Importance of "Alapadma"

The word “Alapadma” means “Fully Bloomed Lotus”. The meaning becomes aesthetically clear when used as a hand gesture in Bharatnatyam. You can see the hand gesture in the given picture. During my training years of Kuchipudi and Bharatnatyam, I was struck by the importance of this mudra. It is such a basic hand gesture that we use in our day to day life. Kab (when), Kahaan (where), Kyun (why) are some of the questioning instances when we use this particular gesture.

This mudra is an integral part of choreographies in innumerable songs and dances. Take for example a Bollywood song, “Kahey ched ched” (Devdas) and notice how many times this gesture is used by Madhuri. Whether the song is folk, western or classical in nature, it is very difficult to do without this mudra.

Once you have perfected this mudra, the beauty of your dance will be enhanced many times. Lot of people use this hand gesture wrongly. It involves lot of practice and guidance from a classical dance teacher to stretch your hand in this way. But with practice you can do it expertly, thus gaining an edge over other dancers who use it in a loose manner. Just stretching your hand in this beautiful open lotus form can set you apart from amateurs. Happy learning, happy practicing!