And what better attribute of the country could depict this compared to Indian dance forms. The traditional dances of India have different styles. This is so because the dance forms belong to diverse areas of the country – they originated there and then developed with the cultural elements.
There are a great many folk dances which belong to different regions of the country and are mainly performed by the local people of that particular region only. The Indian movie dances also hold an important place in the culture of the nation.
The dance forms of India have their source since the ancient Vedic period wherein individuals used to gratify into singing and dancing for recreational and entertainment purposes. The Vedas hold an elaborate mention of performing arts. The Hindu text Natya Shastra includes all of the earliest compilations of the early dance forms.
From these ancient dance forms are derived the classical dances of India. Let’s get an insight to the popular dances of the country.
Originated in 1000 BC, the Bharatanatyam dance belongs to Tamil Nadu in South India. This is mostly performed on Carnatic music. Before, the dance was performed only in Hindu temples and at other religious places. Bharatanatyam used to be a solo dance form performed exclusively by women and depicted religious ideas and spiritual themes. During the British era, this dance form was curbed and ridiculed. But, it went on to become one of the most famous traditional dances of India.
This is the most stylized dance form (essentially a dance drama) that belongs to Kerala. Kathakali is a 17th-century dance form which is performed like a story-play and has very colourful and elaborate costumes, makeup, as well as face masks. It was also traditionally performed in temples and religious chambers. The dance movements are integrated from the early athletic traditions and martial arts of South India.
This dance form belongs to North India, and the name’Kathak’ has been taken from the Sanskrit work’katha’ which means’story’. Hence, Kathak is’the one who tells the story’. It majorly is made up of passionate and childhood stories of Lord Krishna. Kathak has three unique forms which belong to, and are also named after three North Indian cities – Lucknow, Banaras and Jaipur. Ghungroo (small bells) is the main element and involves rhythmic body movements with facial expressions.
Like other major classical Indian dances, Kuchipudi also has its roots and developed as a spiritual performing art. According to history, this dance was originally performed by Brahmin men, but now both women and men perform this dance. This is a pure dance form that includes expressions and sign languages.
This dance belongs to Odisha, the coastal country of Eastern India. Odissi is a dance-drama style performing art, practiced traditionally by women to express spiritual themes and spiritual ideas. The dancing is accompanied by musicians, wherein they narrate mythical stories, and the dancers perform wearing symbolic costumes with rhythmic movements, facial expressions and gestures.
As the name implies, this dance form is from the North-Eastern Indian state of Manipur. This dance form takes its inspiration from the Raslila of Radha-Krishna and depicts such love-inspired dances. Manipuri is performed in a group and has a very unique and special costume called Kumil, which is a beautifully decorated skirt in the shape of a barrel. This is a really graceful dance which majorly involves movements of the upper body.
This dance form of Kerala takes its title from the seductress avatar of the Hindu God Vishnu, Mohini, who lured the evil demons to assist good prevail over the bad. Mohiniyattam is a Lasya style dance that’s feminine in nature and contains delicate body motions.
So, these were the most famous traditional dances of India and a little history about their origins. Other than these, there are other folk and tribal dances too that mark the importance of Indian culture.