Nritya, Nṛtyā, Nṛtya: 29 definitions


Nritya means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Marathi, Hindi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

The Sanskrit terms Nṛtyā and Nṛtya can be transliterated into English as Nrtya or Nritya, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

Alternative spellings of this word include Nraty.

Images (photo gallery)

In Hinduism

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

Nṛtya (नृत्य, “dance”) is a Sanskrit technical term used in plays and dramas (nāṭya), as explained in the Nāṭyaśāstra.

Source: Google Books: Dhanapāla and His Times (arts and learning)

Nṛtya (नृत्य, “dance”).—Various types of dances, namely, ‘tāṇḍava’, ‘nāṭya’, ‘lāsya’, ‘prekṣā’ and ‘lāghava’ are mentioned in Tilakamañjarī. Someśvara in his Mānasollāsa has referred to six types of dances: viz., ‘nāṭya’, ‘lāsya’, ‘tāṇḍava’, ‘laghava’, ‘viṣama’ and ‘vikaṭa’. We hear of ‘veśyārāsa-maṇḍalīs’ (a party of courtesans who performed circular dance, imitating the dance of Kṛṣṇa) in Tilaka-mañjarī.

Source: The mirror of gesture (abhinaya-darpana)

Nṛtya is that form of dance which possesses flavour, mood, and suggestion (rasa, bhāva, vyañjanā etc.), and the like. Nātya and Nṛtya should be seen especially at festivals. Nṛtya at coronations, celebrations, processions of men or gods, marriages, reunion of friends, entry into towns or houses, the birth of children, and all auspicious occasions, by those who desire fortune. Nṛtya should be seen by a royal audience in the courts of kin.

Nṛtta and Nṛtya constitute as a separate art. The ordinary performance of a nācnī (nautch-girl, bayadere) consists of alternate nṛtya , the former consisting of set dances with some special subject, and accompanied by varied gesture, the latter merely moving to and fro, marking time with the feet, and so forth.

According to Dhanaṃjaya (“Daśarūpa” I, 14) speaking of Nṛtya and Nṛtta,

“the former, gesture-with-meaning is high (mārga), the latter popular (deśī).”

Source: Indian Classical Dances: Techniques of classical dances

Nritya is combination of rhythm with expression. Nritya identifies with theme, story and narrative. It makes fullest use of Abhinaya, especially in respect of Angika (physical) and Satvika (emotional) to achieve purpose.

Nritya is basically an expressional dance. It is concerned with conveying the meaning of an idea or a subject. It is achieved through facial expressions, hands and other elements of body language known in Indian dance.

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (natya)

Nṛtya refers to “emotion dance” as used within the classical tradition of Indian dance and performance, also known as Bharatanatyam.—In Bharatanatyam, the use of nṛtta is found in basic movements and a few dance pieces; nṛtya is seen in expressional dancing pieces and nāṭya is found in the dance-dramas of classical dances. According to the Abhinayadarpaṇa, verse 16, “that (dance) which relates to sentiment (rasa) and psychological state (bhāva) is called nṛtya. This dance is always fit to find a place in the court of great kings”.

Nṛtya is that manifestation of dancing which possesses aesthetic flavour (rasa), mood or emotion (bhāva) and suggestion (vyañjana). According to the Saṃgītōpanishad, verse 2, “Nṛtya pleases all the five senses, makes one forget misery and provides pleasure at all times”. Nandikeśvara declared that the aesthetic pleasure experienced on witnessing Nṛtya is greater than the supreme bliss enjoyed by the sages; otherwise it could not have attracted sages like Narada. Nṛtya expresses bhāvas and produces rasas. It is that aspect of dance performed with some special subject accompanied by varied gestures. To be precise, it brings out an idea, message or story through codified gestures of the hands and postures of the body.

Nṛtya is especially seen at coronations, celebrations, processions, marriages, the birth ceremonies, auspicious occasions and many other festivals. It used to be watched by a royal audience in the courts of kings. Nṛtya interprets a story in rhythmic movements. The theme may be erotic, epic, religious, philosophical, or secular. In nṛtya, the theme or the literary compositions are set to a particular musical pattern called melody (rāga) and rhythmic pattern (tāla), which are needed for the dance representations and are interpreted through the dance sequences

Nṛtya is of two kinds: mārga and deśī. Mārgī is systematically composed of both music and dancing. Deśī is more spontaneous and popular among people, and is performed before the public for entertainment at various social functions.

Natyashastra book cover
context information

Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (shastra) of performing arts, (natya—theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing Dramatic plays (nataka), construction and performance of Theater, and Poetic works (kavya).

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Shiva Purana - English Translation

Nṛtya (नृत्य) refers to “dancing”, according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.3.30 (“The Celebration of Pārvatī’s Return”).—Accordingly, as Brahmā narrated to Nārada: “[...] In the meantime, Śiva, favourably disposed to His disciples and prone to divine sports, assumed the guise of a dancer and approached Menakā. He held the blowing horn in his left and the drum in his right hand. He wore a red cloth and had the wallet suspended behind his back. In the guise of a dancer with the skill of dancing and singing (nṛtya-gāna-viśārada), he danced well and sang many songs in sweet voice. [...]”.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Nṛtya (नृत्य).—Dancing; part of viśokadvādaśivrata;1 in connection with tree rituals;2 in connection with Vāstu for palace building.3

  • 1) Matsya-purāṇa 82. 29.
  • 2) Ib. 232. 15.
  • 3) Ib. 268. 34.
Source: Shodhganga: Elements of Art and Architecture in the Trtiyakhanda of the Visnudharmottarapurana

Nṛtya (नृत्य) or “dance” refers to one of the “sixty four kinds of Art”, according to the Kāmasūtra of Vātsyāyaṇa.—Indian tradition, basically includes sixty four Art forms are acknowledged. The references of sixty four kinds of kalā are found in the Bhāgavatapurāṇa, Śaiva-Tantras, Kāmasūtra of Vātsyāyaṇa etc.

Purana book cover
context information

The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Jyotisha (astronomy and astrology)

Source: Wisdom Library: Brihat Samhita by Varahamihira

Nṛtya (नृत्य) or Nṛtta refers to “dancing”, according to the Bṛhatsaṃhitā (chapter 5), an encyclopedic Sanskrit work written by Varāhamihira mainly focusing on the science of ancient Indian astronomy astronomy (Jyotiṣa).—Accordingly, “If there should be both lunar and solar eclipses in one month, princes will suffer both from dissensions among their own army and from wars. [...] If the eclipses should fall in the lunar month of Phālguna, the people of Vaṅga, of Āśmaka, of Avantikā and the Mekalās will be afflicted with disease; dancers [i.e., nṛtya-jña], food crops, chaste women, bow-makers, the Kṣatriyas and ascetics will also suffer”.

Jyotisha book cover
context information

Jyotisha (ज्योतिष, jyotiṣa or jyotish) refers to ‘astronomy’ or “Vedic astrology” and represents the fifth of the six Vedangas (additional sciences to be studied along with the Vedas). Jyotisha concerns itself with the study and prediction of the movements of celestial bodies, in order to calculate the auspicious time for rituals and ceremonies.

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Sports, Arts and Entertainment (wordly enjoyments)

Source: Syainika Sastra of Rudradeva with English Translation (art)

Nṛtya (नृत्य) refers to “dancing”, and represents one of the eighteen Addictions or Vices (vyasana) which are to be practised within proper bounds for the delight of the enjoyments of the world, according to the Śyainika-śāstra: a Sanskrit treatise dealing with the divisions and benefits of Hunting and Hawking, written by Rājā Rudradeva (or Candradeva) in possibly the 13th century.—Accordingly, “[...] It has been said that there are eighteen addictions. These are the outcome of the desire for earthly enjovments. [...] Dancing (nṛtya) is of two kinds—the wild, called tāṇḍava, and the theatrical, called lāsya. It is accompanied with chārī or amorous gait and laya or keeping time. [...]”.

Arts book cover
context information

This section covers the skills and profiencies of the Kalas (“performing arts”) and Shastras (“sciences”) involving ancient Indian traditions of sports, games, arts, entertainment, love-making and other means of wordly enjoyments. Traditionally these topics were dealt with in Sanskrit treatises explaing the philosophy and the justification of enjoying the pleasures of the senses.

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In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: Google Books: An Illustrated History of the Mandala

Nṛtyā (नृत्या) is the deity associated with Garva (“pride”): one of the Seventeen Viśuddhipadas (“stations of purity”), according to the Prajñāpāramitānayasūtra: an ancient Buddhist Tantric text recited daily in the Japanese Shingon sect which is closely related to the Sarvatathāgatatattvasaṃgraha.—The seventeen-deity maṇḍala, representing the deification of the seventeen viśuddhipadas, corresponds to the great maṇḍala described in the Mahāsamayatattvavajra, which explains seventeen viśuddhipadas (twenty in the Chinese translation). [...] Iconographically, these Goddesses (e.g., Nṛtyā) correspond to the four inner offering goddesses of the Vajradhātu-maṇḍala. [...]

Source: The Indian Buddhist Iconography

Nṛtyā (नृत्या) refers one of four dance-deities, commonly depicted in Buddhist Iconography, and mentioned in the 11th-century Niṣpannayogāvalī of Mahāpaṇḍita Abhayākara.—Her Colour is mixed; her Symbol is the vajra; she has two arms.—All these four deities (viz., Nṛtyā) are popular in the Vajrayāna pantheon and are described times without number both in the Sādhanamālā as well as in the Niṣpannayogāvalī.

Nṛtyā is described in the Niṣpannayogāvalī (pañcaḍāka-maṇḍala) as follows:—

“Nṛtyā is of variegated colour and she dances with her two hands holding the vajra”.

[All these dance-deities are violent in character with garland of severed heads, and dance in pratyālīḍha. They show the tarjanī against the chest as the common gesture.]

Source: The Structure and Meanings of the Heruka Maṇḍala

Nṛtyā (नृत्या) is the name of a Ḍākinī who, together with the Vīra (hero) named Nṛtya forms one of the 36 pairs situated in the Ākāśacakra, according to the 10th century Ḍākārṇava chapter 15. Accordingly, the ākāśacakra refers to one of the three divisions of the dharma-puṭa (‘dharma layer’), situated in the Herukamaṇḍala. The 36 pairs of Ḍākinīs [viz., Nṛtyā] and Vīras are dark blue in color; they each have one face and four arms; they hold a skull bowl, a skull staff, a small drum, and a knife. Alternatively, the Ḍākinīs have their own marks and motions according to the taste instead of a small drum and a skull staff.

Source: OSU Press: Cakrasamvara Samadhi

Nṛtya (नृत्य) or Caryānṛtya refers to “(tantric) dance”, according to the Caryā Tantra divisions of Mahāyāna-Vajrayāna Buddhism, according to Buddhist teachings followed by the Newah in Nepal, Kathmandu Valley (whose roots can be traced to the Licchavi period, 300-879 CE).— Caryā Tantra is primarily the performance of caryā-gīti, "tantric music", caryā nṛtya, "tantric dance", and the performance of pūjā by a priest for the laity. Yoga and Anuttara Yoga Tantra both involve the visualization and meditative absorption of a deity or deities, and the deities' retinue and mandala (samādhi).

Source: MDPI Books: The Ocean of Heroes

Nṛtya (नृत्य) refers to “dancing”, according to the 10th-century Ḍākārṇava-tantra: one of the last Tibetan Tantric scriptures belonging to the Buddhist Saṃvara tradition consisting of 51 chapters.—Accordingly: [while explaining the body circle (kāyacakra)]: “[...] There are also other females [who are] headless and running, headless and dancing (nṛtyaka), and legless and sleeping. [Some] have heads [in the shape] of beaks of a crow and other [birds] They also dance with joy because of being in a great meditative state. This way, he should make lunar mansions and so on [placed] in the middle of the ground. [They] should be known in [their] respective colors. Everyone has a vehicle. [...]”.

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
context information

Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

Nṛtya (नृत्य) refers to “dancing”, representing one of the various actions of Māra, according to Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter 10).—Accordingly, “[Question: What are the works of Māra?]—[Answer].—[...] Māra has three types of actions: (a) play, laughter, idle chatter, singing, dancing (nṛtya), and everything that provokes desire; (b) iron fetters, beating, whipping, wounds, spikes, knives, slashing and everything that is caused by hatred; (c) [demented mortifications] such as being burned, being frozen, tearing out one’s hair, starving, jumping into the fire, throwing oneself into the water, falling onto spears and everything that results from stupidity”.

Mahayana book cover
context information

Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

nṛtya (नृत्य).—n (S) Dancing: also acting, playing, performing.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English

nṛtya (नृत्य).—n Dancing. Acting, playing.

context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Nṛtya (नृत्य).—Dancing, acting, a dance, pantomime, gesticulation; नृत्तादस्याः स्थितमतितरां कान्तम् (nṛttādasyāḥ sthitamatitarāṃ kāntam) M.2.7; नृत्यं मयूरा विजहुः (nṛtyaṃ mayūrā vijahuḥ) R.14.69; Meghadūta 34,36; R.3.19.

Derivable forms: nṛtyam (नृत्यम्).

See also (synonyms): nṛtta.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary

Nṛtyā (नृत्या).—(dramatic) Dance or Drama, name of a goddess or yoginī: Sādhanamālā 157.12 etc.; 324.6.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Nṛtya (नृत्य).—n.

(-tyaṃ) Dancing, acting, the actor’s practice in general. E. nṛt to dance, aff. kyap.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Nṛtya (नृत्य).—[neuter] dance, pantomime.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Nṛtya (नृत्य):—[from nṛt] n. dancing, acting, gesticulation, pantomime, [Mahābhārata; Varāha-mihira; Kāvya literature etc.]

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Yates Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Nṛtya (नृत्य):—(tyaṃ) 1. n. Idem.

Source: DDSA: Paia-sadda-mahannavo; a comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary (S)

Nṛtya (नृत्य) in the Sanskrit language is related to the Prakrit words: Ṇacca, Ṇaṭṭa.

[Sanskrit to German]

Nritya in German

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Hindi dictionary

Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

Nṛtya (नृत्य) [Also spelled nraty]:—(nm) dance, dancing; a dance performance; -[kalā] the art of dancing; -[gurū] dance-teacher; -[nāṭya] ballet; -[pratiyogitā] dance competition; ~[śālā] a dancing hall; -[samāroha] a dance festival.

context information


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Kannada-English dictionary

Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Nṛtya (ನೃತ್ಯ):—[noun] rhythmic movement of the body and feet to music (that includes both vocal and instrumental), expressing beautifully the sentiments or flavours which are produced by different moods.

context information

Kannada is a Dravidian language (as opposed to the Indo-European language family) mainly spoken in the southwestern region of India.

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