2. DANCE IN INDIA
• Dance in India comprises numerous styles
of dances, generally classified as classical or
• As with other aspects of Indian culture,
different forms of dances originated in
different parts of India,.
• They developed according to the local
traditions and also imbibed elements from
other parts of the country.
• Sangeet Natak Akademi recognizes eight
traditional dances as Indian classical dances.
• Folk dances are numerous in number and
style and vary according to the local tradition
of the respective state, ethnic or geographic
• Contemporary dances include refined and
experimental fusions of classical, folk and
3. Origin of Dance in India
• The origins of dance in India go back into the ancient times.
• The earliest Palaeolithic and Neolithic cave paintings such at
the UNESCO world heritage site at Bhimbetka rock
shelters in Madhya Pradesh shows dance scenes.
• Several sculptures found at Indus Valley
Civilization archaeological sites, now distributed between
Pakistan and India, show dance figures.
• For example, the Dancing Girl sculpture is dated to about
2500 BCE, shows a 10.5 centimetres (4.1 in) high figurine in
a dance pose.
• The Vedas integrate rituals with performance arts, such as
a dramatic play, where not only praises to gods were
recited or sung, but the dialogues were part of a dramatic
representation and discussion of spiritual themes.
• The evidence of earliest dance related texts are in Nat
sutras, which are mentioned in the text of Panini the sage
who wrote the classic on Sanskrit grammar, and who is
dated to about 500 BCE.
• The classic text of dance and performance arts that has
survived is the Hindu text Natya Shastra, attributed to sage
5. INDIAN CLASSICAL DANCE
• Indian classical dance, or Shastriya Nritya,
is an umbrella term for various performance
arts rooted in religious musical theatre styles,
whose theory and practice can be traced to the
Sanskrit text Natya Shastra.
• The Sangeet Natak Akademi recognizes eight
– Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Odissi,
Kathakali, Sattriya, Manipuri and
• Scholars such as Drid Williams add Chhau,
Yakshagana and Bhagavata Mela to the list.
• These dances are traditionally regional, all of
them include music and recitation in local
language or Sanskrit.
• They represent a unity of core ideas in a
diversity of styles, costumes and expression.
• Bharatanatyam is a major genre of Indian
classical dance that originated in Tamil Nadu.
• Traditionally, Bharatanatyam has been a solo
dance that was performed exclusively by women.
• It expressed south Indian religious themes
and spiritual ideas, particularly of Shaivism,
but also of Vaishnavism and Shaktism.
• Bharatanatyam may be the oldest classical
dance tradition of India(trace to the ancient
Sanskrit text by Bharata muni, natya shastra
and the ancient Tamil epic Silappatikaram).
• The term Kathak is derived from the
Vedic Sanskrit word Katha which means
"story", and Kathaka which means "the one
who tells a story", or "to do with stories".
• Wandering Kathakars communicated stories
from the great epics and ancient mythology
through dance, songs and music in a manner
similar to early Greek theatre.
• Kathak dancers tell various stories through
their hand movements and footwork, but
most importantly through their facial
• Wandering Kathakars communicated stories
from the great epics and ancient mythology
through dance, songs and music in a manner
similar to early Greek theatre.
• Kathakali is a "story play" genre of art, but one distinguished
by the elaborately colourful make-up, costumes and facemasks
that the traditionally male actor-dancers wear.
• Kathakali primarily developed as a Hindu performance art in
the Malayalam-speaking southwestern region of India (Kerala).
• A Kathakali performance, like all classical dance
arts of India, synthesizes music, vocal
performers, choreography and hand and facial
gestures together to express ideas.
• However, Kathakali differs in that it also
incorporates movements from ancient Indian
martial arts and athletic traditions of South
13. KUCHIPUDI • Kuchipudi is originated in a village named Kuchipudi in
the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
• Kuchipudi is a dance-drama performance, with its roots in the
ancient Hindu Sanskrit text of Natya Shastra.
• It developed as a religious art linked to traveling
bards, temples and spiritual beliefs, like all major
classical dances of India.
• Kuchipudi largely developed as a Hindu
god Krishna-oriented Vaishnavism tradition.
Odishi also referred to as Orissi in older literature, is a
major ancient Indian classical dance that originated in
the Hindu temples of Odisha – an eastern coastal state
• Odissi, in its history, was performed
predominantly by women, and
expressed religious stories and spiritual
ideas, particularly of Vaishnavism (Vishnu
• Odissi performances have also expressed
ideas of other traditions such as those
related to Hindu gods Shiva and Surya, as
well as Hindu goddesses (Shaktism).
17. SATTRIYA • Sattriya or Sattriya Nritya, is a major Indian classical dance.
• It is a dance-drama performance art with origins in
the Krishna-centred Vaishnavism monasteries of Assam.
• One-act plays of Sattriya are called Ankiya
Nat, which combine the aesthetic and the
religious through a ballad, dance and
• The plays are usually performed in the
dance community halls (namghar) of
monastery temples (sattras).
• The themes played relate to Krishna and
Radha, sometimes other
Vishnu avatars such as Rama and Sita.
19. MANIPURI • Manipuri dance, also known as Jagoi, is one of the
major Indian classical dance forms, named after the
region of its origin – Manipur.
20. MANIPURI DANCE
• It is particularly known for its
Hindu Vaishnavism themes, and
exquisite performances of love-inspired
dance drama of Radha-Krishna
• However, the dance is also performed
to themes related
to Shaivism, Shaktism and regional
deities such as Umang Lai during Lai
• Mohiniyattam dance gets its name from
the word Mohini – a mythical
enchantress avatar of the Hindu
god Vishnu, who helps the good prevail
over evil by deploying her feminine
• It is traditionally a solo dance
performed by women after extensive
• Chhau dance, also spelled as Chau or Chhau, is a
semi classical Indian dance with martial, tribal and
folk traditions, with origins in the
eastern Indian states of Jharkhand, West Bengal,
• It is found in three styles named after the location
where they are performed, i.e. the Purulia Chau
of Bengal, the Seraikella Chau of Jharkhand, and
the Mayurbhanj Chau of Odisha.
• The dance ranges from celebrating martial
arts, acrobatics and athletics performed in festive themes
of a folk dance, to a structured dance with religious
themes found in Shaivism, Shaktism and Vaishnavism.
• The costumes vary between the styles, with Purulia and
Seraikella using masks to identify the character.
• The stories enacted by Chhau dancers include those from
the Hindu epics the Ramayana and the Mahabharata,
the Puranas and other Indian literature.
• Yakshagana is a traditional theatre form that
combines dance, music, dialogue, costume,
make-up, and stage techniques with a unique
style and form.
• This theatre style is mainly found in Tulunadu and
some parts of Malenadu regions of Karnataka
• Yakshagana is traditionally presented from dusk
• Its stories are drawn from Ramayana,
Mahabharata, Bhagavata and other epics from
both Hindu and Jain traditions.
• Yakshagana is a separate genre of music, independent
of Karnataka Sangeetha and the Hindustani music of India.
• It is believed to have survived as an indigenous phenomenon
only in Karnataka and northern parts of Kerala.
• A typical Yakshagana performance consists of background
music played by a group of musicians (known as the himmela);
and a dance and dialog group (known as the mummela), who
together enact poetic epics on stage.
27. BHAGAVATA MELA
• Bhagavata Mela is a classical Indian dance that is
performed in Tamil Nadu, particularly
the Thanjavur area.
• It is choreographed as an
annual Vaishnavism tradition in Melattur and
nearby regions, and celebrated as a dance-
drama performance art.
• The dance art has roots in a historic migration of
practitioners of Kuchipudi, another Indian
classical dance art, from Andhra Pradesh to Tamil
28. BHAGAVATA MELA
• The term Bhagavata, state Brandon and
Banham, refers to the Hindu text Bhagavata
• Mela is a Sanskrit word that means "gathering,
meeting of a group" and connotes a folk
• The traditional Bhagavata Mela performance
acts out the legends of Hinduism, set to
the Carnatic style music.
29. FOLK AND TRIBAL DANCE FORMS
• Folk dances and plays in India retain significance
in rural areas as the expression of the daily work
and rituals of village communities.
• Sanskrit literature of medieval times describes
several forms of group dances such
as Hallisaka, Rasaka, Dand Rasaka and Charchari.
• India has numerous folk dances. Every state has
its own folk dance forms
• like Bedara Vesha, Dollu Kunitha in Karnataka,
• Thirayattam and Theyyam in Kerala,
• Garba, Gagari
(dance), Ghodakhund & Dandiya in Gujarat,
• Kalbelia, Ghoomar, Rasiya in Rajasthan,
• Neyopa, Bacha Nagma in Jammu and Kashmir,
• Bhangra & Giddha in Punjab,
• Perini Dance in Telangana,
• Chholiya dance in Uttarakhand,
• Bihu and Bagurumba dance in Assam,
• Sambalpuri Dance in Western Odisha and likewise for
each state and smaller regions in it.
30. DANDIYA RAAS
• Raas or Dandiya Raas is the traditional folk
dance form of Gujarat & Rajasthan India, and is
associated with scenes of Holi,
and Lila of Krishna and Radha at Vrindavan.
• Along with Garba, it is the featured dance
of Navratri evenings in Western India.
• Garba is a form of dance which originated in the
state of Gujarat in India.
• The name is derived from the Sanskrit term Garbha
("womb") and Deep. Many traditional Garba is
performed around centrally lit lamp or a picture or
statue of the Goddess Shakti.
• Traditionally, it is performed during the nine-day
Hindu festival Navaratri.
• Either the lamp (the Garba Deep) or an image of the
Goddess, Durga (also called Amba) is placed in
middle of concentric rings as an object of veneration.
• Ghoomar is a traditional folk dance of Bhil tribe
performed to worship Goddess Sarasvati which
was later embraced by
other Rajasthani communities.
• The dance is chiefly performed by veiled women
who wear flowing dresses called Ghaghara.
• According to the traditional rituals, newly married
bride is expected to dance Ghoomar on being
welcomed to her new marital home.
• Ghoomar is often performed on special occasions,
such as at weddings, festivals and religious
• The term Bhangra refers to the traditional
dance from the Indian subcontinent
originating in the Majha area of the Punjab
• Bhangra is related to the Punjabi dance
‘Bagaa' which is a martial dance of Punjab.
• Chholiya is a dance form practised in
the Kumaun region of Uttarakhand. It is basically
a sword dance accompanying a marriage procession
but now it is performed on many auspicious
• It is especially popular in the districts
of Pithoragarh, Champawat, Bageshwar and Almora
of Kumaun division and has even spread to
the Garhwal division.
• This sword dance has a history of more than a
thousand years and is rooted in the martial
traditions of the Kumauni people.
40. BEDARA VESHA
• ‘Bedara Vesha’ is a folk dance performed days
before Holi night in Sirsi town of Karnataka.
• It is also known as ‘Hunter Dance’. People of Sirsi
celebrate Holi with this unique folk dance every
• It attracts a large crowd from different parts of
the state on all the five days of Holi.
• Thirayattam is a ritual performing ethnic art form of the
South Malabar region in Kerala state, India.
• It blend of dance, theatre, music, satire, facial and body painting,
masking, martial art and ritualistic function.
• This vibrant art form has a great resemblance to the traditions
and customs of the ancient civilization.
• Thirayattam usually enacted in courtyards of "kaavukal" (sacred
groves) and village shrines of south Malabar region
(Kozhikode & Malappuram) in Kerala.
• Traditionally, the "Perumannan" community has the right to
perform this magnificent art form in "kaavukal" (sacred Groves).
44. PERINI SHIVATANDAVAM
• Perini Shivatandavam is an ancient dance form
from Telangana which has been revived in recent times.
• It originated and prospered in Telangana during
the Kakatiya dynasty.
• Perini is performed by males and it is believed that in
ancient times this was performed before the soldiers set
• Nataraja Ramakrishna was the person who revived this art
• Perini Dance form was developed at the time of
Ganapathi deva, the king of Kakatiya Empire
• Bihu is the chief festival in the Assam state of India.
• It refers to a set of three different festivals: Rongali or
Bohag Bihu observed in April, Kongali or Kati Bihu observed
in October, and Bhogali or Magh Bihu observed in January.
• The Rongali Bihu is the most important of the three
celebrating the Assamese new year and the spring festival.
• The Bhogali Bihu or the Magh Bihu is the one that is all
• The Kongali Bihu or the Kati Bihu is the sombre, thrifty one
reflecting a season of short supplies and is an animistic
• Lavani is a genre of music popular in Maharashtra.
• Lavani is a combination of traditional song and dance,
which particularly performed to the beats of Dholki, a
• Lavani is noted for its powerful rhythm. Lavani has
contributed substantially to the development of Marathi
• In Maharashtra and southern Madhya Pradesh and North
Karnataka, it is performed by the female performers
wearing nine-yard long saris.
68. CONTEMPORARY DANCE
• Contemporary dance in India encompasses a wide
range of dance activities currently performed
• It includes choreography for Indian cinema,
modern Indian ballet and experiments with
existing classical and folk forms of dance by
• Uday Shankar and Shobana Jeyasingh have
led modern Indian ballet which combined
classical Indian dance and music with
Western stage techniques.
• Their productions have included themes
related to Shiva-Parvati, Lanka Dahan,
Panchatantra, Ramayana among others.
71. DANCE IN FILMS- BOLLYWOOD DANCE
• The presentation of Indian dance styles in
film, Hindi Cinema, has exposed the range of
dance in India to a global audience.
• Dance and song sequences have been an integral
component of films across the country.
• With the introduction of sound to cinema in the
film Alam Ara in 1931, choreographed dance
sequences became ubiquitous in Hindi and other
• Dance in early Hindi films was primarily
modelled on classical Indian dance styles such
as Kathak, or folk dancers.
• Modern films often blend this earlier style with
Western dance styles (MTV or in Broadway
musicals), though it is not unusual to see
western choreography and adapted classical
dance numbers side by side in the same film.
74. DANCE IN FILMS- BOLLYWOOD DANCE
• Typically, the hero or heroine performs with a
troupe of supporting dancers.
• Many song-and-dance routines in Indian films
feature dramatic shifts of location and/or
changes of costume between verses of a song.
• It is popular for a hero and heroine to dance
and sing in beautiful natural surroundings or
architecturally grand settings, referred to as a
• Indian films have often used what are now
called "item numbers" where a glamorous
female figure performs a cameo.
• The choreography for such item numbers
varies depending on the film's genre and
• The film actress and dancer Helen was
famous for her cabaret numbers.
76. DANCE IN FILMS- BOLLYWOOD DANCE
• Often in movies, the actors don't sing the
songs themselves that they dance too, but have
another artist sing in the background.
• For an actor to sing in the song is unlikely but
• The dances in Bollywood can range from
slow dancing, to a more upbeat hip hop
• It could be Indian classical, Indian folk
dance, belly dancing, jazz, hip hop and
everything else you can imagine.
78. DANCE EDUCATION
• Since India's independence from colonial rule,
numerous schools have opened to further
education, training and socialization through
dance classes, or simply a means to exercise
• Major cities in India now have numerous
schools that offer lessons in dances such as
Odissi, Bharatanatyam, and these cities host
hundreds of shows every year.
• Dances which were exclusive to one gender,
now have participation by both males and
• Many innovations and developments in
modern practice of classical Indian dances,
states Anne-Marie Gaston, are of a quasi-
79. GEOGRAPHIC SPREAD
• Some traditions of the Indian classical
dance are practiced in the whole Indian
subcontinent, including Pakistan and
Bangladesh, with which India shares several
other cultural traits.
• Indian mythologies play significant part in
dance forms of countries in South East
Asia, an example being the performances
based on Ramayana in Javanese dances.
• All major classical Indian dance forms include in repertoire, three categories of performance in the Natya Shastra.
These are Nritta, Nritya and Natyam:
1. The Nritta performance is abstract, fast and rhythmic aspect of the dance. The viewer is presented with pure
movement, wherein the emphasis is the beauty in motion, form, speed, range and pattern.
2. The Nritya is slower and expressive aspect of the dance that attempts to communicate feelings, storyline particularly
with spiritual themes in Hindu dance traditions. In a Nritya, the dance-acting expands to include silent expression of
words through gestures and body motion set to musical notes.
3. The Natyam is a play, typically a team performance, but can be acted out by a solo performer where the dancer uses
certain standardized body movements to indicate a new character in the underlying story.
• All classical dances of India used similar symbolism and
rules of gestures in abhinaya (acting).
• A performance art, asserts Natyashastra, connects the artists
and the audience through abhinaya (literally, "carrying to the
spectators"), that is applying body-speech-mind and scene,
wherein the actors communicate to the audience, through
song and music.
• The communication through symbols is in the form of
expressive gestures (mudras or hastas) and pantomime set to
music. The gestures and facial expressions convey
the ras (sentiment, emotional taste) and bhava (mood) of the
• In Hindu classical dances, the artist successfully expresses
the spiritual ideas by paying attention to four aspects of a
• Angika (gestures and body language),
• Vachika (song, recitation, music and rhythm),
• Aharya (stage setting, costume, make up, jewellery),
• Sattvika (artist's mental disposition and emotional
connection with the story and audience, wherein the
artist's inner and outer state resonates).
• Abhinaya draws out the bhava (mood, psychological states).