Subhashini Chandrasekaran
Sr. Lecturer in nattuvangam
Dept. of music Annamalai University
Tamil Nadu, South India
The earliest of the inscription relevant to dance art (bharathanatyam) seems to be the one found at Arachalur. It is assign to the period A.D.200-250 on paleographical grounds. It has a series of rhythmical syllables analogous to sollukattu. The syllable \'tha\' is the fulcrum and because of it, it is called tattakaram. It pertains to footwork in dance (bharathanatyam). The syllables are used in dance lessons and concerts.
Sollukattu is a distinct feature of the classical dance. Sollukattu is a tamil word which means "a group of syllables tied together“ which is also known as \'Jathi\'. The words tha, thi,thom,nam are basic syllables. The \'ja\' sound when uttered with the accompaniments gave a resonant sound very appealing to the listener. King Sahaji in his \'Ramayanasuladhi Prabandham\' which is a ragamallika has incorporated several patterns of jathis. The jathis prolong to several avarthanams , these are vilambakala jathi, malaipu jathi, nilakatna jathi and theermanams. Theermanam is the set of rhythmic syllables recited at the end of a sollukattu or jathi.The oldest reference to jathi is found in Thevaram, Panchamarabhu, Koothanool, Ottakootar’s Thakayagaparani.

Nattuvanars are the teachers who teaches dance and conducts the dance recital.The way of teaching, classifying and performing the adavus vary from teacher to teacher. Each master has his own strong point and style depended on the teaching of the guru. The individuality of presenting the adavus, choreography, composing of jathis given way to different padhathis. The prominently known styles are named after the village namely, Tanjore, Pandanallur, Kattumanarkoil, Vazhuvoor and Kanchipuram. This is because the teachers who popularised the style hailed from these villages.