Dances of  India

Every government exam you come across have this section of art and culture of India and each year have at least one question from dances of India. We at LST after a lot of research had compiled must have notes for art and culture of India and a part of these notes as dances of India.

India such a diverse country; with lots of different type of population, culture, language, religion, and according to these diversities we can trace back the origin of different dances of India. Origin of dances of India can be traced back to Vedic eras where people use to pray to make deity or god happy and perform several rituals with combination of dialogue, music . Indian dance can also be tracked from Natyasashtra which is from sages of Bharata and also Natya Veda created by Brahma with a combination of different Vedas like word from Rig-Veda, melody fro Sam- Veda, mime from Yajur Veda and emotions from Arthar Veda.

Mainly classification is based on their nature and origin, so Dance of India has been classified into two types- classical dances and folk dances.

Some other thinkers have also come up with a new category semi-classical.

Classical dances of India-

Classical dances are dances with a spiritual nature and have all attributes related to it in written form or have a text related to them. Classical dances had developed a shishya-guru tradition.

Sangeet natak akademi confers eight type of dance the status of classical dance namely BharatNatyam(TamilNadu);Mohiniyattam(kerla);Kathakali(kerla);KATHAK(North India); kuchipudi(Andhra Pradesh);Odissi(odissa); Manipuri(manipur);Sattriya(Assam).

Classical dances basically have origin from Hindu mythology so mostly stories told here in these dances is mythological for evoking an emotion(rasa) by invoking an expression(bhava)

So here are classical dances of India

  1. Bharatnatyam

  • Origin from Tamil nadu in temples from Devdasi system
  • Oldest classical dances of India many other classical dances originate from this dance
  • Traditional female dancer
  • Hand and facial gesture important
  • Footwork and posture to express the underlying story
  • Three type of performance-1.nritya-slow and generally to covey emotion of story 2.nritta-fast and abstract and rhythmic aspect of dance 3.natyam- team work and a play
  • Alarippu,Jatiswaram,Shabdam,Varnam,Padam,Thillana,Attire order or sequence pf presentation
  • Artist feels his/her body made of triangles
  1. Mohiniattam

  • One of the classical dance of Kerala
  • Revolves around MOHINI name of Vishnu
  • Also from devdasi system
  • Traditionally solo dance by female
  • Include grace and eros , footwork is soft
  • “Vyavaharamala’ contains it’s description
  • Dance include Nritta- solo dance Nritya- expression
  • Parted feet, Knees bent outward , erect upper torso, gentle 8 shape
  • costume includes plain white or off-white such as ivory or cream coloredsari embroidered with bright golden or gold laced colored brocade
  1. Kathakali

  • colorful make-up, costumes and face masks wearing actor-dancers
  • traditionally all dancers were males
  • developed in the courts and theatres of Hindu principalities
  • shares many elements with some of ancient Indian performance arts such as Kutiyattam (classical Sanskrit drama) and medieval era Krishnanattam
  • flexibility to artist for improvise
  • start at dusk completes around down under a lamp
  • male dressed as females too
  • very elobrative make up with head gears and mask and painted face
  • makeup represents leader or hero of the dance like green for god etc
  • dance with acting too
  1. Kathak

  • classical dance of northern India
  • origin of kathak can be traced back to kathakars(storyteller) travelling many places
  • emphasis on rhythmic foot movement and also artist wears Ghoongroo
  • legs and torso are straight
  • focus of dance on eyes
  • weight of body is equally distributed along the horizontal and vertical axis
  • no deflection or use of sharp bends of upper and lower body
  • only classical dance related with Muslims ,in mughal period patronized by Muslim rulers
  1. Kuchipudi

  • Andhra Pradesh
  • dance on the bronze rim plate and with pitcher full of water at head is also done
  • two forms which include solo dance and drama respectively
  • usually concluded with Tarangam
  • acrobatic dancing is also part
  1. Odissi

  • Orissa
  • Origin from devdasi system
  • Boy artists are called as Gotipua
  • Facial expression, hand gesture and body movement are used for conveying feelings
  • Two type of movement Chowk and Tribhanga that is masculine weight of body is equally balanced and famine deflection at neck, torso and the knees
  • Lower half body remain static and torso moves
  • All leg movement are spiral
  1. Manipuri

  • Manipur
  • Origin from lai-haraioba festval
  • Repertoire are Ras, Thang-ta and sanskritana
  • White veil,and muslin skirt worn over
  • Pung and Khartal is played during dance
  • Focus is on knees and hand
  1. Sattriya

  • Assam
  • Introduced by Shankar dev
  • Also some origin can be traced from devdasi system
  • Hastmudras and footwork is strictly followed

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