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Friday, 16 September 2016 22:39



India is a country of vast cultures, traditions and colours. In all spheres of Indian life diversities are clearly visible.

India is a country of vast cultures, traditions and colours. In all spheres of Indian life diversities are clearly visible. And these diversities have made the India, a country of various cultures. You can see a perfect combination of cultures merging together to form a beautiful nation. In India we celebrate festivals virtually every day. This has added to the richness of Indian culture and a festival is definitely incomplete without the classical Dance which has become an integral part of our social milieu. There are many types of dance forms in India, from those which are deeply religious in nature to those which are performed on occasions to express the zealous about the festival. And through this blog we all come closer to Indian dance forms.



Bharatnatyam is one of the most popular classical Indian dances. It is more popular in South India Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. This dance is almost 2,000 years old. It is believed that Bharatnatyam was established by Lord Brahma to Bharata, a famous sage who then codified this sacred dance in a Sanskrit text called the Natya Shastra. And Natya Shastra divides dance into two distinct forms – Nritta and Nritya. In nritta, focus is on abstract hand gestures, whereas the dancer employs a complex system of hand signals and body language to depict emotional expressions in nritya. The Bharatnatyam dance flourished in the temples of South India. The temple dancers called Devadasis or servants of God established under religious devotion. This dance form is considered the mother art of most of the other classical dances of India.



Kathakali is the classical dance form of Kerala. Kathakali literally means story-play and is an elaborate dance depicting the victory of truth over evil deeds. This dance form is known for its heavy, elaborate makeup and costumes. And heavy makeup looks like a mask and the colourful costumes have become the most recognized icon of Kerala. It represents themes derived from Ramayana, the Mahabharata and other Hindu epics and mythological stories. Kathakali consists of pure dance as well as abhinaya. Initially it was performed by only men even the female character was also played by male domain but now women also perform the dance. It is the only Indian dance form in which the entire body, both skeleton and muscles, down to even the smallest facial muscle are used to portray emotion. It starts at dusk and continues all through the night and this dance is around 1500 years old.



Kathak is one of the most important classical dances of India which is originated in north India and was very similar to the Bharatnatyam dance form. Kathak is derived from the word Katha that means the art of storytelling. In ancient times, the Kathak dancers used to recite religious and mythological stories in the form of dance, music and mime. During the 19th Century Kathak enjoyed a revival and gained a realm among the kings and zamindars as a classical art form. Slowly and gradually Gharanas or schools of Kathak emerged. Kathak dancers are performs straight-legged and wore ankle bells (ghungroo). This dance form emphasis more on footwork.



It is one of the classical dance forms of South India, as south is very rich in its cultural realm. Kuchipudi derives its name from the Kuchipudi village of Andhra Pradesh. In the 17th Century this village belongs to Brahmins, who were experts in stage dance and drama. Kuchipudi exhibits scenes from the Hindu Epics, legends and mythological tales through a combination of music, dance and acting. It was never a solo affair and required a number of performers. Kuchipudi was performed in the open air by performers. This dance retains its devotional character with stress on dramatic outlook. It is because of all the qualities and features that Kuchipudi dance enjoys great popularity and is recognized as one of the leading classical dance form of India.



Manipuri is originated from Manipur, the North eastern state of India. This dance style is inextricably woven into the life pattern of Manipur people. The Manipuri dance form is mostly ritualistic and maintains the rich culture. Costumes used in this dance are colourful and music carries a quaint charm. The Manipuri dance is not only a medium of adoration and delight but also essential for all cultural ceremonies. This form of dance is considered to be the most purest, modest, softest and meaningful dances. It is believed that the actual founder of this dance form was Radha and Krishna. This Rasa Leela dance is said to be repeated by Shiva and his consor, Goddess Uma in Lasya sytle. It is interesting to note that the same dance (Rasa-dance) was performed for the third time by two mortal human beings, princess Toibi and Khamba of Manipur. The dance performed by these two lovers is known as Lai Haraoba. The most important facet of Manipuri culture is that it has preserved the ancient ritual based dances and folk dances along with the later developed classical Manipuri dance style.



It is a classical dance form of Kerala. Mohiniattam is derived from the words Mohini (Beautiful Woman) and attam (Dance). Thus, Mohiniattam dance form is a beautiful feminine style with surging flow of body movements. Basically, the theme of this dance is Sringara or love. And the love is expressed by abhinaya, gestures, rhythmic footwork and lilting music. Lord Vishnu as Mohini forms the core of Mohiniattam dance. The performer of Mohiniattam usually wears off-white coloured sari with gold brocade borders. Hairs are gathered in a bun and decorated with jasmine flowers. Mohiniattam dancer is adorned with Gold jewellery and the tinkling of the jewellery produces music as the dancer performs the dance. The dance form is accompanied by Violin, Veena and Mridangam and the dancer narrates episodes from epics and legends through elegant dance steps.    



Odissi is one of the famous classical Indian dances from Orissa state. The name Odissi refers to the dance style of the state of Orissa in eastern India. Like other classical arts of India Odissi also face difficulties to survive and by the 1930s and 40s, there were very few surviving practitioners of the art. Over the years it has become one of the most popular classical dance forms. Odissi has two major facets: Nritta or non-representational dance, in which ornamental patterns are created using body movements in the space and time, and Abhinaya, or facial expressions are used to interpret a story or theme. The divine love stales of Radha and Lord Krishna are favorite themes of interpretations, this dance show a complex relationship between Lord Krishna and Radha .





The word Chhau is traced to the Sanskrit Chhaya or shadow, referring to the mask used by the dancers. All the Chhau performers hold swords and shields while performing. The stages are decorated and brightly lit by torches, lanterns and flickering oil lamps. The musical instruments used are the Dhol (a cylindrical drum), Nagara (a huge drum) and Shehnai (reed pipes). Themes are based on mythology, everyday life, aspects of nature or just a mood or emotion. Rituals connected with Chhau spread throughout the year beginning from Dussehra. Actual training of the Chhau starts from the day of Sri Panchami. A number of rituals are performed primarily to call upon the divine blessing.
It is a type of dance, which takes utmost care in expressing emotion and feeling - anger, fear, laughter, wonder or sorrow. Chhau dance follows certain fundamental traditions of the classical modes as detailed in the ancient treatises. The solo dancers were simply displaying stylized vigorous movements with sword and shield in hands.


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