India also called Incredible India is the home of great architectures, amazing classical and folk music, different religions etc. The Taj Mahal is a standing example of the finest architectures of India.  The diverse culture of India from the very being has led to different form of art especially when it comes to dance.

The dances in India have very rich traditions. They can be classified as Indian classical and Indian folk dances. The complete details about these two dances is explained point by point in the Natya Shastra, which is one of the oldest written material in world about stagecraft. In the olden days the dancers danced while the singers sang for the dancers accompanied by their musical instruments. As the tradition goes almost many of the dancers were related to the temples and many of the classical dance forms have themes based on Mythology.

Indian classical dance can be viewed as a symbol of honest communication. It brings out the deepest feelings and brings into light the cultural background of the civilizations.  India being a huge country, each part of India has contributed a part to the ancient traditional of classical dances in unique ways. Some of the world famous classical dances include Kuchipudi performed in Andhra Pradesh, Bharatnatyam based from Tamil Nadu, Odissi of Orrisa, Kathakali from Kerala, Kathak based from the Northern parts of India as well as Pakistan and from the Northeast India Manipuri dance. Apart from these Kerala based Mohiniaattam and Sattriya of Assam is also very famous. The background of all these dances is generally religious. Though so many classical art forms are known in India none of it can be told to represent India as such.

Types of Classical Dances


This classical form of dance originates from Andhra Pradesh in India. The name Kuchipudi is derived from the name of a small village in the district of Krishna. The Brahmins of this village practice this form of art. Carnatic music accompanies this dance. The dancers perform with utmost grace and they are rounded and are fleet-footed. The most unique part of this dance is that the dancer balances on small vessel like a plate that contains water while carrying two lamps in the hands and dances to the tunes.


This form of dance practiced in Tamil Nadu is said to have its origin from the author of Natya Shastra, Bharata Muni. Tamil music accompanies this classical dance. It is basically an art based on story-telling in a dramatic way. Abinaya is the technique followed in Bharatnatyam. Bharatnatyam can be broken down into three types Nritta dance depicting no emotions or expressions, a pure form of dance. Nritya includes emotions and expressions in the dance and finally Natya is when a person portrays a character.


Odissi is also referred to as Orissi. This is one of the oldest classical dances of India and is referred to as Vrittis and Odra in the Natya Shastra. The temple girls known as Maharis performed Nritta a pure form of dance and Abinaya based entirely on the Mantras and the Slokas. The dance that took place in royal courts is called Nartaki. Odissi was also performed by young boys dressed like girls, this is called the Gotipua tradition. Mangalacharana, Sthayee Nrutya also known as Batuka Bhairava, Moksha, Pallavi, Abhinaya and Dance drama are traditional repertories of Odissi.


Dance based from Kerala is a dance-drama well known for many factors like its style, make-up for the dancers based in characters, the elaborate and complex costumes and highly defined body movements. This form of classical dance is said to have originated from a particular style based dance-drama known as Ramanattam. The dancers dance to songs played in the Manipravalam language that is Carnatic based music. There are three kinds of Kathakali styles: Vettathu Sampradayam, Kalladikkodan Sampradyam and Kaplimgadu Sampradayam. These styles vary from each other in choreography, the gestures and positions of the hands of dancers while performing the dance and the ratio of drama and dance.


Kathak has its roots traced to the northern part of India and is said to originate from the nomadic brads who went by the name Kathakars. They are also called as storytellers. Kathak style of dancing varies from each gharanas meaning schools. Gharanas located in Jaipur, in the city of Lucknow and Benares are where Kathak dancers learn their art from. Kathak is danced in two forms Nritta which is the pure form of dance and Nritya the expressive form of dance. A lot of modifications have been made to this dance form since it has traveled through different ages of time.

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