Khandi and Arasas



Khandi is the smallest unit of movement. It is the beginning of movement from either the standing position in the samapada or the tribhangi or the chauka.

As in BharatNatyam, the movements are executed first from the right side and then from the left side. The dancer is taught to hold one half of the body static and to move the other half either through leg extension or leg contractions or through crossing front or back. Later each movement is practiced by relating to rhythm effort, strong or soft.

The khandhs are primary movements beginning with categories, place, exploring space in all directions. Some are based only on the samapada and tribhanga, Others combine samapada, tribhanga and the chauka. All are executed to the accompaniment of mnemonics called Ukkata. They are executed in a given metrical cycle of 4,5,6,7,8 or 9 beats. Further refinement can be brought by divinding th 8 beat cycle into different segments; eg- 4,2 and 2; or 3,3 and 2 ; or 3,4 and 1. Each time a new movement emerges.


Arasas is the next unit comprising of the khandis. The khandis are used in various combinations and permutations to form Arasas just like various Adavus form Tirmanams in BharatNatyam. The principle is the same, beginning with the smallest unit, combinations are made of words and phrases and then sentences; all contained within the parameters of the metrical cycle.

Belis and Palis

Khandis and Arasas are used to form dances sequencs called the Belis and Palis. Belis are longer sections of nritta whereas the Palis are the finale sequences which are in triplets like the tihais in BharatNatyam.