How many types of 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.

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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Dance culture

Indian dances - ancient art of India, which absorbed traditions, colors, sounds, cultural features of tribes and peoples this country.

History of Indian dance has several millennia, since already in the III millennium BC e. in Indian sculpture arises popular motif since then dance. Art of Indian dance rich and varied, which is explained difference in climate, living conditions, musical instruments in different corners of a large country. Can distinguish three main groups representing Indian dance art:

- ceremonial, festive, ritual;

- ancient tribal, folk;

- performed by hereditary professionals.

Traditional weight robes for dancing, which leaves a lot of fabric, can reach 40 kilograms. Particular attention is paid to the color scheme, ornaments, ornaments, ways of dressing sari.

There are two type of classic Indian tanda: solo dance, in one of the seven major dance styles bharag-natyam, kathak, manipuri, kathakali, kuchipudi, odissi and mohini-attam, and dance drama. In modern dance art In India, both species are often mixed. kathakali, kuchipudi, bharat-natyam and mani-puri can be dance dramas, group dancing. Already in the "Natyashastra", famous treatise written between the 2nd and 4th centuries. n. e., mentions two types dance: ekaharya - solo dance, and anekaharya - group dance.

Indian theory dance is set forth in the treatise of Bharata "Natyashastra", which also contains canons of theatrical art, music, poetry and literature. theatrical art, should have included dance, stage game and music; the dance was thus an integral part of the theatre. Subsequently dance stands out as an independent genre and, although it retains connections with other genres, it is considered, first of all, like visible poetry. visual impact dance had to match the impact beautiful poetry.

Forms of dance can be divided into two main categories: nritta "pure" dance, the dance as such, and the nritya dance that conveys some idea.

Third variety dance art, following this classification is natya, theatrical performance. When we are talking about a solo performance, two main principles of Indian dance art nritta and nritya are paramount role in their interpretation. Nritta like already it was said that this is a pure dance, i.e., movements and the dancer's gestures pursue purely aesthetic goals. This is an extravaganza of colorful poses and positions. human body, rhythm combinations, beaten with feet, with hand movements, palms, fingers, neck, shoulders, as well as with facial expressions. Movements form in space geometric figures, purely decorative - like patterns that are often bordered miniatures. They have no other purpose in addition to delivering to the viewer Aesthetic pleasure. The nritya dance filled with deep meaning semantic load. The face becomes a mirror emotional states, facial expressions convey viewer feelings familiar from everyday life, and although the dance stylizes them, they nevertheless understandable to all. Facial expressions are reinforced symbolic gestures that represent is a kind of language. hand movements, the so-called "hastas" or more often "wise", are the most amazing feature Indian dance. Gestures can be imitative, descriptive, suggestive, and even symbolic, they convey a whole gamut feelings and thoughts. They say come, go No; they bless, the palm becomes drop-down lotus cup, from the tips birds fly off fingers. Movements can signify heaven and earth, the seven seas and hell. They say literally meaning they say. Step by step into the world of this dance, the viewer begins to read easily symbolism of movements and place what was read into a specific context. Nritya always accompanied by singing. Sometimes the dance strives convey the specific content of the song, sometimes - its general meaning, and sometimes it's a flight imagination, a stream of associative images, caused by the words of the song. All this is embodied in body movements and symbolic gestures hands, and when the viewer begins to understand their language, all secrets are revealed before it classical Indian dance. Accompanying dance songs are often heard in different languages.

To the viewer their meaning was clear, in the program often the text of songs is given, or the dancer herself sets out its essence with hand gestures, or the leader reads the text. For example, a popular story tells about a woman, suffering from the unfaithfulness of her beloved, who returns to her after betrayal. Anger, reproaches and indignation of the rejected and the offended woman are clear to the viewer, because the dancer transmits them movements. When performing solo, the dancer can dance several roles: here she appears in the guise of an unfaithful lover, who bows before his beloved, prays about forgiveness, touching her feet, and swears from now on be faithful forever, but again becomes an offended woman, accelerates beloved, "says" how tired from his lies, and so on. All these vital situations are depicted so vividly that the viewer enjoy the spectacle of theatrical actions, accepting the conventions of his language. This joy of spectator involvement and empathy is called "race", which can be freely conveyed as aesthetic pleasure, although in all its fullness of meaning the term is not easy to translate.

sensitive the viewer sees perfectly, when all passion is invested in the dance souls, and when they offer him formal, cold execution, and therefore can judge whether born in this performance "race" or not. This is the main criterion in classical Indian dance. Great artists can literally captivate viewers, creating a "race", forcing them empathize with your expressive movements.

Sometimes a dancer repels one word from songs and reveals in dance a whole world of associations. For example, addressing Krishna, who raised in air mountain Govardhana, she describes gestures and other feats of god here is Krishna crushes the poisonous snake Kaliya, kills demon, etc. All this time, the singer repeatedly repeats the appropriate part of the song, until its meaning is revealed in movements, postures, gestures and facial expressions of the dancer. This the reception is called sanchari, that is, "accompaniment" perhaps the most interesting side of the classic dance, concealing for the artist huge expressive opportunities and delivering the inexplicable pleasure to the viewer.

Indian classical dance demands from viewer knowledge of myths, legends and most popular epic poems Mahabharata and Ramayana because it is built on their material. Sculptural postures of dance bharat-natyam as if repeating the sophistication of the temple sculptures in south India. Bharat-natyam ritual dance that is being considered as sacred art, overcoming limited body and illuminating spirit. The personality of the dancer seems to dissolve in rhythms and melodies, her body becomes finest tool for expression secret movements of the soul.


In its current form of bharat-natyam developed in southern India about two hundred years ago. Its thematic and the musical structure was created Thanjavur court musicians. Starting position straightened torso, bent knees and widely deployed feet - gives the dance a strict and at the same time graceful symmetry, which is enhanced by eloquent, expressive play of eyes and facial muscles. To this original the dance pose is superimposed then his drawing: bends and jumps of the dancer, the most diverse combinations of her movements. Nritta, clean dance part bharat-natyam, includes into itself alarippu, jatisvaram and tillana. In alarippu, the symmetrical movements of a dancer harmonize with the recitative reader; in jatiswaram, in addition to recitative, fiori-tural voice singing is introduced, corresponding to a given raga, or melodic lines; in tillana vocal accompaniment gradually unfolds into a stew, and dancer demonstrates a series of static poses, and then rapidly changing provisions. In nritta, pure dance, straight lines of motion form in space geometric figures.

Nritya includes into oneself shabdam, varnam, padam and javali, which are sung to songs that tell the story about different life situations. chief the number is the varnam in which alternate expressive and often abstract elements. This well-constructed dance tells about the ups and downs of a girl's love for her lover, most often a god or a king.

Bharatnatyam performed to South Indian music, where the mridanga drum enters the orchestra, string instrument wine, flute and cymbals.


Home of dance Kuchipudi - a village called Kuchelapuram in Andhra Pradesh, in southern India, where the tradition classical dance dates back to ancient times, as evidenced by the sculptural images of dancers in such temples, like Amaravati. Unique charm kuchipudi lies in the subtle fusion dramatic and classical dance with scenes from the Indian epic, abstract and pictorial dance are combined here with a pronounced dramatic element. Vigorous jumps and turns, trembling movements, bold and full of feelings game eye - all this creates an atmosphere of deep lyricism. Kuchipudi is also used element of pure dance jatiswaram and tillana, and also sometimes tarangam, a special props, such as when a dancer balancing on the edge of a copper dish, holding a jug of water on his head, and performs complex figures with legs. In nritya often includes excerpts from a dance drama, for example from "Bhamakalapam" Padam and jawali are the same as in bharat natyam. Movements in kuchipudi are rounded and swift and combine smooth steps with jumps. Kuchipudi performed at a fast pace musical accompaniment, as in bharat natyam, south indian music of the karnataka school, performed on the same instruments.


Kerala and South Mohini-attam dance was born in India, very reminiscent of bharat-natyam, with which the uninitiated can confuse it. From the ancients times the dance was performed only by women, and he is characterized by a special charm of the female grace and softness. Mohini attam repertoire small - it is primarily purely abstract cholucattu dance, in which, bending with the whole body, the dancer demonstrates smooth movements, as if imitating rocking the boat in the rapids picture, common to Kerala residents. At the end of the cholucattu dancer acting out a scene from the Ramayana, using the appropriate mimicry and body language.

Other pure dance track is tillana, close to the same form in bharat- Natyam. In nritya dance themes, where by means expressiveness are facial expressions, movements eyes and hands, inspired by the works of famous Indian poets. Sign language developed as subtle as in a great dance drama Kerala Kathakali, elements of which influenced the Mohiniattam dance.


Last is gaining more and more popularity lovely odyssey dance form from the state of Orissa. Watch this dance and it seems as if you see statues come to life. Its characteristic feature is special sculptural poses and dance movements. Odissi convinces that dance is a moving sculpture, and a frozen sculpture dance, the main poses of Odissi - chauka, or square, and tribhanga or triangle (any body position giving three bends) that which communicates an inexplicable grace sculptures of ancient India.

Pure dance odissi elements are mangalacharan, batu, pallavi and mokhiya. Dancer in battu makes sudden movements, as if hitting on the strings of guilt, or depicts playing on flute, mridanga drum and cymbals, - similar to famous sculptures from Konarak temple. Dancing pallavi, put on a certain stew, dancer creates amazing beauty images composed of sculptural pos. In mokhiya, which is peculiar finale, abstract dance moves the dancers end with smooth jumps. Ashtapadi is always performed on nritya verses of "Gitagovinda" by Jayadeva - the immortal poems about love (XII century AD). The dancer portrays the heroine of the poem, languishing for her beloved nomu, rejected and suffering in separation with him. The theme allows the performer reveal all your mimic abilities and acting talent besides ashtapadi, dances are also performed on the themes of Orissa songs. Odissi gives the dancer a chance demonstrate your skills as in the art of nritta, and in the art nritya.


Narrator in India called kathak. dance form kathak originated in the north of the country, and its first performers were temple storytellers illustrating religious poems with gestures and dances. In the era The Great Mughals began to invite these dancers to the court, and kathak received new elements, rich in complex rhythms that beat back with their feet and swift pirouettes In solo performance kathak includes small compositions of nritta, referred to as, tode, tuk-de, parana, paramela and ram. Each of the rooms has an internal completeness and is executed for a certain rhythm is tala. The tabla drum sets the rhythm he is echoed by the rhythmic fraction of the feet. The dancer moves without bending her torso, which allows her to make rapid pirouettes of the chakkara. All dance composition ends with the final beat of the drum. The composition can be short, it is performed at a fast pace, the dancer does not lose while grace and expressiveness movements. Fractional trampling is the most important element of kathak dancer tapping out with his feet the most complex rhythmic patterns called tatkars. Abhinayam is a set of visual aids actor with which he plays dance action on religious bhajan chant or poem pada. The mime game here is not particularly complex, and hand movements are endowed with more accessible, specific meaning language gesture conveys the meaning of the song with a charming immediacy.

Special look such a fine dance is gatabhava, when performed which the dancer plays simple scenes to the accompaniment of strings and percussion tools. The dance is not accompanied singing. The dancer gracefully portrays pictures from everyday life- scoops water from the well girl preens beauty, young woman in front of the mirror waiting for a lover, etc. The dance is performed to the classical music of the Hindustani school, the orchestra consists of percussion tabla and pakhawaj, and strings: sarangi, sitar and sarod. Dancer can perform in Hindu or Muslim clothes she looks like a dancer portrayed on Mughal and Rajput miniatures. Kathak connected and mutually enriched traditions Hindu temple and Muslim court, and in this synthesis the genius of the Indian people.


Dance the drama of Kerala is called kathakali, it is nothing like kathak. Kathakali big plot performance, and usually it is played by a group of actors-dancers. According to tradition, kathakali is performed only men. Special solemnity and greatness kathakali is given costumes and make-up. Characters recognize by the color of the make-up, mask-like applied on the face and characterized by complex symbols lines and drawings. Pakka make-up base is green, it is the make-up of the noble and virtuous characters, divine heroes and great kings. Grim "cutty" - also green, but interrupted by red, around the nostrils are drawn lines in the form curved knife, on the forehead and nose are attached pendants. This is the make-up of the characters of the noble origin, but doing evil, to them include the kings Ravana and Durodhana. Black make-up "kari" symbolizes the inhabitants jungle, hunters and witches. Grim natural dark yellow color "minakku" is intended for women, sages and brahmins. Some performers wear beards, "tadi": red-bearded characters look menacing, there is red paint on their faces, and on their heads crown, so portrayed by the evil Dussaschan and monkeys Bali and Sugriva; gray beard obligatory for the monkey king, Hanuman. There are other characters in kathakali - for example, the bird Jatayu and the snake Takshaka. The actors are dressed in bright, pleated skirts, on the necks - multi-colored scarves, on the heads brightly painted crowns. These stylized immense robes exorbitantly increase dimensions of the human figure, giving her supernatural greatness.

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 forms of dance : Tandava (masculine, vigorous), 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 one's 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.

There are also four types of leg movements: 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 face colors denoting personality types.

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