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India, since ancient times, has been a rich civilisation, attracting and incorporating various cultures from throughout the world. India’s architectural ruins, spectacular carvings on its temples and tombs and of course the richness displayed through its various art forms is a tribute to this great culture we all are so proud of. Also Read - 6 Classical Indian Dance Forms Explained
The Indian dance form is believed to have essentially evolved through the Natya Rasa created by Lord Natraja to entertain and please the Gods. Natya Rasa incorporates all aspects of theatre including singing, dance and drama. Most dance forms (essentially classical) enact a story from mythology or weave a tale from a contemporary situation through their movements, expressions and emotion. Watching a classical dance performance is in many ways like watching Opera. It is beautiful and heartbreaking all at once. With this article, we will take a journey through the vibrant dance forms (some inherent, some adopted) which complete the warp and woof of Indian culture. Also Read - 5 aesthetic Indian dance forms that you didn't know about
Considered to be the oldest dance form in India, Bharatnatyam has essentially originated from Tamil Nadu and is a delightful combination of traditional sadir punched up with expression, music, beat and dance. This form of dance is slow and moving, but at times fast and fluid and hence is also called Fire Dance.
Mainly practised in Uttar Pradesh, this dance form is a gift from the Mughals to Indians. This dance form was given huge patronage in Uttar Pradesh, a primary bastion of Mughal rule, and later became popular throughout the country. If you break down the word, ‘kathak’, it means telling a story. There is a lot of importance given to the ‘nazakat‘ or mannerisms, grace and etiquettes of a dancer in Kathak.
Again a dance performed in temples, this form originated in Odisha (just as the name suggests). Primarily performed to please Lord Jagannath in Konark Sun Temple. The stand-alone feature of this dance form is that it is independent of head, chest and pelvis.
Originated in God’s Own Country Kerala, Kathakali is one of the hardest dance forms to learn and perform. Only trained artists can expertly carry off the elaborate make-up and costumes.
Originated in Andhra Pradesh, Kuchipudi’s popularity ranks next only to Bharat Natyam.
It is indeed a spiritual experience to witness a live Manipuri performance. Mythological tales of Radha and Krishna’s romance (raas-leela) are re-told in these dances.
Originally from Assam, this dance form keeps the Assamese tradition alive. It is more of a contemporary dance form and was initiated to propagate the Vaishnava faith in Assam. It is considered to be a Neo-Vaishnava treasure which primarily sets the foundation of theatre in that region.