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Top 10 Indian Classical Dance Forms


Indian Classic dance has a very rich tradition. The tradition of Indian classical and folk dance has been thoroughly mentioned in Natya Shastra, the earliest enduring text of the world on stagecraft. Traditionally, most of these dancers were attached to the Indian temples. Even nowadays, a number of the form of Indian classical dance are mythological in nature.

Some of the world-popular classic dance originated and evolved in India are Bharatnatyam Kathak, Kathakali, Mohiniattam, Odissi, Kuchipudi and  Manipuri. All these dance forms use generally the same ‘mudras’ and signs of  hand and language of expression originally performed in the temples to entertain various Gods and Goddesses.

This is a mega-post of top 10 Indian Classic Dancing Forms, let’s have a look at these details classical dances Forms – one by one.

10. Sattriya-


When you are on your Assam, be sure to look at this traditional this traditional Indian dance. It is an art which represents dance-drama with a unique combination of hand gestures, expressions footwork, and body movements. Most of the themes of dance related to Ram and Sita or Krishna and Radha. The primary features of Sattriya dances are rich and varied rich and different melodies, lyrics and rhythm.

9. Chhau-


The Chhau is a combination of folk, tribal and martial arts. ‘Chhau’ is originated from the Sanskrit word ‘Chaaya’, meaning Shadow.  Chhau is also defined by Sitakanta Mahapatra to be derived from Chhauni in Odia language.Traditionally performed by Male troupes.

The Chhau has three different types originating from three different areas. Every form has its own unique function, pattern, and style of performing and decoration as well.

8. Manipuri-


Manipuri dance is one of the most popular dances of India. The primary features of this dance are vibrant decoration and costumes, charming music, and swaying petal-soft foot movements and intricacies of efficiency. This traditional dance is mainly motivated by the rich culture of Manipur. For all the religious and other socio-cultural events, this dance is a must.

7. Gaudiya Nritya-

Gaudiya Nritya-min

Gaudiya Nritya is another classical dance from Bengal. This dance form was originated among the Devdasi’s of Bengal who performed this dance in temples, it is also included in artwork, sculptures, drama and other forms of dance. This dance form was practised by the Devdasi’s as a form of religious appearance.

6. Kuchipudi-


This Indian dance form Kuchipudi is from the state of Andhra Pradesh. It has originated its name from a small village of Krishna district, where the resident Brahmins practice this traditional dance. The movements of this form are rounded, scintillating and quicksilver, and fleet-footed. It is performed with Carnatic music. The speciality of Kuchipudi is Tarangam, where the dancers perform upon a brass plate, putting their legs upon its brought upsides.

5. Kathakali-


Kathakali is the classical dance form originated from Kerala. The word Kathakali literally indicates “Story-Play“. Kathakali is popular for its heavy, elaborate makeup and costumes. This dance also follows some of the methods of Krishnanattam. Kathakali dance presents themes derived from the Hindu epics like Ramayana, the Mahabharata as well as mythologies and legends.  Kathakali derived its name from two Malayalam words indicates story and performance

4. Kathak-


This dance form originated from mainly northern Indian places of Jaipur, Banaras and Lucknow traces its history to the nomadic bards known as kathakas. It has derived its name from the Sanskrit word Katha that indicates “story“. The styles and methods of this dance vary depending upon the major gharanas and schools.

3. Mohiniyattam-


The phrase Mohiniattam originates its significance from the word Mohini, which implies beautiful woman and yattam which means dance. Thus this way of dance symbolizes beautiful women dance. These dances are based on love & emotion themes. The outfit is off-white colour saree with broad silver borders. The musical show instruments used are mridanga, veena, flute etc.

2. Oddisi-


Odissi is one of the popular classical Indian dances from Orissa state. The history of Odissi dance is almost 2000 years old. This classical dance form persisted from the traditions of Nartaki, a dance that took place in royal courts; Mahari, who were Orissan devadasis at Jagganath temple, Puri; and Gotipua, where boys were dressed as the girl. This dance comprises of Mangalacharan, Battu, Moksha, Nrutya,  Pallavi, Abhinaya, and Dashavataar.

1.  Bhartnatyam-


This dance form is associated with classical Tamil music and is motivated by the historical sculptures of the temple of Chidambaram. The methods of this Indian dance consist of abhinaya or Natya, which is the dramatic art of story-telling; nritta, the sacred dance movements; and nritya, which is a mixture of nritta and abhinaya.


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Priya Singha
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