Bharatanatyam Costume – Make-up And Ornaments

Bharatanatyam Costume:

Bharatanatyam’s costume is stunning and colourful. In the olden days, the dance was performed on special occasions, at the king’s courts and in the temples during the festival. According to ancient texts and sculptures, the original costumes of the dance do not cover most of the dancer’s bodies. There are several varieties of Bharatanatyam costumes, worn according to the theme of the dance and comfort for the dancer’s movements. The style of the costumes was the same. Nowadays, eminent dancers changed the wearing of their outfits of the dancers.

Bharatanatyam Costume Variety:

bharatanatyam costume

Generally, the costumes of Bharatanatyam have two types. They are Pyjama style and another skirt style. These two styles of dresses are artistic and comfortable for the dancer to perform the gestures according to the ‘Tala sounds’. The costumes of Bharatanatyam are prepared by stitching embroidery with different religious motifs and designs. Although, in the olden day, people used threads of Gold and Silk to sew the costumes of Bharatanatyam. The sari pleats are stitched with zari work of beautiful designs and motifs. When the dancer performs a symbolic posture like Muzhu mandi, which is a sitting pose and a half sitting pose, the pleats of the sari open out beautifully and bring the look of the dance to enrich.

Bharatanatyam Costume For Women:

Bharatanatyam costumes for women resemble the traditional Indian sari. But the sari is not a single piece; it combines many cloth pieces. Hence, the dress is prepared to wear quickly and to give a performance comfortably. While the dancer performed various movements, the fan was attracted very much to watch the dance. The colour of the costumes is very bright and attractive. The border of the costumes is prepared with various pieces of sari and stitches with multiple patterns to decorate the dancer’s form. The ‘choli’ looks pretty tight and the same colour as the ‘dhoti’.

Bharatanatyam Costume For Men:

bharatanatyam costume

The traditional Bharatanatyam costume for men is straightforward. The dress covers the dancer’s lower body, and the upper part is covered with a simple jewel; do not use the garments for the upper part of the male dancer. The dhoti is stitched with rich embroidery and silk threads used to stitch to farm the designs on the dhoti. The male dancer uses significantly less jewellery than women. Makeup is the same for women and men. Carefully apply makeup to the dancers before the performance.

Bharatanatyam costume and Ankle Bells:

The ankle bells are an essential item in the Bharatanatyam dance. The dancer makes the proper rhythmic footwork in response to the ‘Tala’ sounds. The talent of the dancer is judged according to their style and presentation. The judges depend on the rhythmic sounds of anklet bells to give their judgment. The beginners wear 2-row bells, the intermediate dancers wear three rows, and talented dancers wear five rows bells. The ankle bells treat sacred objects and are worshipped on special occasions. The dancers never wear them casually.

Also Read: Traditional Costumes of Men in India


Bharatanatyam dancers wear a unique set of jewellery, beautiful in focus. The group of jewellers is called ‘Temple Jewelers’, such are bangles, earrings, necklaces, and wristlets. The bun or plait of the hair is decorated with a semi-circle of flowers. The forehead is applied with an impressive ‘tika’ or ‘dot’. The important jeweller ‘thalaisaman’ is called ‘headpiece’ and is worn just above the flowers in the hair. The ‘Chandra Surya’ is kept on either side of the heads. The beautiful earrings hung to the ears, and a longer chain hung to the neck. The chain is designed in peacock or floral designs studded the red, green and pearl stones. ‘Vankies’ are ties to both sides of the upper arm, broad ornament belt, and snake decoration for the long plait.

Makeup for Bharatanatyam:

Makeup for a Bharatanatyam dancer is unique and should display the dance theme through facial movements. Heavy lines are drawn around the eyes and darken, and eyebrows are extended outwards. The total Bharatanatyam performance is mainly based on the activities of the eyes and eyebrows. So eyebrows are decorated to visualize the trends, and the spectators easily attach to the dance. A red dye is applied to the tips of the toes, fingertips, and soles of the feet. The colour is also used for the palm in a solid circle. The red decoration of the legs and hands emphasizes the movements of the hands and legs.