8 Classical Dances of India
India has a very rich culture of dance and music, Traditional, classical, folk and Tribal dances style. These Incredible traditional dances of India are originated during the ancient times and considered the mother art of classical dances.
Bharatanatyam is a dance of Tamil Nadu in southern India. It traces its origins back to the Natyashastra, an ancient study on theater written by the mythic priest Bharata. Originally women perform this dance in temple, bharatanatyam often is used to express Hindu religious stories and devotions. It was not commonly seen on the public stage until the 20th century. The dance movements are characterized by bent legs, while feet keep rhythm. Hands may be used in a series of mudras, or symbolic hand gestures, to tell a story.
A dance of northern India, Kathak is often a dance of love. It is performed by both men and women. The movements include complex footwork accented by bells worn around the ankles and stylized gestures adapted from normal body language. It was originated by Kathakas, professional storytellers who used a mixture of dance, song, and drama. Like other Indian dances it began as a temple dance, but soon moved into the courts of ruling houses.
Kathakali comes from southwestern India, around the state of Kerala. Like bharatanatyam, kathakali is a religious dance. It draws inspiration from the Ramayana and stories from Shaiva traditions. Kathakali is traditionally performed by boys and men, even for female roles. The costumes and makeup are especially elaborate, with faces made to look like painted masks and enormous headdresses.
Kuchipudi an established dance form originated in Andhra Pradesh. This classical dance is named after a village Kuchelapuram, 65 Kms from Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh and became popular due to the patronage of the Brahmins practicing it. Kuchipudi is known for its impressive, quick footwork, dramatic characterization, expressive eye movements and spirited narrative. It is a blend of tandava and lasya elements. A distinctive feature of this dance is the execution on a brass plate and moving the plate to the accompaniment of carnatic music. The Kuchipudi performer apart from being a dancer and actor has to be skilled in Sanskrit and Telugu languages, music and manuscripts of the performance.
Odissi is indigenous to Orissa in eastern India. It is mostly a dance for women, with postures that replicate those found in temple sculptures. Based on archaeological findings, odissi is belived to be the oldest of the surviving Indian classical dances. Odissi is a very complex and expressive dance, with over fifty mudras (symbolic hand gestures) commonly used.
Assam is a land known for its colors and rich history. It is the culture which is basically a hybrid of many different traditions and values. Assamese ethnicity is extremely popular when it comes to different handicrafts and visual arts, namely dance. The Sattriya dance, which is a prehistoric Indian classical dance form, is among the 8 most renowned Indian traditional dances. The perfectly executed hand movements, bright and dramatic colored sarees, sparkling expressions and a sense of gaiety that creates a halo around this dance makes it nothing less of a visual treat for the spectators.
Manipuri comes from Manipur in northeastern India. It has its roots in that state’s folk traditions and rituals, and often depicts scenes from the life of the god Krishna. As compared to other dance Manipuri is denoted by smooth and graceful movements. Female roles are especially fluid in the arms and hands, while male roles tend to have more forceful movements. The dance may be accompanied by narrative chanting and choral singing.
Mohiniyattam is a semi-classical dance form of Kerala. It is perfomed by women. The word Mohini means a maiden who steals the heart of the onlooker. It is thought that Vaishnava devotes gave the name of Mohiniattam to this dance form. Legend says that Lord Vishnu took on the guise of a Mohini, the arch enchantress, to enthrall people. The movements are graceful and the costumes are sober and attractive.