+
upworthy
Pop Culture

Dancer merges 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' elements with traditional Indian dance and it's amazing

The two work together so well.

avatar dance tiktok
TikTok

Her entire channel is amazing.

Bharatanatyam is the oldest form of traditional Indian dance, dating back thousands of years. “Avatar: The Last Airbender” is a beloved animated series from the mid 2000s. A dancer merged the two together and it’s pretty much the coolest thing ever.

Naomi Namboodiripad has trained for several years in a variety of styles, including Bharatanatyam. Originally only performed by solo female temple dancers as a sacred devotion, this traditional form is dramatic, expressive and meant to tell a story—using rhythmic movements, pantomiming or a combination of both.

These aspects lend themselves well to recreating the iconic opening sequence to “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” which uses different martial arts techniques symbolizing the four fictional elemental tribes of earth, water, air and fire.

Here’s a refresher of what that looks like. I bet you can’t just watch it once.

"Avatar: The Last Airbender" Theme Song (HQ) | Episode Opening Credits | Nick Animationwww.youtube.com

Namboodiripad did her own version of this intro, using elements of traditional Indian dance, and created something truly spectacular.


Everything from Namboodiripad’s movement, to gorgeous wardrobe changes, to clever camera angles was absolutely brilliant—and people took notice.

Here are just a few gems from the literal thousands of loving comments:

“I'm still not over how beautiful the outfits are and how they compliment the movements.”

“THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL, MY INNER CHILD WAS SO HAPPY TO SEE THIS 💚😌”

“This gave me chills lol”

@naomi.nambo Replying to @Raahi @Naomi Namboodiripad here is an extended version! #dance #avatar #atla #elements #air #water #earth #fire #bharatanatyam #mohiniyattam #kuchipudi #trending #indian #southasian #desi #acting #culture #performance #costume #makeup #jewelry ♬ Avatar the Last Airbender - juanito

“Earth and water are Bharatanatyam, air is Mohiniyattam, and fire is Kuchipudi,” Namboodiripad explained, noting the different styles used for each element in the comments section.

Ironically, Bharatanatyam is also known as a “fire dance” but was not used to portray fire in the video. Its focus on clear lines makes it a great fit for earth and water. Namboodiripad told Upworthy that both the "groundedness" and "versatility" made it a good fit for the two elements.

Mohiniyattam, on the other hand, is characterized by graceful, circular movements, or "relaxed," as Namboodiripad puts it—making it perfect to embody the light, flowing essence of air.

Kuchipudi might have been tied to the earth element when it originated, but those hand moves Namboodiripad used simply scream “fire.” In a bold, cool way, mind you. Not a “there’s an emergency” kind of way. Guess that's why Namboodiripad says there's a "bright but dangerous quality" to the form.

Namboodiripad shared with Upworthy that "Avatar" and traditional Indian dance might have more connecting ties than one might initially think. "I noticed that growing up Indian in a western country that most cartoons did not have the element of diversity and lacked explorations of different cultures and values. However, 'Avatar' broke that cycle, and I found that I not only enjoyed the immense world building and engaging plot, but the cultural and spiritual elements as well.

"'Avatar' has many ideas of Hinduism—the name itself originates from Hinduism—and Indian classical dance is rooted in Hindu mythology as well," she continued. "Considering the connections between the two pieces of art, I decided that I wanted to combine 'Avatar' and Indian classical dance to provide the South Asian representation that was missing from the show and to reach the audience that 'Avatar' has, but most importantly, express storytelling and showcase my culture through a multimedia platform with dance, music, and film."

Although Namboodiripad’s Indian-styled Avatar dance is a fan favorite, she has all kinds of videos showcasing how delightful expressive traditional Indian dances are.

Here’s one where she dances as different animals. Mouse is kind of my fave.

@naomi.nambo Replying to @idontcareanymore1111222 some animals, like the tiger, have the same mudra (hand gesture) as lion - so it depends on context #dance #animals #acting #indian #desi #fyp #turtle #culture #emotion #story ♬ Mohiniyattam - Hridya Chintan

Animals play a large role in Hindu mythology and were often given the status of gods or goddesses. According to an article in The Indian Express, “many postures in Indian classical dance are based on those of animals.”

Here’s another one where Namboodiripad does an acting challenge—portraying different emotions using only facial expressions.

@naomi.nambo Reply to @fresh_mint_tea trying this challenge using Navarasas and Mudras (facial emotions and hand gestures from Indian classical dance) #trending #actingchallenge #cake #dance #melaniemartinez #bharatanatyam #kuchipudi #mohiniyattam #indian #desi #culture #fyp ♬ Cake - Spedupluvr

You can see how exaggerated each navarasa (or mood) is on her face, so that every mood can clearly be conveyed, even from a distance.

Of course, one of her most popular videos (with more than 1.6 millions views) is simply showing off her performance jewelry. Because it’s awesome.

@naomi.nambo Replying to @niyah.fr full performance look! #dance #mohiniyattam #performance #makeup #jewelry #outfit #costume #flowers #indian #desi #southasian #fyp #trending #culture ♬ original sound - Naomi Namboodiripad

Considering how much of the face and hands are used in traditional Indian dances, it makes sense that most of the bedazzling would go there. Plus anklets with bells on them for next-level stomping.

Here's another fun one, featuring death:

@naomi.nambo This was highly requested, so here are some ways to show death 💀 #dance #indian #desi #southasian #bharatanatyam #kuchipudi #mohiniyattam #culture ♬ Indian music - Hollywood Labo

Whether Namboodiripad gives us straight-up traditional dances or something with a modern spin, it’s incredible to see. This is the beauty of creative expression … there’s always so much to be inspired by.

You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

Doctor explains why he checks a dead patient's Facebook before notifying their parents

Louis M. Profeta MD explains why he looks at the social media accounts of dead patients before talking their parents.

Photo from Tedx Talk on YouTube.

He checks on your Facebook page.

Losing a loved one is easily the worst moment you'll face in your life. But it can also affect the doctors who have to break it to a patient's friends and family. Louis M. Profeta MD, an Emergency Physician at St. Vincent Emergency Physicians in Indianapolis, Indiana, recently took to LinkedIn to share the reason he looks at a patient's Facebook page before telling their parents they've passed.

The post, titled "I'll Look at Your Facebook Profile Before I Tell Your Mother You're Dead," has attracted thousands of likes and comments.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

27-year-old who died of cancer left behind final advice that left the internet in tears

"Don't feel pressured to do what other people might think is a fulfilling life. You might want a mediocre life and that is so OK."

Photo courtesy of Remembering Holly Butcher/Facebook used with permission.

Holly Butcher left behind her best life advice before she passed away at 27.

The world said goodbye to Holly Butcher, a 27-year-old woman from Grafton, Australia.

Butcher had been battling Ewing's sarcoma, a rare bone cancer that predominantly affects young people. In a statement posted on Butcher's memorialized Facebook account, her brother, Dean, and partner, Luke, confirmed the heartbreaking news to friends.

"It is with great sadness that we announce Holly's passing in the early hours of this morning," they wrote on Jan. 4, 2018. "After enduring so much, it was finally time for her to say goodbye to us all. The end was short and peaceful; she looked serene when we kissed her forehead and said our final farewells. As you would expect, Holly prepared a short message for you all, which will be posted above."

Butcher's message, which Dean and Luke did, in fact, post publicly shortly thereafter, has brought the internet to tears.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

This is the best mother-daughter chat about the tampon aisle ever. Period.

A hilarious conversation about "the vagina zone" turned into an important message about patriarchy from mother to daughter.

A mother and daughter discuss period products.


Belinda Hankins and her 13-year-old daughter, Bella, seem to have a great relationship, one that is often played out over text message.

Sure they play around like most teens and parents do, but in between the joking and stealing of desserts, they're incredibly open and honest with each other. This is key, especially since Melinda is a single parent and thus is the designated teacher of "the ways of the world."

But, wow, she is a champ at doing just that in the chillest way possible. Of course, it helps having an incredibly self-aware daughter who has grown up knowing she can be super real with her mom.

Case in point, this truly epic text exchange took place over the weekend while Bella was hunting for tampons at the store.

Keep ReadingShow less

They've blinded us with science.

Stock photos of any job are usually delightful cringey. Sure, sometimes they sort of get the essence of a job, but a lot of the time the interpretation is downright cartoonish. One glance and it becomes abundantly clear that for some careers, we have no freakin’ clue what it is that people do.

Dr. Kit Chapman, an award-winning science journalist and academic at Falmouth University in the U.K., recently held an impromptu contest on Twitter where viewers could vote on which photos were the best of the worst when it came to jobs in scientific fields.

According to Chapman’s entries, a day in the life of a scientist includes poking syringes into chickens, wearing a lab coat (unless you’re a “sexy” scientist, then you wear lingerie) and holding vials of colored liquid. Lots and lots of vials.

Of course, where each image is 100% inaccurate, they are 100% giggle inducing. Take a look below at some of the contenders.

Keep ReadingShow less

Samuel J. Seymour witnessed the assassination of President Lincoln.

Samuel J. Seymour was one of the approximately 1,700 people at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865, the night President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. He was also the last to live long enough to talk about that historic night on television.

Seymour was 5 years old when he went to see the play “Our American Cousin” with his nurse, Sarah Cook, and Mrs. Goldsboro, the wife of his father's employer.

When Booth shot Lincoln, he pulled the trigger during the biggest laugh of the night so that it wouldn’t be heard. What caught Seymour’s attention was when Booth fell from the balcony after a scuffle with Henry Reed Rathbone.

Keep ReadingShow less