Famous Dances in India

India dance encompasses a broad variety of dance and dance theater categories, starting from the very old temple or classical dance to contemporary and folk dances.

India Dance: An Overview

Kali, Shiva, and Krishna are the three gods that are usually symbolized in Indian dancing. In addition, there are different types of Indian folk dances which include Bihu, Bhangra, Sambalpuri, Ghumura Dance, Garba, and Chhau. Unique types of dances are performed in local carnivals. The country houses various classical dance varieties and every one of them has origins in various regions of this diverse multicultural nation. The worldwide viewers have seen the staging of India dance through Hindi cinema or Hindi films. From time immemorial, prayers are offered to the deities through the spiritual dances and folk dances. Examples include Kirtaniya Dance, Ramlila Dance, Bhagata Dance, Naradi Dance and Kunjvasi Dance, Puja Art Dance and Vidapat Dance in this group. Least amount of musical instruments is used in these dance forms and the dancer presents the dance forms exclusive of playing the melody.

Indian Classical Dance

The classical Indian dances embody the tradition and culture of a specific area or community of the country. The standards for being regarded a classical dance form are the technique's observances of the principles mentioned in Natyashastra. Natyashastra describes the technique of performing arts in India. Natya or acting is an extensive model which comprises both drama and dance.

In India, classical dance is an inappropriate designation, since essentially dance denotes natya, the religious melodic theatre modes in Hindu culture. Its concept dates back to the Natya Shastra, which was written by Bharata Muni in 400 BC.

In India, the Sangeet Natak Akademi grants classical grade to nine categories of dance.

People who revere Lord Vishnu are regarded as Vaishnavas. The mode of dance carried out by the gopis and Lord Krishna (Vishnu's Avatar) in Vrindavan is known as rasa-lila. It is regarded as a type of dedicational dance. Different other types of classical dance forms in India are utilized to depict incidents from the Puranas associated with or recounting Vishnu. Given below are the different classical dance forms and their places of origin:

Dance form Place(s) of origin
Kathakali Kerala
Odissi Orissa
Kuchipudi Andhra Pradesh
Gaudiya Nritya Bengal
Bharatanatyam Karnataka, Tamil Nadu
Mohiniyattam Kerala
Manipuri Manipur
Sattriya Assam
Kathak Uttar Pradesh

Andhra Natyam and Vilasini Nrityam/Natyam are the Telugu forms of classical dance. Kerala Natanam is the popular form of Keralite classical dance. Dances which were presented within the area of the temple in line with the customs were known as Agama Nartanam. According to the Natya Shastra categorization, it is a form of dance or margi which frees the spirit and is dissimilar to the desi dance forms, which is entirely amusing.

Dances presented in the regal courts together with classical music were known as Carnatakam. This was also known as Darbari Attam category or intellectual art category.

A quite significant aspect of classical dance in India is the usage of hand motions or the mudra by the performers as a short-hand symbol language to tell a tale and to show particular ideas like climate, articles, feelings, and nature. Various classical dances incorporate facial looks as an essential feature of the dance form.

The Encyclop´┐Żdia Britannica talks about six acknowledged schools and other sources mention there are eight forms of classical dance. Odissi and Bharat Natyam are the two most popular classical dance forms that follow the temple dance styles. Kuchipudi features lip movements and Kathak started as a court dance.

Different types of Indian folk dances

The different categories of Indian folk dances are listed below:

States Dance forms
Andaman and Nicobar Islands Nicobarese dances
Arunachal Pradesh Bardo Chham
Andhra Pradesh Thapetta Gullu
Chhattisgarh Panthi
Jharkhand Karma/Munda
Goa Tarangamel:
  • Koli Dance
  • Kunbi Dance
  • Jagar
  • Samayi nrutya
  • Gonph
  • Ranmale
  • Dekhni
  • Tonnya mell
Himachal Pradesh Kinnauri Nati
Gujarat Garba
Tippani Dance
Karnataka Yakshagana
Dollu Kunitha
Kashmir Dumhal
Madhya Pradesh Tertali
Lakshwadeep Lava
Maharashtra Pavri Nach:
  • Dhangari Gaja
  • Lavni
  • Koli
  • Povadas
  • Dindi
  • Tamasha
  • Dangi
  • Kala
  • Bharud
Mizoram Cheraw Dance
Manipur Thang Ta
Dol Cholam
Nagaland Sua Lua (or) Chang Lo
Odissa Ghumura Dance (or Ghumra Dance)
Goti Pua
Ruk Mar Nacha and Chhau dance
Baagh Naach or Tiger Dance
Dalkhai (Chhiollai, Humobauli and Dauligit, Chhata, Sajani, Bhekani, Daika, Jaiphul, Rasarkeli, Bayamana, Maila Jada, and Gunchikuta) Dhap Karma Naach
Pondicherry Garadi
Punjab Bhangra
Rajasthan Ghoomar
Sikkim Singhi Cham
Tamil Nadu Kamandi or Kaman Pandigai
Karagattam or Karagam
Mayil Attam or Peacock dance
Paampu Attam or Snake Dance
Poikal Kudirai Attam
Theru Koothu
Tripura Hojagiri
West Bengal Gambhira
Kerala Padayani

Last Updated on 31 October 2011