The Art of Elegance: Crafting Bharatanatyam Costumes with Traditional Fabrics

The Art of Elegance: Crafting Bharatanatyam Costumes with Traditional Fabrics

Bharatanatyam, one of the oldest classical dance forms of India, is not just a dance—it’s a storytelling art. The costumes play a pivotal role in bringing the narratives to life, with each fabric adding its own texture and story to the performance. Let’s explore the different materials that go into making these exquisite dance costumes.

Silk Cotton Running Materials Silk cotton blends are a popular choice for practice costumes. They offer the sheen of silk with the comfort of cotton, making them ideal for dancers who spend long hours perfecting their craft. These materials are lightweight, allowing for fluid movements, and are available in a variety of vibrant colors to suit any dancer’s style.

Dharmavaram Silk Sarees Originating from the town of Dharmavaram in Andhra Pradesh, these sarees are renowned for their rich texture and elaborate designs. Dharmavaram silk is a preferred material for performance costumes due to its durability and the grandeur it lends to the dancer’s appearance. The traditional motifs and borders characteristic of Dharmavaram silk add an authentic touch to the Bharatanatyam attire.

Semi Silk Sarees For those seeking a balance between opulence and practicality, semi silk sarees are an excellent option. These sarees are made with a mix of silk and synthetic fibers, offering a similar drape and luster to pure silk at a more affordable price point. Semi silk sarees come in a plethora of designs, making them versatile for various dance themes.

Pure Kanchipuram Silk Sarees The epitome of luxury, pure Kanchipuram silk sarees are the gold standard for Bharatanatyam costumes. Woven in the town of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, these sarees are distinguished by their vibrant colors and intricate zari work. A Kanchipuram silk saree not only enhances the visual appeal of the dance but also embodies the cultural heritage of Bharatanatyam.

In conclusion, the choice of fabric for a Bharatanatyam costume is a reflection of the dancer’s personal taste and the narrative of the performance. Whether it’s the practicality of silk cotton, the tradition of Dharmavaram silk, the versatility of semi silk, or the splendor of Kanchipuram silk, each material brings its own unique contribution to the divine dance of Bharatanatyam.


Distinguishing between real zari and imitation zari is important to ensure the authenticity and quality of your Bharatanatyam costume. Here are some tips to help you identify the real deal:

1. Touch Test:

2. Weight Comparison:

3. Scratch Test:

4. Burn Test:

5. Price Point:

By conducting these simple tests, you can make an informed decision when selecting zari for your Bharatanatyam costume. Remember, the authenticity of zari contributes to the costume’s traditional appeal and longevity.

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