Truly Mesmerising Classical Dance Forms In India!

  • 09 Oct 2019

Also known as Shastriya Nritya, Indian classical dance consists of various performance types and styles.

There as many as eight according to some scholars. Majority of these dances are regional and consists of diverse styles, expressions and even costumes.

Let's take a look at some of the more prominent dance types.


The dance of Tamil Nadu, the Bharatanatyam originated from the Natyashastra created by a priest named Bharata. It was initially a dance performed by women in temples to retell Hindu stories of devotion.


Found in parts of northern India, the Kathak dance is synonymous with love. It is depicted by men and women who wear bells at their ankles. It was prominent feature in the old Indian courts and was even performed for rulers.


This dance from northeastern India is always used to portray the greatness of the Hindu god, Krishna. Unlike other dance forms, the Manipuri is slower and much more graceful.


Just like Bharatanatyam, Kerala's Kathakali is a dance performance which retells Hindu stories, specifically the Ramayana. Instead of women, it is men who commonly perform. They will even portray female characters as well. What's unique about this dance performance is the elaborate makeup and costume along with headdresses.


Coming from the state of Andhra Pradesh, the Kuchipudi requires the performer to dance and sing. While it first started out as a male dominated dance form, over the years females have picked it up.


Originating from Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardev in the 15th century, the Sattriya dance traces its roots to the 'Sattras'. The dance form was used to spread Vaishnavism.


Based on the postures you'll find in temple sculptures, the Odissi dance can be found in Orissa. It is considered India's oldest dance form and consists of extremely complex and expressive movements. It also has over 50 symbolic hand gestures aka mudras.


Yet another dance form from the state of Kerala, the Mohiniyattam is well known for its graceful gestures and subtle footwork.

If you're given the opportunity to master one of these dance forms, which one would it be?

Photo source: Dance Poise
Article Source: Britannica Walk Through India

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