How many types of dance 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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How many kinds of dances are there in the world?. Who is who in the world of art

How many types of dances are there in the world?. Who's Who in the Art World


Who is who in the world of art
Sitnikov Vitaly Pavlovich


How many kinds of dances are there in the world?

Dancing has existed since the very first steps of mankind. Primitive people in dances depicted the forces of nature, they gave dances magical power. There were also military and hunting dances, wedding and funeral dances.

They danced in the temples of ancient Egypt and in Greece. It was the Greeks, who admired dance as an art form, who developed it to such an extent that dance ceased to be part of religious ceremonies, but became a source of entertainment. Dances became an integral part of all feasts and holidays among the Greeks. They danced in India and Spain, as well as in the countries of the East.

Later, the country where the art of dancing really began to develop was France.

There are many types of classical dances: the serious and unhurried dance of the court houses of England - the allemande, the intricate French dance - the courante, the majestic sarabande, the jig - the old dance of English sailors, the Norwegian peasant dance of the springar, the Polish polonaise, the Krakowiak, the mazurka and the polka. And, of course, everyone's favorite and ageless waltz. According to experts, there are now more than 250 types of different dances in the world.

This text is an introductory fragment.

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National dance of India - online presentation

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1. India - National dance

India National dance

India is a large country,
and has a large number of
ethnic and
linguistic groups. In
this country meets
a huge variety
and a wealth of folk
music and dances. There are 90,005 folk dances in 90,005 states in each state.
each dance has its own
character, its own costume.
The dances of the northern states
are very different
from the dances of the south.
Folk dances
are closely related to
life cycle events
, with
natural phenomena.
Birth, marriage,
end of the harvest
- these are
the most important events,
accompanied by dancing
People in India know how to dance and love it. Many Indians learn some form of classical dance or musical instrument as children, and almost everyone dances folk dances.
In many parts of India
dance with candles
or lamps - fire
is considered sacred and
brings purification. Once in the year
, India celebrates the
Festival of Lights, when the forces of
good conquer evil.
The symbol of victory and
purification is fire.
Therefore, at the end of
concerts in India,
love to dance with candles.
The plasticity of this dance
is fascinating. In the movements
of the hands one can recognize
the rocking of a child, the gathering and
planting of rice, or the girl
looking in a mirror.

6. Indian dance traditions span over 5000 years

The dance art of
India was born in
antiquity as a ritual, and
has long been the property of
temples. In 90,005 temples, there are now 90,005 platforms for 90,005 ritual dances, and on 90,005 walls there are 90,005 images of dancers.
There are rules for
foot positions.
Dancers are also taught
spiral movements and jumps. There are rules
(mudra and hasta),
defining the language of the hands
of the arms, torso, shoulders,
forearms, neck.
There are 24 types
single hand movements, 13
types of double hand movements
arms, 10 movements of the whole arm
, 5 types of movements
for the chest, and 5 types
each for the torso, abdomen and
hips. There are
types of movements for the eyebrows, as well as 36
types of looks.
Hindu dance is closely related to
the manifestation of emotions. Almost
all Hindu dances
are performed barefoot -
traditions that come from
history, as it was possible to enter the temple
Indian dance is both a spiritual practice
and a system of
control of one's own body.
Indian dance is a spectacle
festive and exciting,
behind which are years of
training. It takes
5-9 years to learn
dance moves.
The basis of the basics of temple dance
India - 108 postures of Shiva.

10. Four styles of Indian dance are considered classical: Bharata Natyam, Kathak, Kathakali and Manipuri.

In its
origin it is
religious dances.
The canons of classical dance
special movements
of the head, eyes, neck,
eyebrows, legs, body,
different types of
dance movements
and the language of facial expressions and gestures.
Bharata Natyam. Of all the
styles of Indian classical dance,
Bharata Natyam is considered
to be the most ancient. Bharatanatyam is a prayer dance, a conversation dance performed in 90,005 Shiva temples. The very word
"Bharata-natyam" is translated
as "Indian dance".
All movements in Bharata-natyam
are performed strictly along
geometric trajectories,
which makes the dance linear.
Eyes, head and hands
the dancer draws
circles, straight lines and
triangles. In ancient times, these
movements were in the nature of
magical actions.

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