Duration: Years 1-3
The foundation of Bharata Natyam training is developed through learning Adavus. which encompass all of the basic grounding vocabulary. Students learn two pure-dance repertory items: an invocatory item as well as Jatiswaram. Additionally, the Natya School focuses on posture and balance to give students a deeper awareness of the body, coordination and motor skills, and comprehension of basic rhythm. Level I culminates with knowledge of Mudras, the Single and Double handed gestures. Students start Abhinaya training during the summer intensive camp, offered to students in the third year of Level 1.
Duration: Years 4-6
Dancers develop strength and tone as they work towards mastering their Adavus.
Skills increase in speed and rhythm through more complicated sequences, and students are introduced to abhinaya expressional dance. They will learn 8 to 10 dances. By the end of Level II, students have begun their journey to understanding the theory of Bharata Natyam over the next several years and develop Angasudham (clean body lines and movement). From Year 4 onward, students are eligible for enrollment in summer camp.
Duration: Years 7-9
Dancers develop excellence in their athletic movements, technical precision and have the endurance to complete longer, 20-30 minute pieces, and advanced dances that engage deeper abhinaya (expression) and substantial choreography thru Varnams, Shiva Tandavams and demanding Thillanas. At this level, dancers have the opportunity to perform outside of the school, at NDT company venues and outreach programs. Level 3 culminates with a full Margam, which is intended to demonstrate the dancer's advancement in performance, including advancement in discipline and integrity expression and attitude. Advancement to Level 4 requires delivery of strength and accuracy.
Duration: Years 10-13
The Natya School philosophy continues to teach pieces thru which we challenge dancers, while honing their skills technically and emotionally with increased rigor of choreography and abhinaya, increased depth of expression. Dancers are taught from a wealth of Natya's work as they work on pada varnams (2-3), padams, javalis, ashtapadis, various thillanas, and tandavams. Dancers may be invited to audition to be a part of the apprentice company, which offers performance opportunities with the NDT touring company. Beginning with level 5, students become candidates to perform an Arangetram, dependent upon their development in all skill areas. The Arangetram is a culminating solo performance that defines their potential artistic passage to the professional level.
At the advanced level, dancers receive ongoing one on one training with the Artistic Director and Associate Artistic Director to facilitate solo work, company work, and development as a teacher. This level focuses on working with the directors to deepen the development of a dancer's art. Mentorship is available and encouraged for all dancers at the professional level, including those trained at Natya and elsewhere.