Bharatnatyam Dance is considered to be over 2000 years old. Several texts beginning with Bharata Muni’s Natya Shastra provide information on this dance form. The Abhinaya Darpana by Nandikesvara is one of the main sources of textual material, for the study of the technique and grammar of body movement in Bharatnatyam Dance.
This ancient dance form has been nurtured in Tamil Nadu and most likely derived from the Sadir – the solo dance performances by the devdasis ( the temple dancers).
There is also a great deal of visual evidence of this dance form in paintings and stone and metal sculptures of ancient times. On the gopurams of the Chidambaram temple, one can see a series of Bharatnatyam poses, frozen in stone as it were, by the sculptor. In many other temples, the charis and karanas of the dance are represented in sculpture and one can make a study of the dance form.