Hand gestures or Mudras or Hastas are a delightful language in itself. Mudras are yet another tool of communication for a dancer. The fingers are used to flash and echo every conceivable emotion; where a dancer can make a lotus bloom in her hands or a bird fly off her fingers!
This is yet another unique and peculiar feature of Indian Dance.
They have been classified as single hand gestures (Asamyuta Hastas) of which there are originally 28 and 23 double hand gestures (Samyuta Hastas)
It is like a form of sign language but a sophisticated one!
They help convey stories and anything between nature, weather, animals, relatives, places, ideas, objects, and action depending on the need of the situation.
Each Hasta has a precise meaning and a symbolic value, they are orchestrated with facial and bodily expressions to give full meaning to the dance. Put in single terms, they are alphabets like ABC, which will proceed to become words, then sentences and finally convey the stories.
A dancer can literally “talk” with her hands and fingers!