The Nāṭyaśāstra is a detailed Sanskrit text on performing arts, including dance, music, poetics, aesthetics and stage construction. It is attributed to the sage Bharata Muni and dated approximately between 400 BC and 400 CE. The principles are set out in 36 chapters. For dancers the codification and classification of movements and how to use them are substantial. During the time many commentaries on the Nāṭyaśāstra have been written. One among them is the Abhinayadarpaṇa of Nandikeśvara. Further on it deals with the subject of aesthetics- the bhāva-rāsa theory which is essential for all performing artists.

English translations of the Nāṭyaśāstra and Abhinayadarpaṇa are available and recommended for the dance students.

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