Basic terms


Abhinayam and its aspects :-

Abhinaya is the art of expression. It is the medium of presentation by which one can convey one's ideas and the feelings to others without speech but by means of mudras, mime, facial expression and movements of the body. Bharata explains "exhibiting the meaning of that which is expressed in 'Abhi' meaning forward and "nayam" meaning to lead forward the characteristics of a character is abhinayam."

Abhinayam is of four kinds.
Angika Abhinayam
Vachika Abhinayam
Aharya Abhinayam
Sattvika Abhinayam


Angika abhinayam: This abhinayam is so called because it is related to the body as a whole.It is expressed through angas, pratyangas and upangas. Hence it is called angika abhinaya.

Vachika abhinaya : This kind of abhinaya has a place with regard to kavya, which are made up of "speech". The music is real vachika abhinaya which is the most essential part of a dance. Apart from the beauty, voice clarity is necessary in dance and music so that the audience can hear and comprehend each word of the song.It expresses the rasa or emotions through words in melodious sound. This is very essential for dance since it conveys the meaning of gestures used in natya then only can it be called vachika abhinaya.

Aharya abhinaya : This is expression through decoration such as costumes, ornaments or make up. In aharya abhinayam dresses should be worn according to the sentiments and colour. Also, with suitable ornaments. Ornaments and dresses should be light in weight.This is for the comfort of the dancer.

Sattvika Abhinaya : This comes from the quality of "Sattva" (purity). In sattvika abhinaya the state of mind is natural emotion such as crying, horripulation, perspiration, change of voice, change of colour, fainting, trembling, tears etc.In other words Sattvika abhinaya can express the real natural emotion caused by external events.

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