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Dance forms in India

Dance forms in India

History of Dance in India goes back to 200 BC when Natya Shastra(book of  Dance)was written. There are many Dance forms in India, but broadly it has being categorised into Classical and folk Dances. It doesn’t matter if someone knows how to dance or not but when we are in mood, everyone wants to shake a leg to the music they like. Like every field of arts, Dance too has rules and specifications which can vary on its origin and its form. In simple terms movement of Human body is known as Dance and when repetitions of these movements are organised in a performance, it is known as choreography.

Dance forms in India

Sangeet Natak Akademy (National Academy of performing arts in India) was setup by the government of India in 1952 to promote and preserve the Indian culture. Sangeet Natak Akademy has defined eight Dance forms which are the Indian Classical Dances. There are other scholars of arts which say that there are more than eight Dance forms. Indian Classical Dances are closely related to Hindu Mythology and in these the one who is performing tries to act a story with the movement of body and facial gestures and expressions. Lets take a look at the eight Classical Dances of India.

1.) Bharatanatyam: 

Dance forms in India
  • This Dance form is from the state of Tamil Nadu in southern part of India.
  • In this Dance form the performer acts to show Shaivism, Shaktism and Vaishnavism which are a part of Sanathan Dharma.
  • Carnatic music is played during Bharatanatyam.

2.) Kathak: 

Dance forms in India
  • Kathak word is taken from Sanskrit word ‘Katha’ which means story so the word Kathak means the story teller.
  • This Indian Dance form came and developed in the Bhakti Movement.
  • There are three forms of Kathak which are Benares, Jaipur and Lucknow.

3.) Kathakali:

Dance forms in India
  • This Dance form of India is the most recent one as it was developed in 17th century.
  • Etymology of the word ‘Kathakali‘ means ‘Katha‘ which is story and ‘Kali‘, which means Performance.
  • This Dance form of India also comes from the southern part which is the state of Kerala.

4.) Odissi:

Dance forms in India
  • As the name suggests Odissi was originated on the eastern part of India which is Odisha.
  • This Dance form reflects spiritual ideas from Vaishnavism and Shaktism.
  • This Indian classical dance is based on mudras(Gestures) and Abhinaya( Expressions).

5.) Kuchipudi:

Dance forms in India
  • The origin of this Dance happened in the Krishna district which is the currently known as Andhra Pradesh.
  • This Dance form of India depicts the idea of Vaishnavism.
  • Music played in Kuchipudi is also carnatic music and this form of dance is mostly played my Men.

6.) Mohiniyattam: 

Dance forms in India
  • This Dance form of India also comes from the southern part which is Kerala.
  • Dance is based on the Avatar of Vishnu which is Mohini, who is also known as the God of seduction
  • This dance is only performed by the females and is based on slow body movements which depicts the feminine side of Human body.

7.) Sattriya:

Dance forms in India
  • This Dance form of India originated in the state of Assam.
  • This is also based on the idea of Vaishnavism.
  • It was developed during the Bhakti Movement and is a theme based dance form which mostly depicts Radha and Krishna.

8.) Manipuri:

Dance forms in India
  • This Dance form of India originated in the state of Manipur.
  • Manipuri is based on the idea of Vaishnavism and depicts Radha Krishna Raslila.
  • Manipuri dance is not a solo performance and is generally performed a group or a team.

These Dance forms in India depicts how rich our culture has been and how every Dance form has a logic and every Dance form shows respect to the Creator. There are many types of folk Dances in India which are:

  • Lavani and Koli are the Folk dances of Maharashtra.
  • Sambalpuri folk dance is Odisha.
  • Bihu and Bagurumba are the Folk dances of Assam.
  • Chholiya folk dance is popular is Uttarakhand.
  • Bhangra and Giddha are popular folk dances of Punjab.
  • There are several others like Dandiya is Gujrat and Rasiya in Rajasthan.
  • Dollu kunitha is the folk dance of Karnataka and Theyyam is a folk dance of Kerala.
Dance forms in India

Whether its the Indian Classical Dances or the Folk Dances, They all represent and signifies one thing which is diversity of Indian Culture. Hinduism or any religion for that matter has different ways of expressing yourself to the almighty and Indian classical Dance is one way to worship your creator. As they say that there are only two things which don’t lie and they are your eyes and your dancing. Dancing is the most natural way of Humans to express themselves.


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  • I like Bharatanatyam it’s a best and amazing dance of india. It shows richness of our culture. i also learned bharatanatyam.

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