Abhinaya or facial expressions is a quintessential aspect of Indian classical dance. It allows the dancer to convey stories or even present the inert personality of a character sans dialogues. Popularly know as the Navarasas, these facial expressions are convey a range of emotions – such as shringaram or love, haasyam or laughter, karunam or compassion, roudram or anger, veeram or courage, bhayaanakam or fear, bheebhatsyam or disgust, adbhutam or wonder, and Shaantham or peace.
Jayashree Varma, a former student of the late Kathakali exponent – Guru Kunju Kurup – demonstrates seven of these raasas.
Kathakali is an ancient style of classical dance. It is over a 1000 years old and is often referred to as a form of theatre or dance drama.