And what better attribute of the nation could depict this compared to Indian dance forms. The traditional dances of India have distinct styles. This is so because the dance forms belong to diverse areas of the nation – they originated there and then developed with the cultural elements.
There are a great many folk dances which belong to different regions of the country and are primarily performed by the regional people of that specific region only. The Indian movie dances also hold an important place in the culture of the nation.
The dance forms of India have their source since the early Vedic period wherein individuals used to gratify into dancing and singing for recreational and entertainment purposes. The Hindu text Natya Shastra includes all of the earliest compilations of the early dance forms.
From these early dance forms are derived the classical dances of India. Let us get an insight to the popular dances of the nation.
This is largely performed on Carnatic music. Before, the dance was performed only in Hindu temples and in other spiritual places. Bharatanatyam was a solo dance form performed exclusively by girls and depicted religious thoughts and spiritual themes. During the British era, this dance form was curbed and ridiculed.
Kathakali is a 17th-century dance form that’s performed like a story-play and has very colourful and elaborate costumes, makeup, in addition to face masks. It was also traditionally performed in temples and spiritual chambers. The dance movements are integrated from the early athletic traditions and martial arts of South India.
This dance form belongs to North India, and the title’Kathak’ was taken from the Sanskrit work’katha’ which means’story’. Hence, Kathak is’the person who tells the story’. It majorly is made up of passionate and youth stories of Lord Krishna. Ghungroo (little bells) is the principal element and involves rhythmic body movements with facial expressions.
As with other major classical Indian dances, Kuchipudi also has its origins and developed as a spiritual performing art. According to history, this dance was originally performed by Brahmin men, but both women and men perform this dance.
This dance belongs to Odisha, the coastal country of Eastern India. Odissi is a dance-drama style performing art, practiced traditionally by women to express religious themes and spiritual ideas. The dancing is accompanied by musicians, wherein they exude mythical tales, and the dancers perform wearing symbolic costumes with rhythmic motions, facial expressions and gestures.
As the name implies, this dance form is in the North-Eastern Indian state of Manipur. This dance form takes its inspiration from the Raslila of Radha-Krishna and portrays these love-inspired dances. Manipuri is performed in a group and has a very unique and distinctive costume named Kumil, which is a beautifully decorated skirt in the form of a barrel. This is a really graceful dance that majorly involves movements of the upper body.
This dance form of Kerala takes its title from the seductress avatar of the Hindu God Vishnu, Mohini, who lured the wicked demons to assist good prevail over the evil. Mohiniyattam is a Lasya style dance that’s feminine in nature and contains delicate body motions.
So, these were the most renowned traditional dances of India and a little history about their origins. Aside from these, there are other folk and tribal dances too that indicate the importance of Indian culture.