Ang Sanchalan

Ang Sanchalan

Sometimes we close our hands, sometimes we have to open and sometimes we have to jerk our bodily movements. Dance is a copy of our daily activities. These actions exist in its original form with artistic differences.

The ancient dance scribes divided this entire following into five parts and gave an independent interpretation with their names. There are five types of movements: Anchita, Kunchita, Rechita, Akshipta, and Vikshipta.


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1. Anchita: Anchita is when movements are opened and spread as per need. 

2. Kunchita: Kunchita is to close the movement or bring them back.

3. Rechita: Rechita is when movements are opened and stretched to the maximum.

4. Akshipta: When we bend so as to greet or worship someone or use our movements in that manner, it is known as Akshipt.

5.Vikshipta: Vikshipta movement is to bring jerkiness to the movement.

This technical knowledge is necessary for students of Indian Classical Dance. When they carry forward the legacy, then they will be able to also carry forward these technical terms in the form of instructing their students. 

Ang, Pratyang, Upang (Broad Body Parts, Connecting Body Parts, and Small Body Parts)

Within Aangik Abhinaya, different body parts are used to express oneself. From the point of Abhinaya, the body has been divided into three parts: Ang, Pratyang, and Upang.

1. Ang: The main, broad features of the body are known as “Ang”. There are 6 types of ang: head, hands, chest, arms, hips, and feet. Some people consider the neck as part of “Ang” as well.

2. Pratyang: The body parts that connect our limbs with one another are known as Pratyang. (Prati + Ang). There are 6 types of Pratyang: shoulders, forearms, stomach, back, thighs, and pelvis. Some scholars consider the wrist, and elbows as a Pratyang too.

3. Upang: Upang is referred to as the smaller parts of the human body. They are present in all broad parts of the body. The Upang on our face consists of: eyes, eyelids, brows, nose, cheeks, mouth, chin, etc. The Upang on our legs are: heel, ankle, sole, and toes. The Upang on our hands are: fingers, palm, wrist, etc. Some scholars consider the shoulder as an Upang.

These parts are used in every Indian classical dance. In Abhinaya Darpana, these parts come under “Aangik Abhinaya”. These parts may be used in day to day life, however, in the ancient scriptures, every body part has been elaborated in terms of the type of usage they can offer. 

Shirobheda (Head Movement)

Shirobheda is known as the movement of the head. According to Abhinaya Darpana, there are 9 types of Shirobheda. In Natyashastra, there are 11 types. According to Abhinaya Darpana, the types of Shirobheda are:

1. Samashira: When the head is kept at its original level - not too high, not too low - it is known as Samashira. It is used to denote ego, love, etc.

2. Udvahita: When the head is raised slightly upwards, it is known as Udvahita. It is used to denote a flag, the moon, the sky, etc.

3. Adhomukha: When the head is slightly bent, it is known as Adhomukha. It is used to denote shyness, sadness, worry, or anything on the ground, etc.

4. Aalolita: When the head is rotated in a round manner from one side to another, it is known as Aalolita. It is used to denote intoxication, laughter, etc.

5. Dhuta: When the head is moved from right to left or left to right, it is known as Dhuta. It is used to denote refusal, looking at the side, fear, etc. 

6. Kampita: When the head is moved from up to down, or vice versa, it is Kampita. It is used to denote appreciation, acceptance (yes), something big (like a mountain), anger, or to stop someone, etc.

7. Paraavrita: When the head is rotated to the back, it is Paraavrita. It is used to denote turning away from someone, shyness, disrespect, etc.

8. Utkshipta: To turn the head to one side and then raise it is known as Utkshipta. It is used to denote “calling” someone, to bring something, to take something, etc. 

9. Parivaahita: To oscillate the head from one side to another is known as Parivaahita. It is used to denote illusion, separation, invocation, thinking, satisfaction, etc.

Drishtibheda (Eye Movement)

Drishtibheda is the movement of the eyes. Eyes are one of the smallest, yet the most expressive part of the entire human body. According to Abhinaya Darpana and Natyashastra, there are 8 types of Drishtibheda.  

1. Sama: When the eyes are in its original state - not too high and not too low, absolutely straight - it is known as Sama. It is used to denote what others are thinking, understanding someone, etc. 

2. Aalokit: To open the eyes and move the pupils is Aalokit. It is used to denote the potter’s wheel, etc.

3. Saachi: Saachi is when one looks from the side. It is used to denote peeping, signalling, parrot, remembering someone, etc.

4. Pralokit: To move the eyelids from one side to another is Pralokita. It is used to denote looking at objects on either side, showing a moving object, etc. 

5. Nimilat: When the eyes are in a half open-half shut state, it is known as Nimilit. It is used to show meditation, chanting, worshipping, etc.

6. Ullokit: To look upwards is Ullokit. It is used to show the middle point of a flag, the highest point of a mountain/temple, etc.

7. Anuvrat: To look up and down is Anuvrat. It is used to denote excess anger, or to greet friends, etc. 

8. Avalokit: To look downwards is Avalokit. It is used to show shade, thinking, hard work, etc.

Brooh Sanchalan (Eyebrow Movement)

Brooh Sanchalan is the movement of the eyebrows. Bharatamuni has described this as 7 types -

1. Sahaj: When the brows are relaxed, it is known as Sahaj. It is used to show calmness.

2. Utkshipt: When the brows are raised, it is known as Utkshipt. It is used to show happiness, etc.

3. Paatan: When the brows are dropped, it is known as Paatan. It is used to show laughter, smelling, or listening to someone with intent.

4. Bhrukti: Moving the brows upwards, downwards, sideways is known as Bhrkuti. It is used to show anger, or brilliance.

5. Chatur: To raise the eyebrows in excitement is Chatur. It is used to denote “shringaar”, art, gentleness, pleasure touch, etc.

6. Kunchit: To squirm the eyebrows is Kunchit. It is used to show disgust, disagreement, or female male togetherness.

7. Rechit: To raise one eyebrow is Rechita. It is used to show anger, disagreement, distraction, doubt, etc.

Greevabheda (Neck Movement)

Greevabheda is known as neck movements. It is the main essence of all movements. Without moving the neck, one will not be able to administer the movement of other parts of the body. According to Abhinaya Darpana, there are 4 types of neck movements:

1. Sundari: Moving the neck sideways in a beautiful, aesthetic manner is Sundari greeva. It is used in cases of love, affection, etc. In Kathak, this neck movement is also used subtly in Thaat.

2. Tiraschina: Moving the neck sideways and upwards is known as Tiraschina. It is used to show a snake, road, etc.

3. Parivartita: Moving the neck in an “Ardhchandra” (crescent moon) motion, from side to side, is Parivartita. It is used to denote affection between male and females in Lasya dance.

4. Prakampita: Moving the neck front and back like a pigeon is known as Prakampita. It is used to denote “you and me”, or to talk slowly and softly, etc.

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Q. What are the different types of Ang?
Ans. There are three broad categories of Ang. They are - Ang, Upang, and Pratyang. Each category is explained below - Ang are the visible features in our body. There are six types of Ang - head, hands, chest, arms, hips, and feet. Upang are the smaller features present in our Ang. For example, the Upang on our face includes eyes, eyelids, eyebrows, etc. The Upang on our legs include heel, sole, toes, etc.Pratyang are those features that connect one body part to another. Example: shoulder, elbow, knees, etc.
Q. What is Drishtibheda?
Ans. Drishti means to see. Drishtibheda, in this context, refers to the types of eye movements. As per our ancient texts, there are eight types of Drishtibheda. They are as follows - Sama, Aalokit, Saachi, Pralokit, Nimilita, Ullokit, Anuvrat, and Avlokit Drishti.
Q. What is Shirobheda?
Ans. Shirobheda is made of two words - ‘Shira’ meaning head, and ‘Bheda’ meaning types. Shirobheda refers to the types of head movements. According to our ancient scriptures, there are nine types of Shirobheda. The names are - Sama, Udvahita, Adhomukha, Alolita, Dhuta, Kampita, Parivartita, Utkshipta, Paravrita shira.
Q. What is ‘Ang Sanchalan’?
Ans. Ang Sanchalan is the process of moving our limbs in a rhythmic, graceful, and sequential manner. It is the art of creating movements that convey the essence of any performance - an idea, thought, or any emotion. Sometimes we extend our hands from the wrist or elbow, and we close them as we transition from one movement to another. Sometimes we extend our body upwards, and sometimes we shrink our bodies. These bodily movements come under the process of Ang Sanchalan.
Q. What is Greevabheda?
Ans. Greeva in Sanskrit means neck. Greevabheda, therefore, is the types of neck movements used in Indian classical dance. According to ancient Indian scriptures, there are four types of Greevabheda that are listed here - Sundari, Tiraschina, Parivartita, and Prakampita grieve.
Q. What is Brooh Sanchalan?
Ans. Brooh is the Sanskrit word for eyebrow. Therefore Brooh Sanchalan is the variation in the movement of the eyebrow. In our scriptures, we find seven different types of eyebrow movements. They are - Sahaj, Utkshipt, Patan, Bhrukuti, Chatur, Kunchit, and Rechit
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