An Excursion Into Indian Dances

indian dances

Indian dances are many and varied. They originated as the result of a fusion of visual dance with music that evolved from neighboring regions. The history of Indian dance goes back for several thousand years. It spread with the masses in places like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bengal and Kerala. It was called by different names as different regions of India adopted various dances to show off their cultural identity. Some dances in India include Bharat Natyam, Bhopal Mela, Manipur Dance, Kumba Dance, Manipuri Dance, Odissi Dance, and the dance of Kathak.

Indian Classical Dance Forms

Indian classical dance forms are an umbrella phrase for a number of performance art oriented dances rooted in regional music theatre styles, which can be traced back to the Sanskrit original text, Natyashastra, on which the different dance forms are based. These forms include Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Andhra Pradesh. Most of these dance forms are performed with a contemporary edge to them. A typical South Indian dance form is the Kathak dance. This dance form originates from the state of Orissa. It is performed with a fusion of theater and gymnastic moves that are inspired from classical Indian literature and mythological motifs.

Some other important Indian dances include Bhangra, which is a series of rhythmic hand gestures and expressions; Jhumar and Ballad, which were popular folk music and a popular celebration in the 16th century; Dance, which is an oral tradition that has evolved since early times; and Kathak, which is a genre of Kathak dance performed with a dramatic flair. Many of these dance forms have deep cultural and historical roots. They are influenced by Sanskrit works like the Rig Veda and the Mahabharata, and also by Western classical works like Handel’s Candida and Handel’s Music. Some notable present day South Indian arts include Kathak, a kind of Kathak dance that is popular among teenagers; and Bhowanaj, a dance traditionally performed by women during festivities in some South Indian villages.


A person standing on a rocky beach

Another important form of Indian dances is the Raga, which originated from Rajasthan. The word “Raga” means “a color wheel” in English. In this particular region, the red and blue colors represent the Sun and the yellow and green colors represent the Earth.

Some of the common characteristics of Indian classical dance movements are its flowing movements, which make the dances exhilarating and exciting to watch. Dressed in sari, lehenga, saree, and other clothes, these dancers move across the stage with grace. They perform intricate footwork, leaps, and spins in their movements. The draping of the fabric, the intricate embroidery work on their garments, and the skilled placement of body movements are all evident in each performance. The draping patterns on the saree are especially gorgeous. They usually appear two-toned and have shimmering stones or gemstones embellished on both sides.

Bharat Natya Shastra – The Most Important Religion In The Indian Subcontinent

Bharat Natya Shastra is the most important religion in the Indian Subcontinent. It has been practiced since ages in almost every part of India. From being a major part of Indian society and culture, to being its central teaching tool, the ancient classical dance tradition has been handed down from one generation to another. This gives the people a rich history and wonderful stories behind them.

There are innumerable tribal dance forms that are related to religion and artistic movements. These tribes include the Kodungal, Bhais, Manipuri, Dalmatian, Telugu, Marathi, Gujaratis, Mizoram, Keralites, and the like. Most of these dances are associated with a particular deity or are part of the religious rituals. The Bhais are believed to bring prosperity and good fortune while the Marathi, Telugu and Gujaratis are considered as the related forms of dance. The Assam genre of dance is believed to bring fast-falling rains and is closely linked to the festivals of Baisakhi ( martyrdom), Durga Puja (attraction of Goddess Durga) and Diwali.

Bottom Line

These are just some of the few examples of Indian dance that showcase the rich tradition and history of this fascinating country. Indian music, dance and music history have always been deeply influenced by the western civilization. Some of the well-known and most popular types of Indian music include ragras, devotional hymns, raga and raja songs, etc. Indian classical folk dances are also significant and have their own charm. The above mentioned examples clearly show the rich tradition and past of India that has left a remarkable mark even today.

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