How many dance styles 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.

The 9 Dance Forms of India

Lord Shiva’s NATARAJA (Lord of the Dance) image is one of India’s most recognizable icons. Shiva’s cosmic dance, according to Hinduism, involves the processes of creation, preservation, and destruction, and this notion has been rooted in Hindu philosophy and ritual since the dawn of civilization.

India is well-known for having a diverse and rich cultural history. The country’s identity is based on its ability to diversify. Indian dancing is one of our culture’s most cherished symbols and one of its most important.

Generally speaking, dancing forms in India may be divided into two categories: Classical dance forms and folk dance forms.

According to local legend, these dance styles have developed in various regions of India and spread worldwide. This article will briefly overview the different Indian dance styles, both classical and folk.

Table of Contents

India’s Dance Forms

Classical and folk dance are India’s two most popular types of dance. The origin of the dance is the most significant distinction between classical and folk dance. Classical dance has a long and continuing connection with the Natya Shastra, which describes the unique characteristics of each classical dance style.

On the other hand, folk dance originates in the local traditions of the particular state, ethnic group, or geographic area in which it originated.

Classical Dance in India

India is a culturally varied country, with unique languages, cuisines, and dance traditions in almost every area. The country has a population of 1.2 billion people. There are many different kinds of dance in India, all of which are magnificent.

Classical, folkloric, and tribal forms are examples of this. India’s Bharatanatyam dance style, the world’s oldest and most famous classical dance form, was created during ancient times.

International Dance Day is celebrated by taking a virtual tour of India’s world-renowned classical dance traditions, which you may see here.

The Natya Shastra is the source of the traditional dance styles we know today. There are eight traditional dance styles in India. The Indian Cultural Ministry has added Chhau to the list of classical dances, bringing the total number of traditional dance forms in the country to nine.

The following are the 9 fundamental technicalities (Navarasas) that are portrayed in classical dance:


The following is a list of Indian classical dances:

Origin State India’s classical dances
Andhra Pradesh Kuchipudi
Assam Sattriya
Jharkhand Chhau
Kerala Kathakali
Kerala Mohiniyattam
Manipur Manipuri
Odisha Odissi
Tamil Nadu Bharatnatyam
Uttar Pradesh Kathak


Kuchipudi | Andra Pradesh

Kuchipudi is an Indian dancing form with a long history. The art style is named for where the artist, who was born in Andhra Pradesh’s Krishna district. Siddhendra Yogi created the Kuchipudi style of Yakshagaana in the 17th century.

Siddhendra Yogi is believed to have had a dream in which Lord Krishna requested him to compose a dance-drama based on the legend of the Paarijaata flower being brought to Sathyabhaama, Krishna’s most adored queen.

Siddhendra Yogi wrote the Bhaamaakalaapam in response to this instruction. The form’s originator staged a dance drama with young boys from hamlet. Techniques like dancing on the rim of a brass plate and with a pitcher full of water on the head were introduced to demonstrate the dancers’ skill in footwork and their control and balance over their bodies.

Kuchipudi was firmly acknowledged as a distinct classical solo dancing form by the middle of the twentieth century.


Sattriya | Assam

The ‘Sattras’ created by Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardev in the 15th and 16th centuries gave birth to Sattriya Dance. The Sattras were founded to spread Vaishnavism and eventually evolved into a religious, cultural, and social center for the people of Assam.

The famous Vaishnavite Saint created this dance style, and its fundamental origins are similar to other forms of Indian classical dance. This dance style got its name from the word “Sattra” and was originally a component of the “Ankia Naats.”

Male Bhokots initially performed this dance style in the Sattras and Namghars as part of religious ceremonies to promote the Vaishnavism ideology. It was restricted inside the four walls of the Sattras for many centuries.


Chhau | Jharkhand

The royal family of Saraikela, an ancient state in Jharkhand, has preserved the chhau, a unique form of masked dance. The performer takes on the character of a god, an animal, a bird, a hunter, a rainbow, a night, or a flower.

He presents a short topic and a series of stories during April’s annual Chaitra Parva event. The term ‘Chaya’ refers to the Chhau Dance. Chaya translates as “shade.” Energetic martial arts moves characterize Chhau Dance.

Serpent Dance and Peacock Dance are two examples of Chhau Dance narrations. Mayurbhanj Chhau Dance does not include the usage of masks.

Chhau Dance has been inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of Humanity’s Intangible Cultural Heritage.

There are three kinds of Chhau Dance:
  • Saraikella: This Chhau Dance is famous in Jharkhand
  • Mayurbhanj: This Chhau Dance is famous in Odisha
  • Purulia: This Chhau Dance is renowned in West Bengal


Kathakali | Kerala

Kerala is home to various traditional dances and dance dramas, the most famous of which is Kathakali. Kathakali is an old art form developed from different social and religious theatre traditions that flourished in the southern region.

Kerala’s ceremonial performance arts, such as Chakiarkoothu, Koodiyattam, Krishnattam, and Ramanattam, have directly affected Kathakali’s form and technique.

Kathakali dance sequences may be found in Kerala temple sculptures and murals from the Mattancheri temple, which dates from the 16th century.

It is a “story play” art form, but it is differentiated by the traditionally male actor-dancer’s lavishly colorful make-up, costumes, and face masks.


Mohiniyattam | Kerala

Kerala’s ancient solo dance form, Mohiniyattam, is rightly translated as the dance of ‘Mohini,’ the Hindu mythical heavenly enchantress.

According to a Puranic legend, Lord Vishnu masked himself as a ‘Mohini’ to attract the Asuras both during the churning of the ocean and during the slaying of Bhasmasura.

Its roots may be traced back to Kerala’s temples. Flexible, swinging body movements characterize Mohiniyattam.

The lasya style is feminine, delicate, and beautiful. The toe glides and up and down movement emphasize the soft body movements, recalling the swaying of coconut, palm, and paddy fields.


Manipuri | Manipur

Manipuri is an Indian classical dance style that originates in the state of Manipur in India’s northeastern corner, both picturesque and secluded. Manipuri dance has its roots in the ancient past.

Traditionally, the dance has been linked to religious rites and festivals, including stories about Shiva and Parvati and other deities dancing. Manipuri dance has many styles, although the Ras, the Sankirtana, and the Thang-Ta are the most popular.

The popular Manipur Rasleela dances dated back to King Bhagyachandra’s reign in the 18th century. According to legend, the King dreamed up this entire dance style, complete with a distinctive costume and original music, during a sleepless night. Radha, Krishna, and the gopis are central characters in Manipuri Ras.


Odissi | Odisha

Odissi, an Indian classical dance style, originates in the eastern seaboard state of Odisha, known as Odissi.

This dancing style has been documented as far back as the 2nd century B.C. in the Bhubaneshwar caves of Udayagiri and Khandagiri.

The temple dancers, known as Mahari, have been the primary keepers of this dance for hundreds of years. The dancer is dressed in ornate silver Odiya jewelry and a unique hairstyle.

Each time they perform, even a contemporary Odissi dancer reinforces the devadasis’ or Mahari’s belief in dancing as a means of freedom or moksha for themselves.

Robust and explosive footwork (tandava) is combined with graceful, elegant female postures and motions, resulting in a highly stylized dance form (Lasya). Odissi focuses on spirituality and dedication since it has been passed down from teacher to student for thousands of years.


Bharatanatyam | Tamil Nadu

The term ‘Bharatanatyam’ is derived from three fundamental concepts: Bhava, Raga, and Thaala, which are all related. This is the basic interpretation of the name Bharatanatyam – BHAva (expression) + RAga (music) + TAla (rhythm) + NATYAM (dancing)  

Hindu temple dancers in southern India used to practice Bharatanatyam, a traditional Indian dance style with origins in the Tamil Nadu region. Initially performed in Hindu temples in Tamil Nadu, south India, Bharatanatyam is an old classical dance style.

Bharata Natyam is used to express Hindu religious concepts and devotions. Its techniques and language may be traced back to ancient texts written by the Brahman sage and priest Bharata, such as the Natya-shastra.

Bharata Natyam was initially only performed by female temple dancers, and it wasn’t taken to the stage for public performances until around 1930.


Kathak | Uttar Pradesh

‘Kathak’ comes from the term ‘Kata,’ which means story/tale in Sanskrit. Kathakars, also known as storytellers, tell tales heavily influenced by epics, myths, and legends.

The recitation became more powerful via mime and gestures, which may have originated as an oral tradition. Kathak as we know it now has its roots in this basic style of expressional dance that evolved through time.

Traditional Hindustani music and dance are entangled in this style of north Indian dance, which features agile feet and an instrument called pakhawaj. Kathak emphasizes feet rather than Bharatanatyam’s hasta mudras or hand motions.

These dances have no hip movements; instead, the dancers rely on their ankle bells (ghungaroos) to keep time with their steps. In terms of clothing and ideas, these dances frequently resemble miniature paintings from the Mughal period.

Indian folk dances 

Folk dances in India reflect the culture and history of the community from whom they originated. The performance of folk dances often marks births, festivals, weddings, and other types of community festivities. In India, there are many distinct kinds of folk dances are there.

The following is a list of Indian folk dances:

Origin StateIndia’s classical dances
Andhra PradeshKuchipudi
Tamil NaduBharatnatyam
Uttar PradeshKathak

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Kathakali is one of the oldest theatrical forms in the world.
The Katakali dance originated in the southwestern region of India, now known as the state of Kerala.
Kathakali is a dance drama where the actors portray characters from the epic Ramayana and scenes from ancient scriptures. The declarative part of Kathakali is long and talks about the feelings arising in the courtyards of the Kerala temple.
The traditional temple dance Kathakali begins in the evening and continues throughout the night, culminating at the auspicious hour of dawn when Good triumphs over Evil.
Today the dance lasts for about a couple of hours and is adapted for a religious service in an urban environment.
The dancers perform in wide skirts and a headdress, applying the most intricate style of cosmetics. They perform a dance to music with drums and vocalists to create different moods and emotions in the process of showing a rather long dance. The Kathakali dance has many elements of drama and dances with elaborate masks and costumes.

Bharatha Natyam - South Indian classical dance has been around for three thousand years.
The name Bharatha Natyam was given to him in 1930, shortening the names of the three main elements of Bharatha dance - bhava (facial expression), raga (melody), and tala (rhythm).
Originally the art of this dance was known as sadi or dasiattam and was performed in Hindu temples by female dancers. Brahata Natyam dance was a part of daily rituals and religious or holidays.
Bharatha Natyam is distinguished by rhythmic, strong footwork, precise movements, sculptural postures. Indian dance Bharatha Natyam in a modern performance is a dynamic dance with bright expressive facial expressions and emotional mood

Kathak - widespread in North India.
The name comes from the word katha, story or fable. The origin of the dance dates back over 2000 years ago.
Bards, wanderers and minstrels told the villages about the sacred scripture through songs and dances with comments.
The Mongols introduced this dance as a court dance and its performance became a popular refined entertainment, where it acquired an accent of secular ceremony along with the complex rhythmic development of the theme
Modern Kathak is the art of the theater, in the presentation and refined movement of the face and hands and the mimicry of stories of all kinds, recitation and classical dance, combining elements of Muslim dances and culture of India.

Kuchipudi - Kuchipudi takes its name from the village of Kuchelapuram in India.
As a classical form of dance, drama and music, Kuchipudi is unique among Indian classical idioms.
Originating in the 7th century BC as an ascetic yoga dance, Kuchipudi was originally a male traditional dance. Groups of men portrayed the roles of women in performances from Indian mythology. The
Kuchipudi features fast rhythms and restrained movements, creating a unique blend of control and power and exquisite precision.

Manipuri - Manipuri originated from the picturesque valleys of northern India. Until now, it is danced in temples and at religious holidays, this form of dance is a very living tradition.
The Manipuri dance style is soft and feminine, a dance of love and cheerfulness.
According to legend, Shiva and his consort danced it in the green valleys of India invoking the merciful light of Mani (jewel)
The Manipuri dance is a generic name and unites all dance forms of this land.
- Manipuri - Ras style is the lyricism of many small hand gestures.
- Chooloms style is another form of Manipuri that includes strength exercises and fast beats.
- Poong Choolam danced by men holding drums
- Kartal Choolam, close by both men and women with cymbals
- Lai Haraoba - another form of Manipuri that depicts the creation of the universe. The costumes used in this dance form are decorative and rich in colours.

Mohiniattam is the distinctive dance form of Kerala. The god Vishnu according to Hindu mythology took the form of Mohini, the divine sorceress.
This is how the dance form got its name. This dance form is different from other arts of India in that the religious atmosphere of other classical dance styles is absent from the Mohiniyaattam dance.
The swinging movement of the torso from side to side is a feature of the Mohinites dance. Rhythmic variations on rhythm syllables are an integral part of vocal accompaniment. And this is done gracefully by the dancer with beautiful gestures and footwork.
Mohiniyaattam - charm dance, its purpose is to show feelings.
Mohiniyaattam is primarily a solo female dance filled with drama and emotional intertwining of partings and reunions, clash of characters in love

Odissi - a classical dance form with conversations - perhaps the oldest classical dance form of India, it dates back to the 2nd century BC .
Odissi - - a form of dance of the temple of devotion to hrayu and the religion of India. This style of dance from the East Indian state of Orissa was traditionally performed as a devadasi or temple dance.
The dances were dedicated to Lord Krishna. This dance style was suppressed and virtually exterminated except in a few distant villages where it was supported by young male dancers.
Odissi's revival began in 1949 with the independence of India. The dance form was revived after the exploration of temples in Orissa, where the intricate positions of the dance were preserved in sculptures.
Like other dance forms in India, Odissi has two main aspects: conversational and expressive dance (Abhinaya). Curved positions of the body and stylization of the dance under sculptural compositions, restrained modest movements of the torso in combination with small clear movements of the lower body - this is the character of Odissi.

Nritta, Nrittya, Natya
There are three varieties of Indian classical dance. First, Nritta, or pure dance. Consisting only of the dancer's body movements, it is performed at ease and cheerfully, and is devoid of other shades of mood, except for joy. Then Nrittya, which combines pure dance and the transmission of emotions through gestures, facial expressions, eyes. Nrittya embodies a variety of feelings and moods, using poetry and the entire lexicon of gestures, where each position of the fingers (Hasta) carries a different shade of meaning. The third type of classical dance is Natya, a kind of dramatic art. The dancer tells a story or develops a specific theme.
The most frequently used theme is the relationship between a man and a woman (Nayaka-nayika Bhava), which at the philosophical level is revealed as the aspiration of the human soul to the Beyond. In order to properly perform Nrittya and Nattya, a deep knowledge of the human soul, an understanding of emotions is necessary. In Indian cultural tradition, they are divided into nine categories called Navaras - nine entities. These are love, joy, compassion, courage, anger, fear, disgust, surprise and peace. Each dancer strives to convey these emotions through Bhava, i.e. external manifestation of emotions on the face and in body movements.

Somewhat apart from the great classical styles, there are many semi-classical and folklore varieties of martial arts and traditional dramatic forms derived from the same source as the classical styles. Various ritual dance forms, closely intertwined with musical performances, are often displayed at festivities and worship. For example, the magnificent art of Chhau, a masked dance that originated in Bengal and Orissa, is on the rise. This and other styles, scattered throughout the country, form the treasure trove of the Indian dance tradition.

The dance art of rural India differs in costume coloring, make-up, language, music and performance style. Each village has its own professional and folk holidays, its own customs and traditions, favorite poems and its own unique perception of music and dance. And against the backdrop of the land that gave birth to them, they represent a highly spiritual spectacle, for in them the beating of the heart of India is heard, a part of her soul lives.

The style of film dances has changed and developed along with the art of cinema and India itself, but not a single element of the dance has disappeared without a trace. On the contrary, a new one was added to the previous one, and the dances were enriched with new movements and ideas. Today, Indian film dances are known as Bollywood style dances. In India itself, this style is called “Bollywood masala”, which means “Bollywood spice mix”. Bollywood directors use everything acquired by Indian civilization (numerous folk and tribal dances, classical styles, martial arts), the countries of the Middle East (belly dance, folk and classical dances) and the Western world (hip-hop, jazz, rock and roll, everything possible forms of Art Nouveau, Latin American dances), and create a unique “Bollywood” style. He is instantly recognizable, because all movements are saturated with Indian expression and performance.
Naturally, stage productions of Bollywood Masala differ from film productions. They are richer choreographically and more diverse in the base of movements. "Bollywood masala" is the most popular among Indian youth and all those who are fond of Indian dances. This style leads to perfect control of the body, teaches you to express emotions in motion, introduces you to the bright and unforgettable world of Indian cinema.


Kathak style in Indian classical dance system

Master's degree


Specialty Directing

Specialization Directing choreography”

Dissertation on Master of Arts degree

1 0 1 0 Supervisor:

10 10 Candidate of Arts

Shankibaeva Aliya Bakhitzhanovna

Almaty 2011.



Indian Style Introduction classical dance

1.1 History of Indian classical dance

1.1.1 Indian classical dance: Bharatanatyam

1.1.2 Indian classical dance: Kathakali

1.1.3 Indian classical dance: Odisi

1.1.4 Indian classical dance 1.1.5 Indian classical dance: Kuchipudi

1.1.6 Indian classical dance: Mohinyatt

1.2 Kathak history: Gharanas (schools) in Indian classical style Kathak.

1.2.1 Jaipur gharana

1.2.2 Lucknow gharana

1.2.3 Benares gharana

1.2.4 Three varieties of Nritta, Nritya, Natya.

1.2.5 Basic emotions and Hastas (hand gestures)

2. Famous Kathak style dancers

2.1 Rajendra Gangani

2.2 Prerna Shrimali

2.3 Birzhu Maharaj

2.4 Saswati Sen




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Significant interest Kazakhstanis to Indian culture in general and to Indian dance in particular, due to the large difference in expression means and desire to touch the secrets art of India.

Relevance research topics. Interest in Indian culture formed in the second half of the twentieth century through Indian cinema. Particularly attractive it contained, as noted by a number of researchers Soviet period, namely dance culture – dynamic, plastic, spectacular and unusually expressive (facial expressions, gestures, poses, etc.).

But, on the other hand, the dance art of India remains for the Kazakh viewer nothing more than exotic, language of Indian dance - movements, facial expressions, gestures, body postures and many other expressive means are still unknown to the general public Kazakh audience. Unknowing of the language closes the doors to the treasures of the ancient Indian civilization. Access to this theme is caused by the fact that in modern dance society, there are incentives to study and performances of Indian classical dance. These are positive motives, but there are significant errors which should not be allowed. For example, I have seen TV shows and at concerts, as dancers, performing indian dance using dance movements and gestures showed the sky, flowers, eyes, not knowing that at that moment in the song it was sung that she puts on bracelets and bells for legs. Second example: performers in dance used the Anjali gesture (greetings) moreover, using above the head, between the eyebrows and in front of the chest (above the head of the greeting Gods, for the teacher - between the eyebrows, and for scientists and people - in front of the chest) in the song it was sung that she, dressing up in front of a mirror, admires himself.

Missing information on the methodical study of style Kathak, as well as, disclosure of the main style components for professional dancers and everyone who wants to get acquainted with the basics of this dance, determined the relevance research topic "Kathak style in the system Indian classical dance.

These and other observations and examples from existing situations identified the rationale for the need this research work.

Object of study: Kathak as one of the styles of Indian classical dance.

Subject of research: performance features of the Kathak style, its main schools and their distinctive traits.

The relevance of the topic determined its main goals and objectives: the main goal of the study is determining the place and meaning of Kathak style, designation of its specific features in the general system of Indian classical dance and, at the same time, full disclosure history of indian dance for kazakhstan performer. To reveal the purpose were the following tasks were set:

1) Implement methodological analysis of qualitative characteristics basic movements and postures of the style.

2) Send the most exact semantic meanings basic style movements in order to reveal its peculiarity and difference from other styles of Indian dance.

3) On the example of the analysis of the creativity of four outstanding performers of contemporary Indian classical Kathak style reveal the peculiarity of dance schools that they represent.

During the study, the following hypothesis is put forward:

Phenomenon structuring Indian culture will allow more accurately determine the place in it for the Kathak style and give its fuller description, which will enable the development correct methods of teaching this style to choreographers.

The degree of knowledge. In Kazakhstani art criticism, there is little information about the classical dance of India. This issue has been extensively covered in country. About the art of dance in India written polygraphs and textbooks in English language, authors such as: Dr. Sunil Kothori, a leading dance historian, scholar, critic, author of 12 books on Indian dances, detailing the existing 7 styles of Indian classical dance, including "Indian dance art” describing Kathak style; "Indian dance art" describing Kuchipudi style; "Indian executive art forms over the past 25 years", "Indian dance art" - Bharatanatyam, and others. Leela Samson famous dancer Bharatanatyam style, choreographer and author the books "Rhythm in Joy", "Joy of the Classical Dances of India". Shovana Narayan is one of the most famous Kathak style dancers, author of 10 books on Indian classical dances. All these books are written in English.

Russian in 1963 Publishing house "Art" a book by a famous playwright was published and publicist Balvant Gargi "Theatre and dance of India", where the author perfectly describes the origins of the spectacular art in general, all covered art forms of India, where each chapter briefly a description of one type or another is given. Author as a playwright, first of all, reflected the emotional side of Indian theater and dance, and only then noted their qualities. The book describes four styles indian classical dance of seven currently existing. This is bharatnatyam kathakali, manipuri and kathak. Kathak style - the topic of our study, represented by one school and by example one performer.

Online on the website of Indian dance, you can find many sources, like video lessons, contributing to the acquisition of performance skills of one style or another for everyone. Naturally, these are adapted versions for amateurs, contributing to a wider getting to know Indian dance and getting healing effect, while the canonized Indian dance involves strict learning one style, learning all his secrets to be called a master dance.

In 2004 publishing center Russian State University for the Humanities published a book by S. I. Ryzhakova "Indian dance is the art of transformation". Book dedicated to the dance culture of India, mostly indian classical dance. The book describes the main features indian performing arts, presents an essay on the history and theory of Indian dance, described in detail the classical styles - kathak, bharatnatyam, kuchipudi, odissi, kathakali, mohini-attam, manipuri. However, no less attention is paid to and on the "neighborhood" dance in India, its connection with the art of music, painting and sculpture, religious cults, dramatic performances, cultural everyday life. The book is addressed to dance professionals, and to a wide range of readers interested in art and spiritual culture of the East.

In Kazakhstan art history 5 styles were described in the Methodological Guide G. Saitova and O. Shubladze "Oriental dances". Almaty, 2007 for a brief description history of the origin of each style. The authors elaborate on style bharatanatyam: some points are given hands, leg positions, finger movements, wrists and hands, movements of the head, eyes, body and legs, some moves. Kathak style presented with a general description of the history occurrence and a brief definition well-established program of performances of dancers.

For many years, since May 1998, active pedagogical activity for the study Bharatanatyam Indian classical style Dance in Kazakhstan is led by Akmaral Kainazarova - professional performer choreographer and teacher. Her professional the study of this style in India was marked high achievements in the performing art, as well as teaching the young generations of Bharatanatyam dancers.

Lack of information about Indian classical dance and in particular the Kathak style, desire to disclose information on the study of this style, determined the scientific novelty of the studied Topics. Indian dance is a kind the story of the ancient cosmogonic Hindu representations. Polytheism in art dance of India, there is a reflection of Hinduism - the most unusual religion in the world, where polytheism reaches incredible proportions. Each gesture, look, movement are peculiar transfer of knowledge in a given situation etc. Knowledge of all these features, ability use all details in accordance with style and meaning with lyrics, obliges performers to study the subtleties performed style of Indian dance. Today, the Kathak style appears, as a little-studied dance in the field of study Kazakh researchers. This scientific work is the first the most complete experience of Kathak style analysis, its unique beauty and significance in the Indian classical dance system.

Fundamentals, taken out for defense. Indian dance culture presents is a complex structure. Should be distinguished classical dances with a variety of them styles and folk dances, each of the elements this complex system has specific means of expression, areas of functioning musical accompaniment, costume, paraphernalia, storylines. in line with this, each reflection of this or that feelings correspond to certain gestures strictly sustained in their canons and poses. These elements found in each of the eight styles have their own characteristics performance, which is their difference from each other.

In this work, respectively the provision of significance is put forward Kathak style in the system of Indian classical dance, reflecting a certain historical era in the history of the theater the arts of India as a whole, in order to preserve originality and accuracy of executed movements, imbued with the severity of execution style norms.

Scientific research suggests a certain practical significance, which lies in the fact that its results, based on specific examples and conclusions, will be very important for all students Kathak style. Dating opportunity with professional style away from ethnic background, presumably will promote the development of tolerance in society and the enrichment of diversity Kazakh school of folk dance.

General Disclosure scientific work was reflected in its structure, which consists of a title page, Contents, Introduction, Main body, consisting of two sections, Conclusion, List of references, Applications (...).

classical dance

1.1 History of Indian classical dance dance

Indian dances present is one of the brightest elements cultures of India. Indian dance is usually divided into classic and folk. Classical movements dances were canonized by the legendary Bharata Muni, who brought together and canonized various types of dance, pantomime and drama in the book "Natyashastra" between 100-300s AD In "Natya Shastra" are given clarification of basic terms: "natya" What does dance mean in Sanskrit? and "drama", reflecting the continuity of these concepts. Bharata speaks of "nritya" - expressive pantomime dance, which tells a whole story, and about "nritta" - pure dance for the sake of a dance in which the dancer completely given to the elements of rhythms.

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