How many dance forms are there in india

15 Dances of India | Classical Dance Forms of India & States

India has many dances, coming from every state in the country, although there are only six forms of the classical dances recognised by India on a national level. They are Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Kathakali, Manipuri, Kuchipudi, and Odissi. The folk dances of India are much more than mere body movements, from the very ancient times the classical dance forms of India is considered as a discipline and a way to devote yourself to God through art. 

Here are the 15 dance forms of India:

1. Bharatnatyam

Tamil Nadu, South India


Performed on the celestial tunes of the Carnatic music, Bharatnatyam comes from the state of Tamil Nadu in South. The origins of Bharatnatyam can be traced back to 1000 BC, and it originates from the ancient temples of Tamil Nadu performed by the women of the classical period. The dance form is known for its beautiful body movements and gestures which are called Mudras in the traditional language. It focuses on the hand gestures, leg movement and the facial expressions of the dancer. This dance form was very prevalent before the British era but was profoundly depressed during the colonial period. However, India kept the dance form alive in the houses, and today it is recognised as one of the most respectable art forms in India especially in the Southern region of the country where it is a moment of pride for the women of the house to learn the classical dance form of Bharatnatyam.

2. Kathak

Uttar Pradesh, North India


Coming from the northern part of the country from the state of Uttar Pradesh, Kathak comes from the word 'Katha' which means "story" in Hindi. It isn't a very smart guess for one to make that Kathak is performed in the form of storytelling through the body movements used by the dancer. Kathak is often referred to as the dance of love, and it can be performed by both by the male and female dancer together. This dance form focuses highly on the ankle movements complemented by the ankle that has to match the beats of the music. Ankle bells or gunghroos as they are called in the traditional language is an important part of the discipline of this dance form. Various distinctions can be witnessed in this dance forms as it is performed in various places in the country which includes Jaipur, Benaras, and Lucknow.


3. Kathakali

Kerala, South India


Kathakali is another traditional dance form of India which relates to the storytelling. Kathakali translates to the 'storyteller' in the country's language. Coming from the Southern region of the country from Kerala, Kathakali is one of the most renowned and religious dances forms of India. It originates from the tales of Ramayana and Shiva stories. Kathakali includes the intriguing face movements and the heavy costumes which include the traditional face masks and body paints (generally green). The music which includes only the vocals is called Soppanam. The storytelling of the epic Hindu mythology tales depicting both evil and good is shown through the conversation between the dancers only through their body gestures and facial expressions. Simply fascinating to watch!

4. Manipuri

Manipur, North East India


As you stroll towards the North-east India which is brimming with the rich tradition and their unique culture, Manipuri comes as an important symbol to represent the state of Manipur from the region. This dance form is performed to narrate the romantic relationship between the Hindu gods Radha and Krishna, which is famously known as RaasLeela. This art form is performed in a team with the traditional Manipuri costumes and makeup to narrate the tale of the two gods. The dance is performed on the narrative chanting and the music created by the Indian classical instruments.

5. Kuchipudi

Andhra Pradesh


Belonging to the Andhra Pradesh, Kuchipudi is probably the toughest form of classical dance in India. Kuchipudi is not just considered as the dance but a whole religious procedure dedicated to God which includes certain rituals such as sprinkling the holy water, burning the incense sticks and praying to God. Kuchipudi includes both singing and dancing by the performer which is why it requires both the skill and much more dedication than any other art forms in India. In the earlier period, Kuchipudi was only performed by the male dancers in the temples, specifically the Brahmins( Upper caste of the society) but with the passage of time, it became famous amongst the women and nowadays it is mostly performed by the female dancers.


6. Odissi

Odisha, East India


Odissi dance form comes from the state of Odisha in the eastern part of India. The traditional dance has been derived from the Hindu temples in Odisha. Most of the gestures and movements (Mudras) are inspired by the sculptors and idols belonging to the ancient temples of India. The dance is performed as a way to express the mythological tales of Hindu gods, including that of Shiva and Surya. The dance is accompanied by a mythical story, Hindi poem in the form of music by the musicians. Odissi is considered as the oldest dance forms of India which are surviving till today. Odissi dance is performed mostly by the women dancers, and it includes more than 50 intriguing mudras (body movements).

7. Bhangra/Gidda

Punjab, North India


Belonging to Punjab, Bhangra is a heart-pumping dance adorned with the loud beats of dhol( traditional Indian instrument). It is very prevalent in traditional Punjabi festivals.

8. Garba

Gujarat, West India


Garba comes from Gujarat which is a traditional dance form dedicated to Goddess Durga. It is performed in a couple on the typical Gujarati music, and the sticks are used to perform this art form.

9. Rouf

Kashmir, North India


Performed by the Kashmiri people to celebrate their festivals and important occasions, Rouf is a soothing dance form generally performed by the female dancers on the traditional Kashmiri music.

10. Ghoomar



Wearing heavy jewellery and the beautiful costumes you will find the people of Rajasthan dancing on the beats of music to give away their traditional dance form. Ghoomar includes the intriguing circular movements complemented by the hand gestures.

11. Chhau

Mayurbhanj, Odisha


The beautiful women dressed in the elegant attire performing the dance form of Chhau is what you see during the festival time in Kolkata. The popular art coming from eastern India is considered as the dance in the form of martial arts.

12. Bihu

Assam, North-east India

Source: Wikipedia Commons

Young men and women mostly perform this joyous folk dance from Assam during the Bihu festival. The dancers follow a pattern of rapid hand movement, quick steps and a rhythmic swaying of hips wearing the traditional Assamese clothing with beautiful accessories.  Marking the beginning of spring season, Bihu recites the happiness and heritage of Assam and is performed on the occasion of Rangali Bihu. The dhol, Xutuli, Toka, Baanhi, Gogona are the instruments used to play the traditional tunes for the performance. The origin of Bihu is not very known, although the records profoundly state that it is originated from the Bisu dance performed by communities of Upper Assam like the Sonowal Kacharis, Deoris, Moran, Chutias and Borahis. The dance form isn't just known in India but globally popular. This popular Indian Dance was performed at the London Olympics in 2012.



Maharashtra, West India


Originated from the state of the Maratha empire, Lavani is a dance form of Maharashtra. The female-oriented dance is a blend of traditional music and tales of deities. The origin of Lavani comes from the word Lavanya which means beauty. Apart from helping in the upliftment of the Marathi folk theatre, the dance form was also a morale booster during the war in the 18th century. Lavani has two forms; One that's philosophical - Nirguni Lavani and the other that's sensual- Shringar Lavani. With the powerful and quick foot-tapping tempo, the dance form is performed along with the beats of the Dholak. The stories or subjects this dance is based on revolves around topics of religion, politics, society and mostly romance. Dancers are dressed in nine-yard of saree with golden jewellery. The dance was initially staged at local temples in the form of worship, but now it's a sensual dance performed to the pulsating beats rendering a socio-political satire.

14. Mohiniyattam

Kerala, South India


In Indian mythology, Mohini is the female avatar of Lord Vishnu, and the meaning of Attam in Malayalam is rhythmic motion hence adhering to the dance of the divine enchantress. It is the second most popular dance form of Kerala. This classical Indian dance form roots from the age-old Sanskrit text - Natya Shastra. It is traditionally performed by women following a repertoire of Carnatic music, singing and acting a play. At times, the song, a typical hybrid of Malayalam and Sanskrit also called Manipravalam, is sung by the performer herself. With a repertoire of instruments such a Mridangam, Madhalam, Flute, Idakka, Veena and Kuzhitalam; the music is rendered in ragas and performed in a slow melodic style. Although the Lasya dance is often portrayed as gentle, graceful and feminine, it also exhibits a vigorous dance of Tandava relating to Lord Shiva. Besides its popularity, the dance was ridiculed by a series of laws as a devadasi prostitution system during the colonial British Raj. A ban that was protested repealed in 1940 and with the help of the locals of Kerala, Mohiniyattam was revived and reconstructed.

15. Sattriya Dance

Assam, North East India


Mahapurusha Sankaradeva, a Vaishnava saint and reformer of Assam, introduced Sattriya dance in the 15th century AD. This dance form was preserved in the Sattras or the Vaishnava Maths; therefore, it remained a living tradition. This dance was an artistic way of presenting mythological teachings. Traditionally this dance was performed by the male monks or bhokots. However, today, the practice has changed in many ways. The theme is not just related to mythology, and the performances are not limited to the Sattras. Even women can perform Sattriya dance and on the stage. 

Origin of Indian Dance Forms

Indian dances can be traced back to ancient times. In the cave paintings of Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh, one can see dancing figures. The sculptures that date back to the Indus Valley Civilization also portray dancing figures. The text related to the origin of dance in India can be found in Natya Shastra, which was written by the sage Bharata. This text dates back to the 2nd century AD. In this text, the creation of dance is credited to Lord Brahma, who takes its knowledge from the four Vedas.

Other Dance Forms in India & Their States

Andhra Pradesh

Kolattam, Vilasini Natyam, Dhimsa

Arunachal Pradesh

Aji Lamu, Roppi, Phoning


Bagurumba, Ali Ai Ligang


Kajari, Jhumari


Dandari, Gendi, Panthi, Karma, Damkach


Mando, Talgari, Suvari, Dasarawadan, Kunbi, Fugadi


Raas, Bhavai, Tippani


Gugga, Khoria

Himachal Pradesh

Kullu Nati, Namgen, Hikat, Chham


Dumhal, Kud, Bhand Jashan




Krishna Parijatha, Nagamandala, Bhootha Aradhane


Kaikottikali, Thumbi Thullal

Madhya Pradesh

Karma, Gaur Maria, Kaksar, Ahiri


Pavri, Dhangari Gaja


Khamba Thoibi, Pung Cholom


Khuallam, Nongkrem


Cheraw, Khuallam


Changlo-Sua lua


Ghumura, Ruk Mar, Goti Pua




Kuccgi ghodi, Kalbelia, Bhavai, Sapera dance


Singhi Cham, Khukuri, Talachi

Tamil Nadu

Karagaattam, Mayil Attam, Kolaattam, Kummi, Kavadi


Garia, Hozagiri

Uttar Pradesh

Raaslila, Charkula


Barada Nati, Chapeli, Langvir

West Bengal

Gambhira, Kalikapatadi, Domni

It's downright astonishing to notice how many unique dances of India are hidden within each state of India. With endless varieties of cultural art forms adorned with traditions, dances reflect the cultural richness. Our nation is indeed united in diversity.

Classical Dances of India with States, Indian Classical Dances List

Table of Contents


Classical Dances of India

Technicalities and rigid guidelines are a big part of classical dances. The technical underpinnings of all traditional dance forms are laid down in Acharya Nandikeshawara’s “Abhinaya Darpan,” Sharangdev’s “Sangeeth Ratnakar,” and the Natya Shastra (which includes their body movements, rasa, bhava etc). According to India’s Ministry of Culture, there are nine recognised classical dances. Dance is first mentioned in a well-known work in Bharat Muni’s book Natya Shastra. Folk and classical dances are just two of the many types of dance practised in India.

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List of Classical Dances of India

Here is the List of Classical Dances of India:


Name of Classical Dance

Place of Classical Dance

1 Bharatanatyam Tamil Nadu
2 Kathak Northern India
3 Kathakali Kerala
4 Kuchipudi Andhra Pradesh
5 Manipuri Manipur
6 Mohiniyattam Kerala
7 Odissi Odisha
8 Sattriya Assam

States and Capitals of India

Classical Dances of India with States

Dance Forms



Bharatanatyam Tamil Nadu
  • Bharatnatyam is an ekaharya dance genre in which a single dancer represents numerous roles in a single performance.
  • One of the most crucial texts for understanding the technique and grammar of body movement in Bharatnatyam dance is Nandikesvara’s Abhinaya Darpana.
Kuchipudi Andhra Pradesh
  • Kuchipudi is the name of a village with a long tradition of dance-drama in Andhra Pradesh’s Krishna district. Its general moniker was yakshagaana.
  • The Kuchipudi style of yakshagana was developed in the 17th century by Siddhendra Yogi. It is performed in groups because it is a dance play.
Kathakali Kerala
  • Kathakali is a form of Indian theatre that dramatises tales from Indian epics while including dance, music, and acting.
  • Varying hues on the face signify various mental states and personalities, such as green for nobility, black for wickedness, and crimson patches for monarchy and evil.
  • It is impossible to overestimate the significance of eye movements, facial emotions, and hand gestures.
Mohiniyattam Kerala
  • Mohiniyattam, also known as the dance of Mohini, is the traditional solo dancing style of Kerala (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu).
  • In the 1709 book Vyavahara Mala by Mazhamagalam Narayanan Namputiri, Mohiniyattam is mentioned.
Odissi Odisha
  • The performance’s principal themes are Lord Vishnu’s incarnations and passages from Jayadeva’s Gita Govinda.
  • The neck, torso, and knees of the body are deflected in Tribhanga and Chowk, respectively, which are the two main postures (a position imitating a square).
Manipuri Manipur
  • Manipuri dance has its roots in prehistoric times, which is a long time before history was written down.
  • There are legends about Shiva and Parvati, as well as other gods and goddesses who created the cosmos, dancing, and dance is connected to rituals and traditional festivals in Manipur.
Sattriya Assam
  • In order to preach the Vaishnava religion, Sankaradeva, a Vaishnava saint and Assamese reformer, created the Sattriya dancing style in the 15th century A.D.
  • Because of its religious roots and connection to the Sattras, this dance form is referred to as Sattriya.
Kathak Uttar Pradesh
  • The word “Kathak” is derived from the word “Katha,” which means “a story.”
  • Kathak started to change into a different type of dance with the growth of the bhakti movement in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

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Famous Classical Dancer in India



Rukmini Devi Arundale




Pandit Birju Maharaj




Uday Shankar




Kelucharan Mohapatra




Guru Bipin Singh




Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam




Padma Subrahmanyam




Shovana Narayan Kathak


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Classical Dances of India Components

From the musical play or sangeet-nataka performed from the 12th to the 19th century, contemporary classical dance styles have developed. Tandava (movement and rhythm) and Lasya are the two fundamental elements of Indian classical dance (grace, bhava & rasa). The three primary elements are-

  • Natya (the dramatic element of the dance i.e. the imitation of characters)
  • The Nritta (the dance movements in their basic form)
  • Nritya (expressional component i.e. mudras or gestures)

These are the nine rasas: love, heroism, pathos, humour, anger, fear, disgust, wonder, and peace. The Natya Shastra, authored by Bharat Muni, is the primary work used by Indian aestheticians to define the features of dance.

National Symbols of India

Classical Dances of India Important Facts for UPSC

The Ministry of Culture also recognises Chhau Dance as a classical dance of India, bringing the total number of classical dances in India to nine. Sangeet Natak Academy (India’s National Academy) only recognises eight of these dances.

Several crucial aspects of chhau dance are as follows:

  • The Chhau Dance has meaning because to the name “Chaya. ” Chaya is Hebrew for shadow
  • Chhau dance is identified as a mask dance.
  • An essential component of Chhau Dance is its energetic martial art moves.
  • Chhau Dance uses a number of narrations, including Serpent Dance and Peacock Dance.
  • The Chhau Dance comes in three varieties: The Chhau dance known as Saraikella is well-known in Jharkhand, as is the Chhau dance known as Mayurbhanj in Odisha, and the Chhau dance known as Purulia in West Bengal.
  • Masks are not used in Mayurbhanj Chhau Dance.
  • The Chhau Dance was added to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity maintained by UNESCO.

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Classical Dances of India: FAQs

Q) What are the 8 main classical dances of India?

Ans. Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Kathakali, Sattriya, Manipuri, and Mohiniyattam are the eight dance forms that the Sangeet Natak Academy acknowledges. Chhau, Yakshagana, and Bhagavata Mela have also been added to the list by scholars like Drid Williams.

Q) What are the 8 classical dances of India with states?

Ans. 8 classical dances of India are:

  • Tamil Nadu: Bharatanatyam
  • Northern India: Kathak
  • Kerala: Kathakali
  • Andhrapradesh: Kuchipudi
  • Manipur: Manipuri
  • Kerala: Mohiniyattam
  • Odissi: Odisha
  • Sattriya: Assam

Q) How many classical dances are in India?

Ans. There are eight classical dances in India

Q) What are the six classical dance of India?

Ans. Six classical dance of India are:

  • Bharatanatyam
  • Kathakali
  • Kathak
  • Manipuri
  • Kuchipudi
  • Odissi

Q) Which classical dance is best?

Ans. The best classical dance, commonly referred to as the “mother of all other classical dance styles,” is known as Bharatanatyam. It is also one of the oldest dance forms in India, having descended from Tamil Nadu’s temple dancers. Expressions, music, beat, and rhythm are all combined in the dance in its purest form.

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Dance and sign language | Indian dances

India's attention is absorbed by time; the attention of the West is space. Music and dance is a temporary art for India. For the West, this is spatial art.
For India, dance is something sublime. It is believed that in its highest form the dance is combined with the cosmic rhythm. The performer is in bliss. The great Sufi mystic poet Rumi said that dance is "the shortest path to God."

Shiva is the patron of music and dance. He taught music to Narada, the heavenly messenger, and dance to Bharata, author of the Natyashastra, a treatise on dramatic art.
The ancient Greeks, like the Indians, had a dramatic form combined with music and dance. In the Greek productions of , the story of was told in chorus, while in the Indian ones, the story was told in the form of a song. Vidushaka (the moderator, for lack of a better way of presenting) was explaining the finer points.

Dance is a coordinated movement of the whole body and mind . The Abhinaya Darpana treatise explains that the dancer must sing the song with the throat, depict its meaning with gestures, the mood (bhava) with the eyes, and beat the exact rhythm with the feet. Again, “where the hand goes, there is the look; the mind follows the gaze; behind the mind are feelings; and behind the feelings - the mood. The gesture is considered the soul of Indian dance.

Dramatic art (Natya) was created by Brahma (one of the deities of the Indian triad of Gods) for enlightenment and entertainment people. This was called "imitation of worldly customs." The four elements of Natya - recitation, singing, acting and rasa - were borrowed from the four Vedas. Therefore it is called Natyaveda. Recitation was borrowed from Rig Veda , chanting system from Sama Veda, abhinaya (facial expressions accompanied by gestures) from Yajur Veda, and rasa (aesthetic experience) from Atharva Veda.

Gestures are one of the oldest forms of thought transmission. Human beings have a strong tendency to imitate. And many of these sign language systems are common to mankind. But dance gestures can mean many things. That is why singing has become so important. Vachika (verbal) abhinaya complements angika abhinaya (body language and gestures). And, let's not forget, adds grace and beauty to the art of dance. How are the appropriate mudras (gestures) selected for the words? It is believed that words are peculiar to hands. This expresses the fundamental principle of language based on natural and expressive movement, says Ananda Kumaraswamy, an authority on Indian art.

Several examples of such "natural" expressions can be given: rolling eyes indicate anger; a fixed look expresses love ; raised eyebrows - doubt; dilated nostrils - anger; lowered corners of the lips - sadness, lowered lip - envy, and so on. The body can express emotions in many ways. The dancer tries to achieve the ideal performance of the pose and convey the meaning of the eternal. Therefore, the dance technique is combined with the art of sculpture . Beryl De Zete, a European who practices Indian dance, describes the European dance system as "very simple" compared to the "expressive body culture" of Indian dance.

There are three dance forms : Tandava (masculine, energetic), Lasya (feminine, soft) and Pindibandha (combination of the two). Tandava (cosmic dance) is performed by Shiva, and Lasya is performed by his wife Parvati. Shiva added dance to Natya to endow her with "brilliance and beauty", to make her sweet to people's hearts.

There is a pure dance without abhinaya and a dance with elements of drama. Pure dance evolved from 108 ideal postures on which the movement technique called karana is based. Each karana consists of movements of several limbs - in other words, most of the body. Similarly, a complex system of linguistic signs (hand gestures) developed from an alphabet of basic hand gestures (hasta), just as oral and written language developed. Hands have become the main means of conveying thoughts. They translate words into signs. Adjectives, nouns, verbs, proper names, adverbs, linking words, prepositions, abstract concepts - all this can be depicted using gestures and facial expressions.

Each school of dance (and there are six main schools in India - Bharat Natyam, Kathakali, Manipuri, Kuchipudi, Odissi and Kathak) uses basic gestures. And each gesture can express many concepts - up to 85, like a pataka (flag) gesture. Therefore, there was a need for singing, which would explain the story. In the Western system of ballet, the emphasis is on wide hand gestures and a minimum of facial expressions. In essence, the face of a ballet performer expresses little emotion. The Indian dancer, on the other hand, expresses thousands of emotions quickly replacing each other with his face. Ballet is more of a "performance", no doubt attractive. Aristotle said about dramatic productions that their goal is to cleanse the soul of a person from strong passions. This goal cannot be achieved by Western ballet or dance.

Dance in India originated from Vedic ritual dances. The ritual also included elements of a dramatic performance.
No other dance form pays as much attention to sign language as the Indian. Every gesture is thought out to the smallest detail.
Since ancient times, the "language of hands" (aksara-mushtika) has been the subject of serious study. Some gestures have become universal. For example, a gesture denoting "protection and protection" (abhaya- mudra ). In a similar way, palms pressed together (anjali), a gesture that Indians greet each other, reminds them of the divine essence of man. (By the way, clasped hands above the head greet the gods, clasped in front of the face greet their guru (teacher), and clasped at the chest

Sign language
There are three forms of dance: Tandava (energetic), Lasya (soft) and Pindibandha (combination of the two). There are 108 dance poses described in the Natyashastra, called karana.
"Natya" consists of four elements: Angika (gestures and movements), Vachika (speech), Aharya (costume) and Satvika (feelings and aesthetic representation).

There are three forms of Angika: Sarira (body), Mukhaya (face) and Casta (movements of body parts).
The dance uses six angas (basic parts of the body): head, arms, thighs, chest, sides, feet; six upangas (smaller parts of the body) - eyes, eyebrows, nose, lips, cheeks, chin. In addition, the neck, shoulders, stomach, thighs, shins, knees are also used in the dance.

There are two forms of hasta mudras (hand gestures): Asamyuta (one hand gestures) mudras (there are 28 in total), and Samyuta (both hand gestures). There are only 24 such gestures. For a pure dance, 30 hasta movements are used.

The movements of the body are divided into four groups: karanas, angaharas, rechakas and pindibandhas.
There are four forms of bhanga (inclinations): bhanga, sambhanga, atibhanga and tribhanga. The first means calmness, the second is Buddha, the third is Nataraja, and the fourth is Parvati.

Foot movements are also of four kinds: Mandala (circular, 10 positions), Utplavana (jumping, five types), Bhramari (circling, seven types) and Padachari (leg movements, seven types), and ten types of gait are also distinguished. There are four colors of the face, denoting personality types. Eyes: Bharata marks 36 kinds of looks.

Uses seven eyebrow movements, seven eye movements, six nose movements, six cheek movements, six lips movements, six facial movements, nine neck movements, thirteen head movements, five chest positions, five side movements, five hip movements, five ankle movements. , five - with a shin, five - with feet, four - with hands, etc.

With that, I say goodbye with the word "pranam" - almost a universal gesture.

The author is an experienced journalist and well-known writer. This article is an abridged version of an article published in India Perspectives January 1997.

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Indian tribal and village dances

Indian dances are closely connected with the life of the people, with local traditions, with India's love of rhythm. From Kashmir in the north to Cape Kanyakumari in the south, from Kach in the west to Manipur in the east, life and moods of people find their expression in dance. In a short article it is impossible to cover even a small part of the variety of Indian dances, one can only give a few examples and try to convey the rhythm, colors and cheerful immediacy of the dances of various peoples and tribes of India.

Differences in living conditions, climate, language and environment have led to the emergence of an extraordinary wealth and variety of dance forms and styles, outfits and musical instruments. But in all this diversity, three main groups of dances can be distinguished dances performed on holidays and during various social events. ceremonies, dances performed by hereditary professional dancers, and tribal dances rooted in local cults and forming an integral part of the life of the community.

The distinction between "folk" and "tribal" is very subtle and vague. As for the word "folk", it seems that most researchers agree that there is a distinct divergence between classical and folk forms. The term "tribe" suggests a certain self-governing group of people, having its own specific type of cultural, economic, social and family organization. Indian tribes in the 20th century adopted many features of the new way of life. And yet we continue to separate them into tribes. In this sense, the term "tribe" implies a specific type of society or a specific type of social organization. But this does not mean that the art forms of these populations must necessarily be "tribal" in nature. Another term that can be used in relation to their art is "primitive". Some researchers prefer to speak of the performing and other arts of these peoples as primitive rather than tribal. In this case, primitive refers to those forms of art that have their roots in the past of the tribal community. Thus, when classifying a particular form of art as primitive or non-primitive, the historical origin of this art form is taken into account.

Looking further into this issue, we find that it is difficult to draw a sharp line between folk and tribal art. Everything that is created and performed by representatives of the tribes is called tribal, and everything that is created and performed by others is called folk art. It follows that the terms "folk" and "tribal" are used as social labels, and not as designations for art forms that differ in character. The situation is different with the term "classical" - here we begin to consider various styles in art, analyze their structure, as well as aesthetic principles and a set of formal techniques and rules by which works are created.

Folk dances are closely related to life cycle events as well as seasonal cycles and folk festivals. Birth and wedding - these are the two most important events in life, accompanied by the performance of certain dances. In the seasonal cycle, one of the main holidays is Holi , celebrated in March-April. According to the Indian calendar, this is the month of Falgun, spring, when the sleeping nature awakens . It is also the time of the spring harvest, so Holi is a celebration of joy and fun in the countryside, accompanied by songs, dances and music. Dances associated with events in the lives of individuals are usually limited to the family circle, while dances performed on holidays provide an opportunity for the whole community to unite. Family dances are more intimate, but at the same time they have their own special ease, immediacy and liveliness.

The dances of the tribes are completely different both in their social significance and in the formal language of expressive means. The fundamental difference between folk and tribal lies in the functional role that dance performance plays in the life of the community. For the tribes, dancing is not just a way of expressing festive fun, tribal dances are permeated through and through with religious beliefs, rituals and are associated with the general emotional mood of the tribe. The elements of the dance are deeply rooted in the social structure of the tribe. The representatives of the tribes sing and dance not only about the event of the life cycle - any event, any situation in life can make people turn to dance. This allows them to realize their organizational and structural integrity and indivisibility as a community. Thus, the performance of the dance, as it were, strengthens and maintains this organizational unity. The steps, body movements, rhythm and melody of the song are available to all members of the community: old and young, men and women. The sense of unity of the group is so strong that it leaves no room for the manifestation of individual skill. Whether it's a song (melody), lyrics (poems), rhythm or dance moves - everything is created in a completely natural way. The melody of the song is very simple, and the lyrics allow you to improvise, adding new images and ideas. The rhythm is based on four beats, the combinations of steps are repeated, while the hands and bodies of the performers are free to create various poses.

In folk dances, the participation of all members of the community is absolutely optional. Some dances are performed exclusively by women; one of the most famous examples is the Rajasthani ghumar dance. The dance is performed to the accompaniment of the dhol and thali instruments. The dhol is a large cylindrical drum that is struck with the palm and fingers of the right hand. A thali is a simple metal cymbal that is struck with a thin stick, it gives a rather sharp accompaniment, detailing the main rhythmic pattern. Musicians surround women , one of which starts the dance first at a moderate pace, then gradually speeding up and speeding it up. The drummer must follow the pace set by the dancer and musician. The dancer skillfully uses rhythm and body movements to create a graceful dance pattern. She spins around a vertical axis, the movements of her arms and neck elegantly complement the dance. Sometimes a group of women accompanies the dance with songs. It is important to note that the dancers never use gestures to convey the verbal content of the song. They create improvisations in natural language of gestures and postures. The dance started by one woman is continued by others. In one version, a large group of women stand in a circle and dance to the rhythmic accompaniment of percussion instruments. The main occasions for performing the ghumar dance are weddings and religious festivals navratri . The dancers wear richly ornamented clothes and a large amount of gold and silver jewelry.

Another well-known women's dance performed during the Navaratri period, the Gujarati garbha dance, is also widespread in parts of Rajasthan. The dance symbolizes the worship of mother earth, and the navratri lasts nine days - and during the nine nights of the holiday, the sounds of music and rhythmic beats of drums are heard on all roads and squares in Gujarati villages. The dancers move in a circle, the dance is accompanied by clapping and drumming, up to fifty women take part in the dance. Some women's dances can also be seen in tribal areas, such as the famous bamboo stick dance performed by Mizo girls in Mizoram, northeast India. Bamboo sticks are placed on the ground so that they form squares and beat one against the other, creating a rhythmic dance pattern. Girls must show extraordinary dexterity and step over them very carefully, otherwise bamboo sticks hitting each other can hit their legs very painfully.

We have already mentioned the Navratri festival as one of the most important occasions for dancing. Another such holiday is the spring holiday Holi. In Rajasthan, on the occasion of Holi, the gair dance is performed, predominantly by men. In the Shekhawati region, he is known as gindarkh. In large villages, many men participate in the gair dance, who stand in a circle and dance to the accompaniment of surnai and nagara or dhol and thali instruments. When performing the gindarkh dance, the dancers beat a drum called chang. The arrangement of the dancers in a circle is an important setting for this dance. The steps are taken by all performers in sync, but each dancer's body movements can vary according to the rhythm changes. Slow, medium, fast rhythms replace each other, accompanying the graceful and graceful movements of the dancers. But this is not the only form of gair dance. Three varieties of it are known in Western Rajasthan, in particular the angia gair, whose performers wear large, heavy, loose robes that fall from shoulders to heels. The rhythm is slow, but the huge circle of people is moving fast enough. Each performer holds two long, thin sticks in their hands, and pairs of dancers alternately cross these sticks in beats. This sets both the rhythmic organization of the dance and its visual image. The performers of this dance must be in constant motion.

It is important to note that, according to tradition, the surrounding villages collect money for costumes and take care of their preservation until the next holiday. Some of the gair dance robes can weigh up to forty kilograms, and they take a lot of fabric .

In mid-April, Bihu, the New Year's holiday, begins. In Assam, in northeastern India, a variety of folk dances are performed on this occasion. New Year's dances are divided into two groups - round dances khuchari and bihu. Khuchari performs a round dance of young men in the open air. Young men meet with a dance new year and strive to receive the blessing of God for the people. The dance is performed at an increasing pace and is accompanied by sharp beats of the phol drum. Bihu dance is performed jointly by boys and girls, they form circles, eights, rows and other figures. The dance is accompanied by the performance of short songs, usually about love, to the accompaniment of simple musical instruments.

Among various social and family celebrations, a wedding is always an occasion for dancing. This applies to both folk dances and tribal ones. Of the tribal dances, the wedding dance of the Mari tribe, who lives in Bastar in Madhya Pradesh, is very famous. The traditional Mari wedding ceremony is simple, and the dance is an important part of it. The men who perform this dance have a complex 9 on their heads.0139 decoration made of bamboo stems, with bull horns on the forehead and a tuft of feathers on the crown. A strip of cloth adorned with shells covers the dancer's eyes. Holding elongated drums in their hands, men move in a huge circle, and women, also standing in a row, perform various movements. The rhythm of the dance is set by the thunderous peals of the drums.

The daily life of the people is also reflected in the dance. At the heart of such dances is often a ritual, a spell. These dances in their form resemble real activities - threshing, harvesting, hunting, overcoming stormy sea waves by fearless fishermen. Hunting is one of the main activities of most tribes, and the dance may depict the pursuit of a wild boar or a lion. Until recently, the merits of a tribe were judged by the military prowess of its men, so dances that recreate scenes of war, warlike in their function and in the pattern of the dancers' movements, became an integral part of the collective repertoire of the tribes. The Sema Nagas in northeastern India perform dances wearing ceremonial robes and carrying spears and swords. A majestic procession of men, alternating jumps and runs, slowly moves through the clearing. In the old days, this sight was supposed to inspire horror. Today, graceful movements of human bodies, graceful bends and dexterous jumps create aesthetic pleasure.

Another male harvest dance, the Punjabi bhangra, is a show of strength and community. To the beat of the drums, peasants in turbans and colorful sleeveless jackets whirl in the dance, their shoulders twitching to the beat of the drums, their arms outstretched in intoxicating delight. As new members join the dancers, the circle expands. The general mood and immediacy of performance allow for a variety of movement options - jumps and pirouettes, jumps and even complex acrobatic exercises. This dance embodies the energy and the vitality of the people

Such a brief overview is inevitably incomplete Much more could be written about the dances of the Santals, for whom dance is an integral part of their being, or about the Kashmiri ruf dance, or about the dances of all the peoples inhabiting the prigima-lay areas , from Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, or about the folk dances of southern India. But in conclusion, I would like to say a few words about the dances performed by professional dancers. This type of dance necessarily implies the existence of certain relationships between spectators and performers, where their roles are clearly demarcated. For comparison, we can say that all the dances discussed above are performed by people for themselves. Professional dancers, on the other hand, perform dances for spectators or patrons who critically evaluate the skill of the performer. This places special demands on the art of dance and forces artists to strive to improve their skills through constant exercises. This does not happen with folk and tribal dances, which in their essence are only a means conveying an idea or sentiment. Dances performed by professional dancers differ from folk dances in this sense. But nevertheless, they are also closely connected with the social and cultural aspects of the way of life of the people, rituals, holidays, and therefore do not completely lose the character that is characteristic of folk dances

A good example of the dances of this group is the Rajasthani teratali dance. Teratali dance performers are called kamads, and this dance serves the religious needs of certain groups in the stratified Indian society. In the center of the dance stands the figure of the god Rama. Kamads perform the dance throughout the night, accompanied by religious chants and dramatizations from the epic, which should bring prosperity to those who ordered the dance.

Two or three female dancers, accompanied by male singers and musicians, take part in the gantz geratali. The dancers put on 6-7 manjir bells on the right leg, two manjirs on the forearm, one on the forehead, and also take two manjirs in each hand. The essence of the dance is to achieve an expressive effect by striking the manjirs against each other in a special way. The dancer performs the dance while sitting. Then, complicating the execution, she takes a sword in her teeth and rings bells in the immediate vicinity of it. In addition, there is a small clay pot on the dancer's head, which she must keep in balance with any movements. There are only three accompanying instruments: a stringed instrument that sets the rhythm - it can be a chautara, wine or tandoor, a cylindrical drum - dho-lak and a pair of cymbals - tal.

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