Category Archives: Dance styles of India

Zankar : The dance beat 2

Zankar : The Dance beat

In my previous blog, I described about the traditional dance forms of India, its different fortes, and about how dance forms are widely used in fields such as Indian cinema .In this blog I will be describing various traditional dance forms of India in detail.  Dance forms of India varies from culture to culture, for instance, Garba (folk dance of Gujarat), Bhangra (folk dance of Punjab), Manipuri (folk dance of Manipur) and so on. In Hindu mythology, it is believed that dance has been conceived by lord “Brahma”. It is said that sage Bharat muni was inspired by Lord Brahma for writing Natya shastra from which codified way of presenting dance and drama emerged. The well-known Hindu deities Lord Shiva, Goddess Kali and Lord Krishna are typically represented in dancing. Further, classical dance form such as Bharatnatyam known for its hand gestures is also used for retelling the mythological tales. Gradually dancer from South India moved from temples to houses of royal families, where they only performed for royalty.shiva

1) Bharatnatyam, Kathakali, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Sattriya are the dance forms on which I will be focusing in this blog. Bharatnatyam dance form came in to existence during 1000 BCE, Bharatnatyam is a classical dance from the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, rehearsed in modern times by women. The dance is usually followed by classical music. Bharatnatyam is a dance form whose inspirations come from the sculptures of the ancient temple of Chidambaram. It was modified as a performing art in the 19th century by four brothers, whose musical compositions for dance gave different definition to the word Dance.

dancer 1

2) Kathakali is a form of dance which is highly styled dance-drama for describing mythological stories. It originated from Kerala during 17th century. The captivating thing about this dance form is its costume, which includes towering head gears, heavy skirts, silver nails and beautifully painted faces.

dancer 2

3) Further, Kathak is a dance form, which was originated from North Indian states. Priest of Indian temples used to narrate their stories through this dance form. This dance is being performed since Mughal era. The name Kathak is derived from the Sanskrit word katha meaning story. Kathak is considered to be the best way of story- telling. There are three major schools of kathak in India 1) Jaipur 2) Lucknow and 3) Varanasi. Mughals used to find kathak dance form to be fascinating and addictive.

dancer 3

4) In addition, Sattriya, or Sattriya Nritya, is one among eight principal classical Indian dance traditions.  Sattriya has remained a living tradition since its creation by the founder of Vaishnavism in Assam, the great saint Srimanta, in 15th century Assam. Sattriya dance form is performed at Guwahati Rabindra Bhawan .  Today, although Sattriya Nritya has much wider recognition, the sattras continue to use the dance form for ritualistic and other purposes.

5) Talking about the other dance forms of India, Odissi dance form has its own origins and acceptance. Odissi which is also known as Orissa, originates from the states of Odisha. Odissi was the dance form which was originated from archeological evidences. The three main books for Odissi dance forms are the classic treatise of Indian dance, Natya Shastra, refers to it as Odra-Magadhi. This dance form involves various body stance, thumping of foot and striking various postures as seen in Indian sculptures. The most common stances of this dance styles are Bhanga, Abhanga, Atibhanga and Tribhanga.

Above were the various dance forms of India with details such as their origins, history, explanation, costume description, through pictures and the ways they are performed.

Excited about knowing the past, present and future of dance in Indian cinema?  Excited about knowing the past, present and future of dance in Indian cinema? Stay tuned for the next blog!

Happy Dancing!

For more knowledge of dance forms you can visit the link below:-

You can also watch kathak performance in the below Link