With a history of over two thousand years, Bharatanatyam is one of the major and still-flourishing classical dances of India. Originally a ritualistic dance, Bharatanatyam was patronised in the royal courts and temples of ancient India, and evolved into a dynamic performance art at the turn of the twentieth century. Drawing inspiration from a miasma of myths and legends that are part of Hindu lore, the essence of Bharathanatyam is embodied by the notion of 'Bhakti' or devotion. Bharathanatyam is a merging of physical energy with spiritual ideals - a composite art that combines precise, stylised and rhythmic movements with music, drama and poetry. With origins in the southern region of India, Bharatanatyam uses a sophisticated vocabulary of language gestures or 'hastas', rhythm or 'tala' and expression or 'bhava'. The performance is typically a combination of pure dance movements (Nritta), a dramatised style of storytelling and expression (Abhinaya) and a fusion of the two (Nritya). Beyond the beauty and grace of the movements, Bharatanatyam has more profound and spiritual moorings. The dance is believed to be the celebration of the idea of an eternal universe through the celebration of the beauty and perfection of the physical body. E Krishna and Rukmini Devi Arundale have been instrumental in the revival of Bharatanatyam in the 20th century, by bringing it out of the precincts of the temple and elevating it to a form of performance art. Bharatanatayam enjoys immense popularity today and its extensive repertoire of movements and postures also lend themselves to experimental choreography.