Alarippu is the shortest and the simplest item of a BharatNatyam Recital. It is an invocatory piece where in the dancer pays her obeisance to the Gods, the Guru and the assembly of the onlookers.
Alar, Alaru is a Dravidian word and in most Dravidian languages, the verbal form means ‘to blossom’. Alarippu literally means ‘flowering’, that is, opening of the body and limbs to get prepared to execute more difficult pieces to be taken up subsequently.
Hence it is a short piece with simple poses and movements in an equally simple tune and rhythm. It is a piece of 3-5 minutes duration and is preceded by a shloka or a verse. Alarippu is valuable in freeing the dancer from distraction and making her single-mindedness. In Alarippu which is based on rhythm (Taala) alone, the dancer takes leave of her subjective consciousness and identifies herself with the universal consciousness.