Bharata Natyam also spelled Bharatanatyam, is a classical Indian dance form that originated in the temples of Tamil Nadu. This dance form denotes various 19th- and 20th-century reconstructions of Sadir, the art of temple dancers called Devadasis. It was described in the treatise Natya Shastra by Bharata around the beginning of the common era. Bharata Natyam is known for its grace, purity, tenderness, expression and sculpturesque poses. Lord Shiva is considered the God of this dance form. Today, it is one of the most popular and widely performed dance styles and is practised by male and female dancers all over the world.
Bharata Natyam is considered to be a fire-dance — the mystic manifestation of the metaphysical element of fire in the human body. It is one of the five major styles (one for each element) that include Odissi (element of water), Kuchipudi (element of earth), Mohiniattam (element of air) and Kathakali (element of sky or aether). The movements of an authentic Bharata Natyam dancer resemble the movements of a dancing flame.