Traditional Nattuvanars and Gurus

NATTUVANGAM is a Tamil word i.e. Natta + Angam. Natta means dancer or Dance Performance and Angam means body or main operating or controlling centre. The combination of this two is called Nattuvangam. In other words a Dancer for presenting dance with aesthetic effect always tries to keep link with Nattuvangam. This effort by a dancer brings harmony for total attraction which ultimately leaves lasting effect in the mind audience. A good Nattuvangam is recognised by qualities like, melodious singing giving aesthetic effect to valuable meaning of words coming in song, keeping link with calculative and time bound rhythm, having soft and hard touch understanding in `sollukattu\' and creating harmony with expression by dancer through eyes and body languages and also powerful footwork with attractive choreography. Thus all such qualities are to be developed by a good Nattuvanar, who plays the Nattuvangam (Tattakali-Stick and wooden block) with melodious singing, controlling the tempo (laya) of the dance and conducting the dance orchestra. This is a very difficult task. He should have the knowledge of Music, Percussion and Literature. A good Nattuvangam does not need separate singing, but Nattuvanar himself is capable to sing perfectly creating harmony with dance performance and he is also very clear about Bha - Ra - Ta, means Bhava, Raga and Tala. Now a days such Nattuvanars are rare. Engaging a separate singer for dance performance in addition to Nattuvangam is nothing but creating the dirtiest adulteration in best qualitative performance of dance. A good singer without knowledge of dance is always trying to show his singing ability only which is always found in distorted condition for best performance of dance as he is not having any understanding of dance. The role of Nattuvanar is found similar to role played by a director in Films. The Director is not much exposed before spectators but his role is considered to be most valuable and effective. In the same way a good dance performance is possible only by an effective role of Nattuvanar. His work is involved right from the primary stage to final stage i.e. upto performance so far as Training and Shaping of a dancer is concerned. So this is the real logic of Nattuvangam, we have to understand.