India consists of different states and each state has its own culture. There are various dance forms from different parts of the country, which represents our rich heritage and values.
These traditional dances originated thousands of year back, which over the period of time gradually included themes and expressions from experience and social life. All these dance forms have one thing in common i.e. they use “mudras” which is a sign of hand to express and these dances were originally performed to please Gods. Here are few forms of famous classical dances in India:
Bharatnatyam is one of the most popular and important forms of classical Indian dance. This dance is comparatively more famous in Southern states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. It is said that this dance originated more than 2000 years back and that Bharatnatyam was announced by Lord Brahma to a famous sage named Bharata. It was him who put down this holy dance into Natya Shastra which is a Sanskrit Text. This dance is performed by both male and female dancers.
Kathakali is more popular in southwestern states of India like Kerala. It is a religious dance and has been inspired from Hindu epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata, and stories of Shaiva. Kathakali has been originally and traditionallyperformed by males, even the parts of female roles. Kathakali which means “Story-Play” is very well-known for its elaborate makeup and heavy costumes.
Kathak which is also known as a dance of love is from North India. Kathak, the word has been derived from the word “Katha” which means “the art of story-telling”. This dance form includes tricky footwork movements and stylized gestures that have been adopted from normal body language. Kathak was originated by professional storytellers and began as a temple dance which was soon moved into ruling house courts.
Kuchipudi originally is from the state of Andhra Pradesh and also derives its name from the village named Kuchelapuram in Andhra. The dance originated when this village was presented to Brahmins who were professionals in staging drama and dance. Kuchipudi displays scenes from mythological tales, Hindu epics, and legends through a perfect blend of dance, acting, singing, and music. The movements in this dance form are comparatively faster than other dance forms, more rounded, and fleet-footed.
Odissi originated from Orissa and is believed to be the oldest form of Indian classical dance. It is believed that it had its origin in Devadasi tradition and is based on archaeological findings. Mostly, this is a dance which is performed by women only and has such postures that one normally finds in temple structures. This is a very expressive and complex dance to perform.
Manipuri comes from the hilly region of Manipur in northeast India. The legend says that a lake in that region was drained by the Gods so that they could get some place to dance. Since then, this dance has become a part of daily rituals like paying homage to ancestors and weddings. One important feature of this dance is its Sankirtana and Raas Leela which is a very devotional theme of Radha-Krishna. Another important feature here is the Drum Dance which is known as Pung