Classical Indian Dance

6 Classical Dances of India

  • In India, dance is an old and respected cultural tradition that is still practiced today. Folk dances may be seen at festivals and weddings all around the country, and large groups of people can be seen participating in them. A significant amount of dance and song is also featured in Indian cinema (so-called “Bollywood” films). However, where do the origins of Indian dancing come from? Here are six of India’s most important classical dance genres, listed in no particular order.


  • The Indian cultural heritage of dance is a long-standing and well-regarded one. Folk dances may be seen at festivals and weddings all around the country, and large groups of people can be seen participating in them. Even in Indian cinema (so-called “Bollywood” films), dance and song are often featured. The origins of Indian dancing, however, are unclear. Below is a list of six of India’s most important classical dance styles.


  • A kathakali dancer performs a traditional Indian dance form known as kathakali. Photograph by V. ZHURAVLEV/Fotolia Kathakali is a traditional Indian dance form that originated in southern India, in the region around the state of Kerala. Kathakali is a sacred dance in the same vein as bharatanatyam. Inspired by the Ramayana and stories from Shaiva traditions, it is a spiritual journey. Boys and men have long played Kathakali, even for female characters, as part of the tradition. In particular, the costumes and makeup are quite extravagant, with painted masks for the faces and gigantic headdresses for the heads.


  • Dancer from the Kathak academy Dancer from the Kathakschool, dressed in Mughal attire, performs Indian traditional dance. Mohan Khokar is a well-known actor. Kathak, a dance from northern India, is frequently described as a dance of love. It is carried out by both males and females. The routines involve sophisticated footwork that is enhanced by bells worn around the ankles, as well as stylized gestures that are derived from standard body language. It was created by Kathakas, who were skilled storytellers who utilized a combination of dance, song, and theater to tell their stories. This dance, like many others in India, started out as a temple dance, but it quickly spread to the courts of royal families.


  • Dance in the Manipuri style Indian traditional dance in the style of Manipuri will be performed. Mohan Khokar is a well-known actor. Manipuri is a dialect spoken in Manipur, which is located in northeastern India. Its origins may be traced back to the state’s folklore and customs, and it frequently represents episodes from the life of the Hindu god Krishna. Manipuri dance, in contrast to some of the other, more rhythmic dances, is distinguished by its smooth and beautiful motions. Female parts are characterized by more fluid motions of the arms and hands, whilst masculine roles are characterized by more powerful movements. The dance may be accompanied by narrative chanting and choir singing
  • However, this is not required.


  • KuchipudiKuchipudiperformance. Vasanthakumarep Kuchipudi, in contrast to the other forms described, necessitates both dance and singing abilities. This dance, which originates in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, is highly ritualized, beginning with a choreographed song-and-dance introduction, followed by the sprinkling of holy water and the burning of incense, as well as invocations of goddesses. Traditionally, males performed the dance, including the female characters, while nowadays, women do the dance in the majority of instances.


  • The dance genre of Odissidance is performed by a dancer who is trained in Indian classical dancing. Image courtesy of Gammut Stock Images/Fotolia. Odissi is a type of Indian dance that originated in the state of Orissa in eastern India. In its most basic form, it is a female-dominated dance, with postures that are modeled by those found in temple statues. According to archaeological evidence, the odissi dance form is believed to be the earliest of the Indian classical dances still in existence. With over fifty different types of mudras (symbolic hand gestures) that are often utilized in Odissi, it is a tremendously sophisticated and expressive dance.

A walk through India: the famous classical Indian dance forms and their state of origin

India is a culturally diverse country in which practically every state has its own language, food, and dance styles, making it one of the most diverse countries on the planet. When it comes to dancing, India offers a variety of genres to choose from, including traditional, classical, folk, and tribal, all of which are breathtaking. All of the amazing classical dances have its roots in India’s ancient past, with Bharatanatyam being the oldest and one of the most prominent among them. This International Dance Day, let us take a journey through India’s classical dance genres, which are well-known around the world.

  1. Bharatanatyam is performed in temples throughout the country.
  2. Uttar Pradesh/North India’s Kathak is number two.
  3. This dance is taken from the wordkatha, which means narrative, and during the whole performance, the dancers narrate stories with their eyes and facial gestures.
  4. This is undoubtedly one of the most visually appealing, dramatic, and intricate styles of traditional Indian dance to be found.
  5. The artist who will be doing the dance must have intricate make-up, wear heavy clothes, and, most importantly, practice their moves until they are flawless.
  6. Kuchipudi, a type of Indian classical dance that originated in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, is regarded to be one of the most difficult to master.
  7. It is believed to be the most difficult since it demands the most effort.
  8. This ancient dance tradition, which originated in the northeastern state of Manipur, is a spiritual experience like no other.
  9. The use of costumes and makeup is critical in this production.
  10. A series of gestures and motions known as ormudras underpin the whole dance.

The dance is done to depict the mythological stories of Hindu gods such as Lord Shiva and Surya, who are represented by the dancers. It is also regarded as one of India’s oldest and most ancient dance traditions still in existence.

Home – Dances of India in St. Louis

Learn more about what we do by visiting our website: Listed here is a little tutorial I provided on Fox 2’s Studio STL today, November 15, 21! Please see the video below by clicking on the image.

Dances of Indiais headed by Artistic DirectorAsha Prem:A2020 St. Louis Regional ArtsCommission Artist Fellowand a2018 St.Louis Visionary Arts Award Winner for Outstanding Teaching Artist.*PLEASE CLICK ON THE PHOTO ABOVE TO SEE OUR 43RD ANNUALPERFORMANCE.*Nartana Premachandra, her daughter, is aMarch 2021 Missouri Arts Council FeaturedArtist. She is published in theWinter 21/22Fall2021issue ofParabola, the renowned journal of philosophy, literature, and myth. She dances, writesnarrates the productions, and administers the company.Theckla Mehta, Asha Prem’s very first student, works with Nartana on finding music for the company’s original productions, along with choreographing dancers and creating original artwork for these unique, never-before-seen creations. Dr. B.N. Premachandra- -Asha’s husband and Nartana’s dad-the late founder of Dances of India, was as instrumental as Asha in introducing classical Indian dance to St. Louis in 1976.Please click below to read a history of the company!And please scroll below to see photos of the Dances of India crew and dancers!

DISCOVER MORE ABOUT WHAT WE DO RIGHT NOW! ProgramMinings has been in operation since 1976 with a purpose to bring Indian art, dance, and culture to St. Louis and its neighboring areas and to educate them about it via outreach and education. The Magic House and the Maryland Heights Community Center are just a few of the places where we have performed in schools, housing projects, libraries, corporations, universities, museums (including the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Missouri History Museum), and organizations of all kinds, including organizations such as the Urban League, Missouri Botanical Gardens, Buddhist temples, Christian churches, and the Magic House.

For a peek of a Dances of India school performance, please click on the photo to the right.

You can see the results of your gorgeous art and dedication in the delight of your program participants as well as the overall high quality of your programs.


TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT WE DO, PLEASE CLICK HERE. DANCES OF INDIA’S MISSION has been to connect and educate St. Louis and neighboring areas about the rich art, dance, and culture of India since its founding in 1976. The Magic House and the Maryland Heights Community Center are just a few of the venues where we have performed in schools, housing projects, libraries, corporations, universities, museums (including the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Missouri History Museum) and organizations of all kinds, including organizations such as the Urban League, Missouri Botanical Gardens, Buddhist temples, Christian churches, and the Magic House.

For a preview of a Dances of India school performance, please click on the photo to the right.

Dances of India has shown to be a vital cultural institution in our community at a time when arts education is continually underfunded and underrepresented in the general public at large.

From 2016 Missouri Arts Council Review Panel: Master dancer Asha Prem is a tremendous force in Indian dance.Dances of India have excellent involvement with a diversity of community program offerings as well as diverse audience participation. Well regarded in the St. Louis area with corporate and local business support.

Meet the individuals that make up Dances of India!

Artistic Director/Choreographer Asha Prem

Take a peek at our website to discover what we do! Here’s a short selection of dancers from over the years. Patrick Suzeau (top middle), Kiran Rajagopalan (left in third and fourth rows), and Sanjay Shantaram are all frequent guest artists (middle, third row). Photographs by Mike Oransky

CE0076 Indian Classical Dance Pedagogy Certificate

Policy on cookiesThis policy describes how we use cookies on our website. Please check our privacy policy for more information on the sorts of personal information that will be obtained when you visit the website, as well as how this information will be used. How we make use of cookies Cookies are used on all of our web sites. A cookie is a little text file containing letters and numbers that we store on your computer or mobile device if you agree to the placement of cookies.

These cookies enable us to recognize you from other users of our website, which allows us to offer you with a better browsing experience while you are on our website and to develop our website. Types of cookies that we employ Cookies of the following sorts are used by us:

  • Cookies that are strictly necessary – These cookies are required in order for you to be able to move around websites and enjoy their functions. Unless certain cookies are used, you will not be able to use the services you have requested, such as login into your account. Performance cookies – these cookies collect information about how visitors interact with a website, for example, which pages they visit most frequently and which ones they avoid. We use this information to enhance our websites and to assist us in researching issues that users have brought to our attention. These cookies do not gather information that may be used to identify a specific visitor. Cookies for functionality – These cookies allow the website to remember decisions you make and offer you with more personalized features and services. For example, a functional cookie may be used to keep track of the products that you have placed in your shopping cart while you are online. While the information collected by these cookies may be anonymised, the fact remains that they are unable to monitor your browsing activities on other websites.

Most online browsers provide some level of control over the majority of cookies through the browser’s settings. More information about cookies, including how to check what cookies have been set and how to manage and delete them, may be found at We make use of specific cookies. The cookies listed below indicate the types of cookies we employ and provide an explanation of the purposes for which they are utilized. We reserve the right to make changes to the information provided in this section at any time.

  • JSESSIONID: This cookie is used by the application server to identify a specific user’s session
  • It is set by the application server. registrar ‘Token’ cookie: This cookie is used to keep track of the things you have placed in your shopping basket. locale: This cookie is used to store information about your current location and language preferences. cookieconsent status: This cookie is used to keep track of whether or not you have previously dismissed the cookie consent notification
  • If you have, this cookie will be deleted. _ga UA-: These cookies are used to collect information about how visitors interact with our site and to improve the overall experience. We use the information to produce reports and to assist us in making improvements to the site. The cookies gather information in an anonymous manner, such as the number of visits to the website, the websites from which visitors came to the site, and the pages that visitors viewed on the website. Using Google Analytics, this anonymous visitor and browsing information is collected and kept.

When the application server needs to identify a specific user’s session, it uses the cookie called the JSESSIONID. registrar It is used to keep track of the products that you have placed in your shopping cart; it is also known as a token cookie. The locale cookie is used to save information about your current location and language preferences. if cookieconsent notice was dismissed: This cookie is used to keep track of whether or not the cookie consent notice has been dismissed; _ga UA-: Using these cookies, we may gather information about how users interact with our website.

See also:  Kathryn Budig's Recipe: Sun Butter-Coconut Curry

A cookie is a small text file that stores information about a website’s visitors in an anonymous form, including the number of visitors to the site, their origin, and which pages they viewed.

Top 10 Indian Classical Dancers, Famous Indian Classical Dancers

JSESSIONID: This cookie is used by the application server to identify a specific user’s session; it is not utilized by the browser. registrar ‘Token’ cookie: This cookie is used to keep track of the things that you have placed in your shopping basket. locale: This cookie is used to store information about your current location and language preferences; if cookieconsent notice was dismissed: This cookie is used to keep track of whether or not you have dismissed the cookie consent notice; _ga UA-: These cookies are used to collect information about how visitors interact with our site and to personalize their experience.

The cookies gather information in an anonymous manner, such as the number of visits to the website, the websites from which visitors have arrived to the site, and the pages that visitors have viewed on the website.

1. Rukmini Devi Arundale – Bharatnatyam

Rukmini Devi Arundale, who was born on February 29th, 1904, was a theosophist, bharatnatyam dancer, and choreographer who lived from 1904 to 1989. She transformed the face of Bharatnatyam by revitalizing it and restoring it to its rightful place in society. Not only did she contribute to the re-embellishment ofBharatanatyam, but she also contributed to the re-embellishment of traditional Indian arts and crafts. She defended the art of Bharatnatyam, which had been labeled and dismissed as a “vulgar” kind of dance.

Indian newspaper India Today named Rukmini Devi as one of the top 100 people who have shaped the country. Padma Bhushan in 1956 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship in 1967 were the two honors bestowed upon her throughout her lifetime.

2. Pandit Birju Maharaj- Kathak

‘Pandit Birju Maharaj’ was born on February 4, 1938, in the family of Kathak dancers that includes his uncles ‘Shambhu Maharaj’ and’ Lachhu Maharaj’, as well as his father, who was also his master, Acchan Maharaj. Brijmohan Mishra is best known for his performances as Pandit Birju Maharaj. He was instrumental in establishing the traditional danceform ofKathak not just domestically but also internationally. Maharaj began teaching the dance style at the age of 13 at Sangeet Bharti in New Delhi, where he was raised.

He had previously taught at the Bharatiya Kala Kendra and the Kathak Kendra, where he was also the director.

In the year 1986, he received the prestigious Padma Bhushan award.

3. Uday Shankar – Fusion

Uday Shankar was born on December 8, 1880, in Jaipur, India, to a Bengali family. He was a well-known dancer and choreographer who is best known for creating fusion art by combining European theatrical techniques with Indian classical dance, as well as Indian folk and tribal dance, which he popularized in India, Europe, and the United States during the 1920s and 1930s. Even though he had received no official instruction in any of the Indian classical danceforms, it was his innovative presentations that distinguished him from the crowd.

4. Kelucharan Mohapatra – Odissi

‘Kelucharan Mohapatra’ was born on the 8th of January 1926 in Puri, Odisha, and is a well-known and renowned Indian Traditional Dancer, Guru, and the man responsible for revitalizing the classical dance style of Odissi in the twentieth century. As a dancer, he was outstanding; nevertheless, he was also a specialist in percussion instruments such as the Mridangam, the Pakhavaj, and the Tabla, as well as a talented painter of traditional ‘Pattachitra’ paintings. He has received a great deal of recognition and numerous highly prestigious awards, beginning with the ‘Sangeet Natak Akademi Award’ in 1966, followed by the ‘Padma Shri’ in 1974, the ‘Padma Bhushan’ in 1988, the ‘Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship’ in 1991, and the ‘Padma Vibhushan’ in 2000, where he was the first person from Odisha to receive it.

5. Guru Bipin Singh – Manipuri

Guru Bipin Singh, who was born on August 23, 1918, was a director, choreographer, and instructor of Manipuri dance who was also known as ‘Guru Bipin Singh’. His emotions, composure, and grace captivated a large number of people in the crowd. He began training as a youngster, while also learning singing and dancing, before concentrating solely on Manipuri dance, particularly under the guidance of Guru Amudon Sharma, who had the patronage of the state’s ruler at the time. Despite the fact that he made his career as a film choreographer, he did not lose sight of his goal of increasing awareness of the indigenous dance style of Manipuri.

As part of this, he established the ‘Govindji Nartanalaya’dance school for women in Imphal, and the ‘Manipuri Nartanalaya’dance school in Calcutta, both of which opened in 1972. In the year 1966, he was awarded the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.

6. Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam- Kuchipudi

If we ever stop to consider how the ‘Kuchipudi’dancing form came to be known over the world, the legend responsible for this success has to be ‘Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam’, also known as the ‘Guru of Kuchipudi dance form’. He was born on October 15, 1929, in Kuchipudi, Andhra Pradesh, and is credited with systemizing Kuchipudi and bringing the dance form closer to the standards of the ‘Natya Shastra’ through the introduction of elements such as’Chari,’ which is basically the leg movements that were different in the past.

In Chennai, he established his own ‘Kuchipudi Dance Academy,’ which currently has 150 groups and 15 solo dance plays that he has created and choreographed.

In the year 1998, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan.

7. Padma Subrahmanyam – Bharatnatyam

Padma Subrahmanyam, who was born on February 4, 1943, in Madras, is not only a well-knownBharatnatyamdancer, but is also a research scholar, choreographer, musician (with a master’s degree in Carnatic music), teacher, ideologist, and author, among other things. She had a strong desire to go much deeper into the art genre Bharatnatyam, which she had been studying at a very early age and which finally led to her conducting research on it. She discovered that there is a disconnect between dance history, dance theory, and real dancing.

Her doctoral dissertation was centered on the 81 Karanas, which reflect Bharatanatyam motions.

In 1981, she was awarded the Padma Shri, and in 2003, she was awarded the Padma Bhushan.

8. Shovana Narayan – Kathak

Shovana Narayan, a kathak Maestro who was born on September 2, 1950, in West Bengal, is a name that requires no introduction. Pandit Birju Maharaj’s student, she is not only an accomplished Kathak dancer, but she has also worked as an official with the Indian Audit and Accounts Services. So much so that she is referred to as a “Choreographer-Performer,” and she has created international collaborative works with leading dancers from Western Classical Ballet to Spanish Flamenco to Tap dance, Buddhist chants with Buddhist Monks to the compositions of western classical composers, among other things.

She has also conducted study and uncovered eight Kathak villages in the vicinity of Gaya, complete with documentation and official documents.

She was awarded the ‘Padma Shri’ in 1992 and the ‘Sangeet Natak Akademi Award’ in 1999-2000 for her contributions to Indian culture.

9. Sonal Mansingh-BharatnatyamOdissi

Daughter of a renowned Indian classical dancer and a renowned Guru of both Bharatanatyamand Odissi dancing styles, Sonal Mansingh was born on April 30, 1944, in Bombay. Her dance career began in 1962, and following her ‘arangetram’ in Mumbai, she went on to create the Centre for Indian Classical Dances (CICD) in New Delhi, which she has been running since 1977. Her dance performances have taken her all over the world and earned her numerous awards, including the ‘Padma Bhushan’ in 1992, the ‘Sangeet Natak Akademi Award’ in 1987, and the ‘Padma Vibhushan’ in 2003, making her only the second woman dancer in India to receive such an honor after ‘Balasaraswati’.

She was nominated by the President of India to serve as a member of the Indian Parliament, known as the Rajya Sabha.

10. Srimanta Sankardev – Sattriya

Srimanta Sankardev was an Assamese polymath, saint-scholar, poet, dramatist, social-religious reformer, and a significant character in the history of Assam’s cultural and religious aspects during the 15th and 16th centuries. He was born in Assam, India, and lived in the 15th and 16th centuries. The ‘Sattriya’Dance, as well as other innovative kinds of music, dramatic performance, language, and dance, are usually regarded as his contributions. Sattriya is classified as one of India’s Classical Dance Forms, having been devised and perfected by Sankardev and kept by the ‘Sattras’ for more than three centuries.

11. Mrinalini Sarabhai – BharatnatyamKathakali

Mrinalini Vikram Sarabhai was born on May 11, 1918, in New Delhi, India, and was a classical dancer, choreographer, and instructor in Indian classical dance. Ahemdabad’s Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, an institute that focuses on and teaches students in dance, theater, music, and puppetry, was established by her as the institute’s founding director and chief executive officer. For her contributions to art, she has won a number of honors, prizes, and citations, and she has taught over 18,000 pupils in BharatnatyamandKathakali, among other disciplines.

She has received numerous awards for her work.

was even named after her, and she served as its chairman.

In the year 1994, she was given the prestigious ‘Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship.’ On May 11th, 2018, Google Doodle honored her 100th birthday with a special message.

12. Kalamandalam Kalyanikutty Amma – Mohiniyattam

Kalamandalam Kalyanikutty Amma (1915-1999) was an Indian Classical Dancer who was instrumental in establishing the Mohiniyattam dance form as a mainstream Indian Classical dance form at a time when the dance style was on the danger of becoming extinct. She is credited with developing the formal structure and ornamentation of the Mohiniyattam dance form, and she has also published two books, the first of which was “Mohiniyattam – History and Dance Structure,” which was an elaboration and authentic documentation of the Mohiniyattam dance form, and the second of which was “Mohiniyattam – Formal Structure and Ornamentation.” She has received honors from the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy and the Kendra Sangeet Natak Akademi, and she was also awarded the Kalidasa Samman in 1997-1998 for her work.

13. Yamini Krishnamurthy – KuchipudiBharatnatyam

In 1940, Yamini Krishnamurthy was born in Madanapalle in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, and went on to become one of the most distinguished Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi dancers in the world. She has been a significant name and eminent figure in Indian dance for many decades. She began her Bharatanatyam training as a kid at Rukmini Devi Arundale’s ‘Kalashetra’, where she continues to this day. Her ascent to recognition and subsequent climb to renown began with her debut performance, which took place in Madras, India, in 1957.

She has also received training in Carnatic vocal music as well as the Veena instrument.

14. V.Satyanarayana Sarma- Kuchipudi

Satyanarayana Sarma, well known by his stage name “Satyam,” was an Indian classical dancer and choreographer who was a leading exponent of theKuchipudi dance genre. He was born on September 9, 1935, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, and is most known for portraying female roles such as Usha (Usha Parinayam), Satyabhama (Bhama Kalapam), Deva Devi (Vipra Narayana), and other female characters. He began his Kuchipudi training at the age of five under the tutelage of his elder brother, Vedantam Prahalada Sarma, and went on to study under well-known exponents of the art.

When he was 19, he appeared in the part of’Parvati’ in the play “Usha Parinayam,” which was performed at Delhi’s Sapru House.

In recognition of his services to the discipline of Kuchipudi dancing, he was awarded the Padma Shri in 1970.

15. Tanjore Balasaraswati- Bharatnatyam

As an exponent of theKuchipudi dance genre, V. Satyanarayana Sarma (also known as “Satyam”) was an Indian classical dancer and choreographer who was also known as “Satyam.” Known for portraying feminine roles such as Usha (Usha Parinayam), Satyabhama (Bhama Kalapam), and Deva Devi (Vipra Narayana), among others, he was born on September 9, 1935, in the state of Andhra Pradesh. He began his Kuchipudi training at the age of five under the tutelage of his elder brother, Vedantam Prahalada Sarma, and went on to study under well-known exponents.

At the age of 19, he appeared in the part of’Parvati’ in the play “Usha Parinayam,” which was performed at Delhi’s Sapru House Theater.

He went on to play as female roles in a number of melams, and he has appeared on more than 10,000 stages throughout his career to date. As a result of his contributions to the world of Kuchipudi dancing, he was honored with the Padma Shri award in 1970.

16. Kumari Kamala- Kathak

Kumari Kamalawas was born on June 16, 1934, in New Delhi, India, and is a classical Indian dancer. She has performed as a child dancer in more than 100 films, including films in the Tamil, Kannada, Telegu, and Hindi languages. She began learning Kathak with Lachhu Maharaj in Bombay, and she then went on to study Hindustani Classical Music with Shankar Rao Vyas in Delhi. Despite the fact that she won a prominent role in the Tamil film “Jagathalaprathapan,” she left a lasting impression with her film “Nam Iruvar.” The year 1953 saw her performing at the coronation ceremonies for Queen Elizabeth II, and throughout the 1950s, she went on a tour of Japan and China with her band.

See also:  Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis: Improve Balance, Coordination, Mobility

In 1970, she was granted the Padma Bhushan honor.

17. Alarmel Velli -Bharatnatyam

Alarmel Velli, who was born on September 14, 1956, in Chennai, is a famous classical dancer who is credited with discovering and popularizing the ‘Pandanallur Style’ of Bharatanatyam. She made her stage debut at the Indian Institute of Fine Arts in Madras when she was nine and a half years old, and she subsequently received the Natya Kala Bhushan Award. The culmination of years of in-depth studies in Tamil Literature and Sangam Poetry, which culminated in the creation of a repertoire of dance poetry, has allowed her to develop her own distinctive style within the framework of conventional Bharatanatyam.

She has performed at a number of events, and in 2015, she became the first Indian Classical Dancer to participate at the Salzburg Festival.

In 2004, the French government honored her with the prestigious ‘Chevalier of Arts and Letters’ title, which she received in 2004.


Dancing in the Indian Classical Style Indian Classical Dance is one of the most extensive and oldest dance styles in the world, having evolved over thousands of years. The treatise of the 2nd century B.C. is responsible for the majority of the development of Indian dance. Known as Bharata s Natyashastra, this book is considered to be the most essential source for developing the features of Indian dance and theater. The Natyashastra distinguishes between two types of dance: Nritta, which is pure dancing, and Nitrya, which is interpretative dance.

  • To convey poetic or emotional content, Nritya combines a variety of gesticulations and facial expressions in conjunction with rhythmic gaits and postures.
  • From the 6th century onward, a large number of Indian kingdoms made significant contributions to this art genre.
  • At the temples, the Devadasis (God’s servants) put on a dance performance.
  • Dance was used as a form of worship in several cultures.
  • This is one of the reasons why Indian traditional dance is predominantly a solitary art form.
  • In order to attract the greatest dancers and musicians to their services, temples competed with one another.
  • Dance forms such as ballet and ensemble dances are just recently becoming popular.

Hinduism’s mythical tales and religious beliefs have shaped the essential characteristics of Indian classical dance forms, which are reflected in their fundamental characteristics.

Traditional dance traditions in India may be traced back to several regions across the country, and each one has its own distinctive style.

The most well-known classical dance genres include Bharatnatyam from Tamil Nadu, Kathakali and Mohiniyattam from Kerala, Odissi from Orissa, Kathak from Uttar Pradesh, Kuchipudhi from Andhra Pradesh, and Manipuri from Manipur, to name a few examples.

Pose, hand gestures, and foot motions are all part of a complex system of postures (13 postures of the head, nine of the neck, 36 of the eye, 37 of the hand) kathakali : Kathakali is a lyric dance from southern India that involves a lot of footwork.

A delicate lyrical style distinguishes Manipuri dance, which is connected with the state of Manipur in northeastern India.

Odissi is a beautiful dance of love and passion performed by a couple.

Traditional Indian classical dance has a movement style that is extremely distinct from the movement style of Western ballet.

The body itself remains relatively still, while the arms are used to frame the face or to balance the body’s overall composition.

In most cases, the jumps are low, and the dancer does not cover a lot of distance or complete elaborate movements.

In addition to the musicians, many dancers wear bells around their ankles to provide their own accompaniment in addition to the stomping beats.

There is a lot of movement in the head, with minor variations in direction as well as a distinctive side-to-side movement that highlights the changes in the dancer’s facial emotions.

A broad range of gestures allows Indian dancers to communicate complex events, thoughts, and emotions using a limited number of movements.

Triveni School of Dance is described in detail below.

Triveni is a non-profit organization committed to the instruction and performance of Indian Classical Dance, as well as to raising social consciousness and celebrating cultural diversity through dance.

In addition to Bharat Natyam from Tamil Nadu, she also teaches Kuchipudi from Andhra Pradesh and Odissi from Orissa, which are both ancient Indian dance traditions.

Throughout the year, they appear at festivals, cultural events, and benefit concerts to raise money for charity.

The firm maintains a high level of professionalism throughout New England.

Neena Gulati was born in New Delhi, India, and began dancing when she was four years old.

Arangetram, which is a solo graduation performance, was presented at the Fine Arts Theater in New Delhi in 1961, and it was her final performance.

She has gained great critical praise for her professional performances around India and the United States.

Having moved from England to the United States in 1967, she has performed at a plethora of gatherings and institutions around the country and in England.

In addition to lectures and demonstrations, she also teaches and practices her art form in front of a variety of audiences.

She has been a part of a number of charity performances and has created a number of dance productions.

Triveni teaches a variety of dance styles.

Bharata Natyam is derived from the initial syllables of the three essential aspects of dance: Bhava-Expression, Raga-Melody, and Tala-Rhythm, which are all spelled in the same way.

Kuchipudi is a type of Indian dance that developed in the state of Andhra Pradesh, which is located on the country’s mid-eastern coast.

The dramatization of Satya Bhama, one of Lord Krishna’s wives, is a significant aspect of the tradition’s rich history and culture.

Odissi is a native of the Indian state of Orissa, which is located on the country’s northeastern coast.

Odissi is mostly concerned with Lord Krishna and his life.

The Odissi dancing form is characterized by its lyricism.

The body above the waist glides as if it were completely independent of the legs, falling and swaying with exquisite elegance as it descends. To read the interview with Neena Gulati, please click here. For an interview with Amy Chako, please visit this page. Media

  • Das Avatar
  • Das Avatar This is an incredible video of a 1-year-old girl performing Indian Classical Dance
  • It is quite remarkable. The photo gallery is also available.
  • In this part you will find links to art India’sOdissisection, Kathak, India’scultural page on dance, Indianmusicdance, and more. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Monica Balsara.

Indian Classical Dance Accessories

  • In this part you will find links to art India’sOdissisection, Kathak, India’scultural website on dance, Indianmusicdance, and many more. Monica Balsara may be contacted with any questions or comments.

In this part you will find links to art India’sOdissisection, Kathak, India’s cultural website on dance, Indianmusicdance, and more. If you have any queries or comments, please contact Monica Balsara;

  1. Links
  2. Art India’sOdissisection
  3. Kathak
  4. India’scultural page on dance
  5. Indianmusicdance
  6. Please direct any questions or comments to Monica Balsara.

Filter by PriceGridListItems1 – 12of576 to narrow your results. Decide on the Descending Direction.

ArtificialLight Orange Color Flower Strand For Hair Braid Band India Festival Wedding Dances

Descending Direction should be set. Decide on the Descending Direction

Bharatnatyam: Know All About The Most Popular Dance Form Of South India

Originally performed in Hindu temples in Tamil Nadu and its surrounding areas, Bharatanatyam is a traditional Indian dance form that developed in the region. Take a look at its history, costumes, and exponents to have a better understanding. Image courtesy of: Bharatanatyam is a preeminent Indian classical dance form that is recognized as the ancestor of many other Indian classical dance forms. It is regarded as the oldest classical dance tradition in India and is regarded as the mother of many other Indian classical dance forms.

  1. The theoretical foundation of this style may be traced back to the ancient Sanskrit Hindu literature ‘Natya Shastra,’ which deals with the performing arts.
  2. Its performance repertoire includes nrita, nritya, and theatric performances.
  3. It also continues to inspire a variety of artistic mediums, including paintings and sculpture, dating back to the outstanding temple sculptures of the 6th to 9th centuries CE.
  4. The theoretical foundations of this dance style, which is also known as Sadir, may be traced back to the ancient Indian theatrologist and musicologist Bharata Muni’s Sanskrit Hindu work on the performing arts, titled ‘Natya Shastra,’ which is a Sanskrit Hindu classic on the performing arts.
  5. According to mythology, Lord Brahma taught Bharatanatyam to the sage Bharata, who thereafter codified this sacred dance style in the Natya Shastra (Indian classical literature).
  6. The first is referred to as ‘nrita,’ which is pure dance composed of finesse of hand movements and gestures, and the second, ‘nritya,’ which is solo expressive dance composed of expressions.
  7. The epic poem ‘Silappatikaram’ (c.

The Shiva temple at Kanchipuram, which is embellished with sculptures that date back to the time between the 6th and 9th centuries CE, demonstrates the evolution of this dance style by the mid-first millennia CE.

The eastern gopuram of the 12th century Thillai Natarajar Temple in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, dedicated to Lord Shiva, contains sculptures depicting 108 poses of Bharatanatyam, referred to as karanas in the ‘Natya Shastra,’ which are intricately carved in small rectangular panels.

Another remarkable sculpture may be seen in Cave 1 in Karnataka’s Badami cave temples, which dates back to the 7th century and depicts Lord Shiva as Nataraja performing the Tandava dance, which is 5 feet tall.

Image courtesy of with The Devadasi Way of Life Bharatanatyam, which had its origins in Hindu temples in Tamil Nadu and the surrounding regions, quickly spread to other South Indian temples.

Eventually, the Devadasi culture was incorporated into the ceremonies of South Indian temples on an ongoing basis.

Following an investigation of the data, Davesh Soneji, a historian of performing arts and a specialist on Bharatanatyam, came to the conclusion that the courtesan dancing phenomena began during the Nayaka era of Tamil Nadu, somewhere around the late 16th or early 17th century.

Many classical dance forms were affected by these developments, including Bharatanatyam, which was restricted to Hindu temples until the 19th century.

Eventually, the social and economic conditions associated with Devadasi culture, combined with the contempt and despicable attitude of Christian missionaries and British officials, who regarded the Devadasis of South India and the nautch girls of North India as harlots, brought such systems to disgrace and led to their extinction.

  • In 1910, the Madras Presidency, which was governed by the British colonial administration, outlawed the practice of dancing in Hindu temples, thereby putting an end to the centuries-old tradition of Bharatanatyam performances in Hindu temples.
  • Hindu temple dance, a rich and old tradition in Tamil culture, was being persecuted under the guise of social reform, which caused concern among the local population.
  • Krishna Iyer, an Indian lawyer, independence warrior, activist, and classical artist, have raised concerns about such prejudice.
  • He was later released.
  • The ‘Madras Music Academy’ was formed by Iyer and Rukmini Devi Arundale, an Indian theosophist, dancer, and Bharatanatyam choreographer who collaborated with him in an effort to preserve Bharatanatyam from extinction.
  • She arrived in India in 1930 and not only learned traditional dances, but she also took on the name Ragini Devi and became a member of the old dance arts revival movement, which she helped pioneer.
  • The dance form of Bharatanatyam was popularized by eminent Bharatanatyam performers such as Arundale and Balasaraswati, who took it out of Hindu temples and established it as a mainstream dance form.

Today, this old classical dance genre incorporates technical performances as well as themes that are not religious in nature or that are fusion-based.

It is a technical performance in which the dancer performs pure Bharata Natyam movements, with a focus on speed, form, pattern and range as well as rhythmic characteristics, with no dramatization or interpretative elements included.

Alarippu, Jatiswaram, Shabdam, Varnam, Padam, and Thillana are the components of the dance style that are normally performed in succession, with Alarippu being the first.

She is dressed in a stunning tailor-made sari, which is made of a cloth that has been specially stitched in pleats and falls in the front from the waist.

The sari, which has been styled in a unique way, is well complemented by traditional jewelry, which includes pieces that ornament her head, nose, ear, and neck, as well as vibrant facial make-up that draws attention to her eyes, allowing the audience to see her true emotions more clearly.

See also:  Growing Awareness

Besides a jewelry belt that adorns her waist, she also has musical anklets known as ghunghru, which are constructed of leather straps with little metallic bells connected to them and are wrapped around both of her ankles.

Image courtesy of: It is customary for the Bharatnatyam dancer to be joined by a singer known as a nattuvanar (also known as a taladhari), who typically leads the whole performance, which is often carried out by the dancer’s teacher.

The music connected with Bharatanatyam is in the Carnatic style of South India, and the instruments used include cymbals, the flute, a long pipe horn called nagaswaram, a drum called mridangam, and the veena (stringed instrument).

Exponents who are well-known During the reign of Maratha king Sarfoji-II from 1798 to 1832, the four Nattuvanars, namely Ponaiyah, Vadivelu, Sivanandam and Chinnaiya, who are collectively known as Tanjaore Bandhu and who flourished in the Durbar of Sarfoji-II from 1798 to 1832, developed the modern-day Bharatanatyam dance form.

He is most known for his style of Bharatanatyam, which is referred to as the Pandanallur school of Bharatanatyam.

Balasarswati, who was hailed as a child genius by Vidhwans and Pandits, also contributed to the revival of the dance genre by joining forces with them.

She was a virtuoso in the Thanjavur form of Bharatanatyam, which she learned from her mother. Mrinalini Sarabhai, her daughter Mallika Sarabhai, Padma Subramanyam, Alarmel Valli, Yamini Krishnamurthy, and Anita Ratnam are only a few of the upcoming Bharatanatyam talents that have been announced.

Love to Dance? Then Here are 14 Iconic Indian Dance Forms You MUST Know Of

India boasts a plethora of dances, with representatives from every state in the country, despite the fact that just six styles of classical dance are officially recognized by the government on a national basis. Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Kathakali, Manipuri, Kuchipudi, and Odissi are the dance forms included. The folk dances of India are much more than just a series of bodily motions; from ancient times, the traditional dance styles of India have been seen as a kind of discipline and a means of dedicating oneself to God via the medium of art.

1. Bharatnatyam

Tamil Nadu is a state in southern India. Source Bharatnatyam is a South Indian dance art that is performed to the heavenly tones of Carnatic music. It originates in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. The origins of Bharatnatyam may be dated back to 1000 BC, and it is believed to have originated in the ancient temples of Tamil Nadu, where it was performed by women during the classical period. Known for its stunning body motions and gestures, which are referred to as Mudras in the ancient language, this dance style is well-known worldwide.

This dance form was quite popular prior to the arrival of the British, but it suffered a severe decline during the colonial period.

2. Kathak

Uttar Pradesh is a state in northern India. Source Kathak originated in the northern region of the country, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, and gets its name from the Hindi term ‘Katha,’ which literally translates as “story.” Someone making the educated guess that Kathak is done in the manner of narrative through body motions is not doing themselves any favors. Kathak is commonly referred to as the “dance of love,” and it may be performed by both male and female dancers in unison, as well as individually.

In traditional language, ankle bells, also known as gunghroos, are a significant element of the discipline that is required for this dance style to be performed with precision.

3. Kathakali

In the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Source Catamaran dance originated in the northern region of the nation, namely in Uttar Pradesh. The word “Kathak” derives from the word “Katha,” which in Hindi means “story.” To infer from the body motions of the dancer that Kathak is done in the style of storytelling is not a very good assumption, to put it lightly. In many circles, Kathak is considered to as the “dance of love,” and it may be performed by both male and female dancers in unison.

In traditional language, ankle bells, also known as gunghroos, are a significant element of the discipline that is required for this dancing style. As it is done in different parts of the nation, such as Jaipur, Benaras, and Lucknow, different variances may be observed in the dance forms practiced.

4. Manipuri

Manipur, North Eastern India is the source of this information. Walking towards the North-east India, which is bursting with rich heritage and their own distinct culture, Manipuri emerges as a significant emblem to symbolize the state of Manipur from the region as you walk through the region. In this dance genre, the story of the amorous romance between the Hindu gods Radha and Krishna, also known as the RaasLeela, is told through the eyes of the performers. The story of the two gods is told through this art form, which is performed in a group and dressed in traditional Manipuri clothes and makeup.

5. Kuchipudi

Andhra Pradesh is the source of this information. Kuchipudi, which originated in the state of Andhra Pradesh, is considered to be the most difficult style of classical dance in India. Kuchhipudi is not just a dance, but a religious procedure dedicated to God that includes rituals such as sprinkling holy water, burning incense sticks, and praying to God. Kuchipudi is not just a dance, but an entire religious procedure dedicated to God that includes certain rituals such as sprinkling holy water, burning incense sticks, and praying to God.

When Kuchipudi was first performed in temples, it was exclusively by male dancers, notably those from the Brahmin caste (the upper caste of society).

6. Odissi

Odisha is a state in East India. Source The Odissi dance form originates in the Indian state of Odisha, which is located in the country’s eastern region. The ancient dance has its origins in the Hindu temples of Odisha, where it is being performed today. Sculptors and statues from India’s ancient temples served as inspiration for many of the mudras (hand gestures and movements) used in this practice. The dance is done as a means of expressing the mythical narratives of Hindu gods, such as Shiva and Surya, who are represented by the characters in the dance.

Odissi is believed to be one of the oldest dance genres in India, having survived to the present day.

7. Bhangra/Gidda

Punjab, Northern India is the source of this information. Bhangra is a heart-pumping dance that originated in Punjab and is accompanied by the pounding rhythms of the dhol (traditional Indian instrument). When it comes to traditional Punjabi festivities, it is quite common.

8. Garba

Located in Punjab, India’s northern region Dhol sounds and a heart-pumping dance called Bhangra, which originated in Punjab, are included (traditional Indian instrument).

In traditional Punjabi festivities, it is quite common.

9. Rouf

Source Rouf is a calming dance style that the Kashmiri people do to commemorate their festivals and major occasions. Rouf is primarily performed by female dancers to traditional Kashmiri music, and it is a popular choice for weddings.

10. Ghoomar

RajasthanSource The inhabitants of Rajasthan will be found dancing to the rhythms of music, adorned in heavy jewelry and magnificent clothes, in order to pass on their ancient dance form. Aspects of Ghoomar include the interesting circular motions that are accompanied by hand gestures.

11. Chhau

Mayurbhanj, Odisha is the location of the source. What you will see during the festival period in Kolkata are the stunningly attractive women dressed in sophisticated apparel, who are performing the dance art of Chhau. Dance in the style of martial arts is a popular art form that originated in eastern India and has spread around the world.

12. Bihu

Assam is a state in North-Eastern India. The image is courtesy of Wikipedia Commons. During the Bihu festival, the majority of the participants are young men and women who perform this joyful Assamese traditional dance. Using rapid hand movements, swift steps, and a rhythmic swaying of the hips, the dancers perform in traditional Assamese clothes with gorgeous embellishments, following a pattern. Bihu, which is conducted on the occasion of Rangali Bihu to mark the beginning of the spring season, recounts the joys and legacy of Assam and is a traditional celebration.

Although the exact origins of Bihu are unknown, historical documents claim unequivocally that it derives from the Bisu dance, which was performed by populations in Upper Assam such as the Sonowal Kacharis, Deoris, Moran, Chutias, and Borahis, among others.

The London Olympics in 2012 featured a performance of this traditional Indian dance that has become more popular.

13. Lavani

Maharashtra, West India is the location of the source. Originally from the state of the Maratha empire, Lavani is a Maharashtra dance genre that has been around for hundreds of years. Dancers perform a combination of traditional music and stories about deities in this female-oriented form of dance. The name Lavani is derived from the Sanskrit word Lavanya, which means “beautiful.” Not only did it contribute to the development of Marathi folk theatre, but it also served as a morale booster during the war years of the 18th century.

Nirguni Lavani is a combination of the two.

The themes or issues on which this dance is based are mostly concerned with religion, politics, society, and, to a lesser extent, romance.

They are adorned with a nine-yard saree with gold jewelry for their performances. The dance was originally done in local temples as a form of worship, but it has evolved into a sexual dance performed to the sounds of pulsating drums that serves as a social and political satire.

14. Mohiniyattam

Kerala is a state in southern India. Source Historically, Mohini is the female form of Lord Vishnu in Indian mythology, and the definition of Attam in Malayalam is rhythmic motion, which means that one should follow the dance of the celestial enchantress. It is the second most popular type of dance in Kerala after Kathakali. This classical Indian dance style has its origins in the ancient Sanskrit scripture known as the Natya Shastra. Tradition dictates that it be performed by women, who sing and act in a theater while following a set repertory of Carnatic music.

This slow melodic music is played in ragas and with a repertoire of instruments that includes the mridangam, Madhalam, Flute, Idakka, Veena, and Kuzhitalam.

Although the Lasya dance is frequently depicted as soft, beautiful, and feminine, it also demonstrates a fierce Tandava dance, which is associated with Lord Shiva and is performed in the temple.

After years of resistance, a ban on Mohiniyattam was lifted in 1940, and with the assistance of the people of Kerala, the dance form was restored and recreated.

15. Sattriya Dance

Assam, North Eastern India is the source of this information. Sattriya dance was brought into Assam by Mahapurusha Sankaradeva, a Vaishnava saint and reformer who lived in the 15th century AD. This dance form was maintained in the Sattras or the Vaishnava Maths, and as a result, it continued to be practiced today as a living tradition. This dance was a creative technique of imparting legendary truths to an audience of people. Bhokots, or male monks, used to perform this dance, which was traditionally reserved for them.

The topic is not just tied to mythology, and the performances are not confined to the Sattras or any other religious organization.

Origin of Indian Dance Forms

The origins of Indian dancing may be traced back thousands of years. Dancers may be seen in the cave paintings of the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh, where they are shown in cave paintings. Sculptures from the Indus Valley Civilization depict figures who are dancing, as do sculptures from other cultures. The document Natya Shastra, which was composed by the sage Bharata, has information on the origins of dance in India and may be accessed here. This piece of writing goes back to the second century AD.

Other Dance Forms in IndiaTheir States

Andhra Pradesh Kolattam, Vilasini Natyam, Dhimsa
Arunachal Pradesh Aji Lamu, Roppi, Phoning
Assam Bagurumba, Ali Ai Ligang
Bihar Kajari, Jhumari
Chhattisgarh Dandari, Gendi, Panthi, Karma, Damkach
Goa Mando, Talgari, Suvari, Dasarawadan, Kunbi, Fugadi
Gujarat Raas, Bhavai, Tippani
Haryana Gugga, Khoria
Himachal Pradesh Kullu Nati, Namgen, Hikat, Chham
Kashmir Dumhal, Kud, Bhand Jashan
Jharkhand Phagua
Karnataka Krishna Parijatha, Nagamandala, Bhootha Aradhane
Kerala Kaikottikali, Thumbi Thullal
Madhya Pradesh Karma, Gaur Maria, Kaksar, Ahiri
Maharashtra Pavri, Dhangari Gaja
Manipur Khamba Thoibi, Pung Cholom
Meghalaya Khuallam, Nongkrem
Mizoram Cheraw, Khuallam
Nagaland Changlo-Sua lua
Odisha Ghumura, Ruk Mar, Goti Pua
Punjab Jhumar
Rajasthan Kuccgi ghodi, Kalbelia, Bhavai, Sapera dance
Sikkim Singhi Cham, Khukuri, Talachi
Tamil Nadu Karagaattam, Mayil Attam, Kolaattam, Kummi, Kavadi
Tripura Garia, Hozagiri
Uttar Pradesh Raaslila, Charkula
Uttarakhand Barada Nati, Chapeli, Langvir
West Bengal Gambhira, Kalikapatadi, Domni

There are so many different types of Indian dances that are concealed inside each state of the country that it is quite astounding.

Dances exhibit the diversity of cultural art forms that are embellished with traditions, and they are a reflection of the cultural richness. Our country is, in fact, a melting pot of differences.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *