IAS General Studies Prelims Question No. 109

A typical performance of bharatanatyam lasts for about two hours and consists of six parts. Which among the following is the concluding part?
[A] Allarippu
[B] Jatisvaram
[C] Varnam
[D] Tillana
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[D] Tillana
A performance of bharatanatyam lasts for about two hours and consists of six parts

  1. Allarippu: This literally means “to decorate with flowers”. It is the devotional prologue that shows off the elegance and grace of the dancer.
  2. Jatisvaram: The second part is jatisvaram, a brilliant blaze of jatis (“dance phrases”) with svaras (“musical sounds”).
  3. Shabdam: Shabdam is singing words that prepare the dancer to interpret through abhinaya (gesture language) interspersed with pure dance.
  4. Varnam: The fourth part is varnam, a combination of expressive and pure dance.
  5. Padams: Padams are songs in Telegu, Tamil, or Kannada that the dancer dramatizes by facial expressions and hand gestures. The accompanying singer chants the line again and again, and the dancer enacts the clashing and contrasting meanings. Her virtuosity consists of exhausting all possible shades of suggestion.
  6. Tillana: The performance ends with tillana, a pure dance accompanied by meaningless musical syllables chanted to punctuate the rhythm. The dancer explodes into leaps and jumps forward and backward, from right and left, in a state of ecstasy. Tillana ends with three clangs of the cymbals while the dancer executes a triple blaze of jatis, thumping her feet with a jingling flourish of ankle bells.