance is going somewhere is absolutely not right which refers to movements of dance according to timing in relationship with laya(rhythm/tempo, taal (beats) and other elements of dance.

FAQ’S Related Dance: The Elements Of Dance

What a dancer need to do to bring all these elements in the performance?

First and foremost riyaaz i.e. practice is necessary. A dancer should set a time table for continuous practice. And to complement this dancers need to follow a proper diet and exercise. The body is an integral part of the dance and needs to be cared for.

About the Author: – Neha Khunteta

She is a Kathak Artist and has been associated with it for more than 10 years and the founder of Kathak By Neha the best Kathak dance academy in Jaipur.

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