Category Archives: Blog beat

Comparing dance forms : Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi

Bharatnatyam is a traditional dance form of India, which originated from the state of Tamil Nadu.On the other hand, Kuchipudi is a traditional Indian dance form that originated from the state of Andhra Pradesh. Bharatnatyam is a unique dance form, which was performed in temples in the 19th and 20th century but now it is performed in front of large audience and with fancy costumes. Bharatnatyam was initially performed within a little village called Divi Taluq in the Krishna district in the coastal areas of Bay of Bengal. The Brahmin inhabitants of the village traditionally performed Bharatnatyam. Whereas, Kuchipudi dance form achieved perfection during the rule of Abdul Hassan Tanesha of the Golconda Dynasty.  The king was so fascinated with the dance form that he rewarded 600 acres of territory from Tanesha to the Brahmins who performed Kuchipudi.

Bharatnatyam dance form was inspired from the sculptures of Chidambaram Temple. Whereas, Kuchipudi dance form originated from the creations of the Brahmin dancers. Bharatnatyam is known for its elegance, grace, softness and so on. Kuchipudi is performed flat-footed and with rounded poses. Other than the posture difference and the ways of performing the dance style, dressing in both the dance forms is also different. Bharatnatyam costumes consist of three fans of different heights, which look like the scattering portions of a pleated sari. Kuchipudi costumes on the other hand, have a single fan but it is way to heavy than Bharatnatyam costumes.

Bharatnatyam is a way of expressing inner fire or anger within the human soul and Kuchipudi is performed to show man’s desire to unite god.

Kuchipudi dance video.

Bharatnatyam dance video.

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Comparing dance forms: Bharatnatyam and Kathak

Both Bharatnatyam and Kathak are classical dance forms of India. Although many similarities are witnessed in both the dance forms, there exist many differences also.

Bharatnatyam is a south Indian dance form, originated in the state Tamil Nadu. Bharatnatyam is often conveyed by various classical Tamil songs and music. Whereas, Kathak is an north Indian dance form.

Temple dancers usually performed Bharatnatyam, followed by Carnatic music. Later, these dancers performed for South Indian kings. Kathak was usually performed for Muslim kings.

Bharatnatyam is performed based on the stories of Lord Shiva, and Kathak is evolved from the stories of Radha and Krishna. In Kathak dance form, when a dancer performs Lord Krishna’s part he closes his eyes while dancing in order to portray a dream sequence, which is very interesting to watch.

Bharatnayam dance form is performed wearing unique jewelry and costumes. The dancers wear such dresses, which do not restrict their movements. The costumes of Bharatnatyam are majestic. Costumes worn in Bharatnatyam also include heavy face and hair makeup, which enhances the entire costume. In comparison, Kathak performers have typically worn sari (for female) and dhoti (for male). But nowadays, kathak performers often prefer to wear long skirts and tops, which according to the dancers, captivates the audience.

In conclusion, the costumes worn by Bharatnatyam dancers are very grand while those worn by Kathak dancers are very simple. Musical instruments used in Kathak dance are tabla, sarangi, sarod and so on. Whereas, instruments used in Bharatnatyam dance forms are mridangam, nagaswaram, and veena. The tunes and lyrics of both the dance forms vary to a hefty extent.

Photo of Kathak dance costume.


photo of Bharatnatyam dance costume.

dancer 1

The above link describes the Kathak Mahotsav held in Canada Aug. 18 to Aug. 20, 2011. Organized by Rina Singha dance organization. Such events helps in making an Indian classical dance form internationally known.

Photo credits “Madhu VFX”

For more dance information keep following my blog.


Comparing dance forms: Kathak and Flamenco

Although Kathak and Flamenco both originate from different countries—India and Spain, respectively—some commonly shared features can be observed in both dance forms. Some techniques and body movements, such as hands, arms, feet, whole body movements, turns and positions are similar. Some similarities at the structural level are also seen, such as footwork and full body movements.

Kathak dance form is a way of presenting positive spiritual feelings and is performed by Hindu devotees of North India. Whereas, Flamenco dance form is meant to portray human suffering or depression and is performed in southern Spain; it is most often performed by Andalusian Gypsy people. Both dance forms have the same motive—to promote their respective traditions. Kathak, in the older as well as in the contemporary era, is performed in Hindu temples as a form of worship. During old times Kathak was also performed in village courtyards. Similarly, Flamenco traditionally appeared in the courtyards of Gypsy families. Both Kathak and Flamenco dance forms are amalgamations of several cultures.

Later, Kathak moved to extravagant courts of the Mughal Nawab and Flamenco moved to the smoky rooms owned by non-Gypsies. By the 20th century, both Kathak and Flamenco dancers started giving theatre performances in front of large audiences. Though Flamenco is more popular than Kathak, both dance forms are internationally recognized.

The two common religious influences both dance forms share are Indian and Muslim. Both dance forms have similarly complex footwork. Costumes of both the dance forms are fascinating to the audience. The flare in both the dance forms is also similar.


Costume’s play a vital role in enhancing dance performances.

Dance costumes are designed typically for enriching the performance. Costumes which are designed for a specific work helps representing the artistic work of the choreographer. When dance is presented with good body postures, lines, choreography, proper song selection and good costumes, attracts the audience. Costumes are designed according to the likely requirements of dance forms. Dance costumes are designed in a way that it helps dancers completing their movements without damaging the steps.

Materials used in designing dance clothes

It is very important to use light weight and stretchable fabric, because another type of material used may result in restriction of movements. Fabric such as, jersey, silk, chiffon, georgette and Lyrica are commonly used for designing the costumes because they don’t restrict the movements. Material such as silk is lightweight and thus it tends to flow easily around the body.

Colors used in designing dance clothes

Colors are usually in contrast with lighting, props and accessories used in dance. Costume colors are chosen in such a way that they enhance body lines and forms, and they complement a dancer. Darker colors are usually used in designing costumes as they make the dancer look slimmer, and brighter colors are avoided as they make the dancer look larger. Colors should always be chosen in a way that pleases audience’s eye.

Footwear’s used in performance

Every dance style requires a specific dance shoe and some are performed without wearing footwear. Footwear are used for balancing the costumes. Some footwear tends to blend with the costumes thus they are not noticed. The other reason of choosing the footwear with precession is to avoid injuries. Classical dancers performing Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Kathakali, Odissi and so on avoid wearing footwear’s because of the traditional reasons. Whereas, contemporary dancers choose footwear’s according to their dance forms.

“happy dancing”

Interview of a dance expert

Last Monday, I had an email interview with a dance expert, Sanjukta Sinha. She was born in Lucknow, India. She started dancing at the age of 8. She has majored in English, History and Sociology. As she was born and brought up in Lucknow, the land of Kathak dancers, she started performing Kathak. “I fell in love with the dance form the moment I started performing it,” says Sinha. She says she only performs Kathak but adds, “It is good to master in one dance form, but I respect all the dance forms.” She learned Kathak from Kumudini Lakhia Ji (her Guru), which according to her, is her biggest achievement.


Sinha has done various shows internationally. She recently performed in Rome, Paris and Italy. A few months back she did a stage show in New York, which she says was very successful. She loves showcasing her talent and dedication for Kathak dance form. For her, dance is the most beautiful art form and it is the best way of expressing oneself. She also has dance classes in Ahmedabad named “Kadamb”, India, where she teaches Kathak. She also added, ”I want to dance till my last breath.”


Further, she wants to promote Kathak not only nationally, but internationally. “I want every generation to know what Kathak dance form is all about,” Sinha says.


The pictures used are copy righted by Madhu Vfx

Pictures seen in my blog are used after taking permission of the photographer.

It felt great interviewing Sinha. Though it was an email interview, it really inspired me.

Happy Dancing !

Dance education of India

 Dance education has always been a controversy for most families in India. Some believe that dance cannot be a career option, whereas some choose to become a dancer. Dance as a hobby or profession, was discouraged by most of the upper class and higher castes in India. In addition, some reputed families never allowed their female members of house to perform any dance form. On the other hand, if we look at cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Pune, Kolkata, Vadodara, Indore, Chandigarh, and so on, there are families that support their children for opting dance as a career. Some of the children or youths who choose dance as their career, have expertise in classical dance forms such as, Bharatnatyam, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Manipuri, Kathak, Sattriya, and some of them are interested in contemporary dance forms such as, Hip-Hop, Latin dance forms, Indo-contemporary, B-boying, and so on.

Some of the famous classical dancers of India are Malika Sarabhai, Pandit Birjumaharaj, Rukmini Devi Arundale, Shovana Narayan, Sonal Mansingh, Uday Shankar and many more. Whereas, some famous dancers following contemporary dance forms are Remo Dsouza, Geeta Kapoor, Terrence Lewis, Shaimak Dawar, Rajiv rawal, and so on. Among these phenomenal dancers, some have their own dance institute such as Shaimak Dawar Institute of Performing Arts and Terence Lewis Acadamy of contemporary dance. The Terence Lewis academy (TLA) is an institute where they train and promote upcoming dancers and is situated in Mumbai and Shaimak Dawar has his academy in various cities other than Mumbai. Terence Lewis academy has special Diploma courses for students who are very keen about making their career in dance and moreover, they also conduct various workshops in different cities nationally and internationally.

Great dancers likeTerence Lewis, Geeta Kapoor and Remo Dsouza have also been judges of India’s first reality dance show, ”Dance India Dance”.

The dance education of India is improving since the past few years. More families are now supporting the dreams of their children to become dancers, as dance is emerging with different career options due to the improvement in dance education.

Some important link’s for the beat

India: Music and dance website comprises all information about India’s music and dance culture. It narrates how Indian dance culture is diverse and it varies from different countries. It has information of different sections such as India travel Guide ,India attractions ,North India, West India, South India, East India, music culture and dance culture.

Cultural India is the second website which explains about Indian classical dances such as Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Mohiniattam, Odissiand so on. This website also gives information about various classical dancers such as Malika Sarabhai, Pandit Birjumaharaj, Rukmini Devi Arundale,Shovana Narayan, Sonal Mansingh, Uday Shankar and many more.

Culture center of India website narrates description of various dance styles of India . They also have videos clips showing dance styles and they also have a Facebook page, workshop details, photos , and contact information for the same .