Warm-up training and introduction to the movement repertoire of Bharatanatyam with Adavu training (basic steps and combinations) form the main focus of the masterclass as well as the learning and practising of the hand positions, which are partly decorative and in descriptive dance each have specific meanings. The dancing is barefoot.
Bharatanatyam is the classical dance of South India, which developed out of the semi-ritual dance of the devadasis, the temple dancers, and from the rules of classical Indian theatre. In the Vedas, the collection of the oldest Indian writings, the gods and goddesses are compared with dancers. The highest absolute manifests himself as Siva-Nataraja, lord of the dance, whose dance represents world creation, preservation and destruction. Bharatanatyam is an image of the eternal cosmic dance and the expression of human desire for union with the absolute. With regard to the technique and present-day performance practice, one can best compare Bharatanatyam to classical ballet, although the movement alphabet and the content of classical Indian dance are fundamentally different from ballet. The repertoire of Bharatanatyam owes its form to four famous musicians and dance masters from Tanjore, South India, from the 18th century (the Tanjore quartet). It includes abstract and narrative dance in a particular sequence.
Radha Anjali started her dance training at the age of nine. She learnt Indian dance in private tuition, and classical ballet and modern dance at the Vienna Conservatory, as well as in the Pfundmayr-Tagunoff ballet school. She acquired basic knowledge of national dance, flamenco, and Graham and Chladek technique through her participation in several summer courses for dance at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. In 1978, Radha Anjali met the Indian dancer Kama Dev. Impressed by his personality and his teaching method, she immersed herself completely in the classical South Indian dance style. She received her foundation training from Kama Dev. In Chennai/India, Radha Anjali studied under Adyar K. Lakshman in his Bharata Choodamani Academy of Fine Arts and with Kalanidhi Narayanan at her Abhinaya Sudha institute. Radha Anjali joined his Kama Dev Indian Dance Company as Kama Dev’s dance partner and gave equally successful solo performances at home and abroad. In the course of her training she also concerned herself with Kuchipudi dance, with Kathak and the Seraikella Chhau masked dance. Radha Anjali teaches at the sports institute of the University of Vienna and gives seminars and lecture demonstrations in other institutes such as Tanz*Hotel and WienXtra, and in Amsterdam, Eindhoven, The Hague, Paris, Kraków, Ghent, Istanbul, Cyprus, Berne, the University of Kraków and Vilnius, KinderUni Steyr and in her own dance school Natya Mandir. As a dancer she is just as successful in traditional Bharatanatyam as in her own choreographies, which bring modern and cross-cultural elements into classical Indian dance.