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The Madras Presidency under the British colonial government banned the custom of dancing in Hindu temples in 1910 and with this the age-old tradition of performing Bharatanatyam in Hindu temples also came to an end. The Tamilians were worried that such a rich and ancient custom of Hindu temple dancing was getting persecuted on the pretext of social reform.

Many ancient Hindu temples are embellished with sculptures of Lord Shiva in Bharatanatyam dance poses.

The theoretical base of this dance form, which is also referred as Sadir, trace back to ancient Indian theatrologist and musicologist, Bharata Muni’s Sanskrit Hindu text on the performing arts called ‘Natya Shastra’.

The text’s first complete version was presumably completed between 200 BCE to 200 CE, however such timeframe also varies between 500 BCE and 500 CE.

Opposition & Ban During Colonial Rule The 18th century saw emergence of rule of the East India Company followed by setting up of British colonial rule in the 19th century.

Such developments saw decline of various classical dance forms which were subjected to contemptuous fun and discouragement including Bharatanatyam that through the 19th century remained exclusive to Hindu temples.

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