Let us learn

Indian Dance Forms Explained in Less Than 300 Words

 Indian Dance Forms Explained in Less Than 300 Words


In India, Bharatanatyam is one of eight classical dance forms. Hindustani dance called Bharatanatyam originates from Tamil Nadu in southern India. It dates back almost 2000 years. Originally, Bharatanatyam was performed in temples by Devadasis seeking the blessing of the god, so it is also known as Daassiyattam. In the course of time, it was performed for kings in royal courts, and today, it has become a symbol of artistic education. Bharatanatyam dance is attributed to Lord Shiva. Lord Brahma is believed to have revealed Bharatnatyam to the sage Bharata, who recorded the dance in a Sanskrit text called the Natya Shastra

 In Hindu tradition, the name for the dance form was formed by pairing the word Bharata with the word Natyam, where Natyam refers to dance in Sanskrit and the word ‘Bharata’ is a mnemonic composed of ‘bha’, ‘ra’, and ‘ta’, meaning ‘bhava’ which is emotion, ‘raga’ which is melody, and ‘tala’ which is rhythm. Bharatanatyam, therefore, is a dance form where bhava, raga, and tala combine. The beauty of Bharathanatyam is its grace, its purity, its tenderness, and its sculptural poses.

 A distinguishing feature of Bharatanatyam is its fixed upper torso, legs bent or knees flexed out, and the eye usually follows the tip of the fingers when performing certain movements, requiring strong hand-eye coordination. As well as adding discipline, this provides excellent eye exercise. In addition to its international fame and standing, this dance form is also considered an important treasure of India. Among the eminent scholars in this field are actress Shobhana, Padmini, Bala Saraswathi, and Mrinalini Sarabhai.



Kathakali is the most renowned dance drama from the state of Kerala in southern India. Every Keralite can take pride in the fact that this renowned art form originated on the shores of Kerala more than 300 years ago.  The word Kathakali literally translates as "Story-Play". The word “Katha” translates as a story, “Kali” as a play. Traditionally, Kathakali dances took all night to perform. In today's case, they will last just a few hours. Mahabharata is the inspiration for many Kathakali performances.


The story cannot be told by the actors alone. Rather, they create characters through choreography. Kathakali, like all other Indian classical dance forms, puts a lot of emphasis on hand gestures. 470 different mudras are used in Kathakali. A majority of these exercises are carried out with the hands and fingers, but some are performed by the entire body. Kathakali is a dance form that uses physical expression and hand gestures to tell stories.


The type of kathakali is related to the character and it is called Vesham. Among the five major Veshams in Kathakali, there are Kathi (Knife), Pacha (Green), Thaadi (Beard), Minukku (radiant), and Kari (Black). In Green Vesham appears the noble and the divine. While the makeup is applied directly to the face, the fully expressive nature of the face and eyes is not hindered. Large, elaborate makeup and costumes are the most outstanding characteristics of this dance form. Kathakali's elaborate costumes are an icon of Kerala. It takes three hours to do Kathakali's makeup. These effects give actors a superhuman appearance.



The dance form of Kuchipudi originates in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Kuchipudi's theoretical foundation can be traced back to the ancient Sanskrit Hindu work called 'Natya Shastra' written by Bharata Muni. Named after the village of Kuchipudi in the Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh, Kuchipudi is a shortened form of the full name Kuchelapuram. A Dance similar to this was performed in ancient times by Brahmins in Kuchelapuram.

All Indian arts have a deep religious heritage, and Kuchipudi was a major result of the Bhakti movement beginning in the seventh century. Siddhendra Yogi, an ascetic in the 14th century, gave it a new definition and direction. In the past, Kuchipudi was exclusively a male dance. Lord Krishna's life stories are told through this dance in an expressive and vibrant manner. Several copper inscriptions from the medieval era attest to the fact that dance flourished under the patronage of the medieval rulers in the 16th century. Its performance at the royal court of the Vijayanagara Empire is also listed.

 In relation to Kuchipudi's origins, there is a legend.  The village raised an orphan of Srikakulam once.  He was married at a young age according to the custom of the day.  He went to Udipi to study Vedic philosophy.  He acquired the name Sidhendra Yogi during his studies. After his studies, he returned to Srikakulam.  During his journey, he came upon a river.   he realized that he couldn't swim any further.  He then prayed to God for the strength to cross.  As soon as he reached the shore, he swore to become a sanyasi (renunciate) and dedicate his life to religious affairs. His first teaching assignment was in the village of Kuchelapuram.  Using religious themes as themes for his dance dramas, he taught Brahmin boys.


  courtesy:    Amazing Facts about Kuchipudi Dance


Odissi, originally called 'Odra-Nritya,' is a temple dance from the state of Odisha in eastern India. The body movements, expressions, and gestures of Odissi are excellent. Music and dance both play a role in Odissi dance, blending music styles. Ragas that appear most commonly in Odissi music are Kalyana, Nata, Shree Gowda, Baradi, Panchama, Dhanashri, Karnata, Bhairavee, and Shokabaradi. Odissi is a difficult art to master because it is performed continuously in a position that combines soft and fluid upper body movements with strong and steady lower body movements.


Odissi dance is devoted to Lord Jagannath, who is considered the lord of the universe and is revered by the people of Odisha. Interestingly, the first evidence we have of this dance has been found through the engraving of a dancer in a cave near Udayagiri.       One of the most prominent features of Odissi is its proximity to many sculptures found in temples across Orissa. While Odissi is graceful in its manner, it is also rooted in a concept known as 'Tribhangi', which literally translates to 'three parts', and it comprises three major movement types. Performing Odissi requires considerable rigor, discipline, as well as a level of precision, grace, and beauty that can only be achieved through intense training.


Spines are strengthened by this dance form. According to a source, it may be beneficial for people who suffer from severe spondylitis. Dance costumes for Odissi are similar to those for Bharatanatyam. The women dancers of Odissi wear the patta sari, nine yards long and brightly colored silk saris. They also wear black or red blouses called kanchulas. The 'nibibhanda', or apron-like silk cloth worn around the legs, is tied from the waist. Known as the oldest dance in the world, Odissi is considered one of the oldest artistic movements in the world.



The Manipuri classical dance originates in the North East Indian state of Manipur. Manipuri is actually the name of a number of dance forms in the region.  Manipuri culture is a fusion of Indian and Southeastern cultures, which is reflected in its dances as well. Even before recorded history began, its origins can be traced back to ancient times. Despite not being well documented, it is believed that Rasleela dances were originated in Manipur during the rule of King Bhagyachandra. In a dream, it was this philosopher-king who dreamt up this unique dance form as well as its costumes and music in the 18th century. Its main themes are the love stories of Krishna and Radha, although other themes are also explored. 


Classical Manipuri dance can be roughly divided into two categories. They are Jagoi and Cholom.   Jagoi represents the Lasya element described in Bharata's Natya Shastra, which dominates Ras Leela. Cholom represents the Tandava form of classical dance. Female artists usually wear a long stiff skirt with decorative embellishments. In addition to this, they wear a dark-colored velvet blouse and a veil over their faces. Among the male dancers, the dhoti, the kurta, the white turban, a folded shawl on the left shoulder, and the drum strap on the right shoulder, are some of the typical costume items. Krishna's characteristic costume includes a yellow dhoti, a dark velvet jacket, and a crown of peacock feathers.


There are features of Manipuri dance that set it apart from other classical dances: The artist never makes eye contact with the audience. Continuous and circular movements merge into one another. Drums and flutes are the two main instruments used in Manipuri dance. Famous Manipuri dancers are Yumlembam Gambhini Devi, Guru Bipin Sinha, Darshana Jhaveri, and Nirmala Mehta.






 Five Great Scientists and their inventions