Navarasa - Nine Emotions

In Bharatanatyam (Indian Classical Dance), a solo performer is able to present numerous different characters, despite their gender (ekaharya performance). 

To look into this, I saw Leela Samson's Navrasa (Nine emotions) performance. The major character portrayed by Leela Samson is Lord Rama, a Hindu deity who is also an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Leela Samson's Navarasa

The dance is divided into nine distinct parts each one depicting a significant emotion:

1. SHRINGARA – Happiness and Love
Through this emotion she shows the birth and growth of Goddess Sita (Lord Rama’s spouse) into a beautiful princess; and her marriage to Lord Rama. Her elegant movements clearly show her delight.

2. VEERA – Valour
Through this emotion she shows how Lord Rama breaks the Shiva Dhanush (Mighty Bow) to marry goddess Sita. At first, Lord Rama is shown to be very serene and composed, and after breaking the bow, contented.

3. KARUNYA – Pity
Through this emotion she shows how Lord Rama pardons a demon who tried to hurt goddess Sita in the forest during their fourteen year exile.

4. ADBHUTA – Wonder and Surprise
Through this emotion she shows how Lord Rama was surprised by the strength and will power of the monkeys that created the bridge of stones on the mighty ocean to reach Lanka where the demon Ravana had held goddess Sita captive.

5. HASYA – Laughter/Mirth
Through this emotion she shows how Lord Rama, amused by the disfigurement of the demon Surpanaka, Ravana’s sister, who tried to woo him.

6. BHAYANKA – Fear
Through this emotion she shows how Lord Rama though fears nothing, shuns qualities such as greed, lust and pride.

7. BHIBATSA – Disgust
Through this emotion she shows Lord Rama’s love for his wife by shunning other women. At first she looks at the other woman with disgust as they try to woo him (Lord Rama), and she refuses their love and tells them of goddess Sita, his only love.

8. ROUDRA – Anger
Through this emotion she shows Lord Rama’s anger while killing the demon Ravana.

9. SHANTAM – Peace
Through this emotion she shows the coronation of Lord Rama as the King of Ayodhya in Pattabhishekha, after his exile of fourteen years.