Krishna in Bharatanatyam and Other Dance Forms.

Article by Mallika Madduri , Australia

In Bharatanatyam
Ashtapadi : These are poet Jayadeva’s Sanskrit compositions called Geetagovinda, an extremely romantic composition. It describes the love of Krishna and Radha in twelve cantos containing 24 songs. The songs are sung by Krishna or Radha or by Radha’s maid. Each Canto is named differently considering Krishna’s status of mind.
Saamodadamodara – Joyful Krishna
Aakleshakeshava – Careless Krishna
Mugdhamadhusoodhana – Bewildered Krishna
Snigdhamadhusoodhana – Tender Krishna
Saakankshapundareekaksha – Longing Krishna
Kuntavaikunta – Indolent Krishna
Naagaranaaraayana – Cunning Krishna
Vilakshalakshmeepatihi – Abashed Krishna
Mandamukunda – Languishing Krishna
Chaturachaturbhuja – Intellegent Krishna
Saanandadamodara – Blissful Krishna
Supreetapeetambara – Ecstatic Krishna
Expressions are given foremost importance while performing these poems. Needs lot of grace. The artist should be mature enough to understand the lyrics and the situation to show the rasas.
Apart from the above very well known knowledge, there are instances of Krishna dancing on Kalindi, though I am cannot answer type of dance and related enquires, I think it was just a joyful dance of a kid who achieved a great deal for that age. Most of his dances in his teenage and youth are in ‘shringara rasa’ only and are primarily lasya based. Here, I am not talking of compositions on Krishna, but specific instances in mythology where he actually dances.
The dance forms like Manipuri, Odissi or Kathak are mostly non-existant without the topic – Krishna. Odissi, for instance, uses ‘mayura hasta’. Or take the extreme lasya based Manipuri. Kathak is full of ‘taranas’ on Krishna’s rasa leela and most famous too.
So much is Krishna a part of dance repertoire that a complete margam with nava rasas can be and I believe, are done on him.

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