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Mesmerizing Dances of India

Introduction to Indian dance forms

India’s cultural heritage is very rich. Each state of India is distinct and so is its cultural heritage. India can boast of having a special form of dance. The grace and charm of Indian classical dance is indescribable. The performance of these dances takes you to another world. The two dominant forms of dance here are folk dance and classical dance. Where folk dances are more inflected and identified with places, classical dances are associated with temple culture and are performed more or less as supplications and prayers to God and Goddess.

Aesthetic classical dances of India

The essence of these classical dances is aesthetic and spiritual. The cosmic element of these dances is related to the dance of life, myths, symbolism, mystical answers and philosophical explanations. The skilful dance performances are exceptionally remarkable. The specific flavor of the dances is due to the graceful body movements – including the eyes, neck, hands, facial and eye expressions, postures, jewelry, costumes.

In the approximately 2,000-year history of classical dances, six main classical dances have emerged. Bharata’s Natyashastra (Natya means drama and Shastra means authoritative text) is the most important source for describing the guidelines and attributes of Indian drama. The treatise offers two aspects of Nritta, the pure dance, and Nritya, the interpretive dance. Another bible of Indian dance is ‘Abhinaya Darpanam’ which gives the basic principles for every technique.

The Sangeet Natak Academy has awarded classical dance status to eight prominent dance forms:

1. Bharatnatyam from Tamil Nadu

2. Odissi of Orissa

3. Kuchipudi in Andhra Pradesh

4. Manipuri Manipuri

5. Mohiniattam of Kerala

6. Kerala Kathakali

7. North Indian Kathak

8. Sattriya of Assam

Among these, Bharatnatyam and Odissi religiously follow the principles laid down in Natya Shastra. A very important feature of classical dances is the use of mudras or hand gestures (sign language) to convey a phenomenon or concept. The regional exclusivity and ethnic elements of the dances make them even more charming.

Charismatic folk dances of India

Indian folk dances form the backbone of the cultural aura. The variety and diversity of the cultural heritage is also decisive in folk dance. The impressive folk dance is typical for almost every occasion. A birth of a child, a festival, a wedding, not a single event goes by without these dance performances. The child has been circumcised in folk music since birth. Folk dances are accompanied by various musical instruments. The folk dancers put on vibrant costumes, elegant hairstyles and ethnic jewelry, and they dance very rhythmically and cheerfully. Indian folk dances can be classified into different regions such as

– Central India

– Oriental

– Northern

– North East

– Southern

– Southwest

Some of the famous folk dances of India are:

– Bhangra, Punjabi Gidda

– Ghoomar, Rajasthan Kalbelia

– Dandiya, Gujarat Garba

– Maharashtra Lavani

– Assam Bihu

– Jharkhand Chhau

– Jawara of Madhya Pradesh

– Bihari Karma, Jatra and Paika

– British West Bengal

– Dalkhai, Goti Puas from Orisa

– Dhumal from Jammu and Kashmir

– Hikat of Himachal Pradesh

One came and experienced with one’s own eyes what Indian dance performances are really like. The status they enjoy is well deserved.

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