Indian Classical Dances are the dance forms with rythemic movements that depicts the cultural aspects of Indian civilization. Altogether there are eight Indian classical dances, each in different style and tradition. They are Bharatanatyam, Kathakali, Mohiniattam, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Kathak, Manipuri and Sattriya. But all the dances follow the same rules set by Bharatha Muni in his Natyashastra long ago.
Bharatanatyam: Bharatanatyam is a classical dance which originated from Tamil Nadu state. Bharatanatyam is a combination of Bhava, Raga and Tala that narrates the story in a dramatic form. The sculptures seen in various postures in the South Indian temples are mostly based on Baratanatyam dance.
Kathakali: Kathakali is a popular dance drama, originated from the south Indian state of Kerala. This dance is performed with heavy costumes and make-up. Kathakali narrates the Mahabharat and Ramayan in the form of story play. This dance is generally performed by men, both in male and female characters.
Mohiniattam: Mohiniyattam is yet another traditional dance form from the South Indian State of Kerala. Mohiniattam is performed as a solo and group dance by women. ‘Mohini’ meaning ‘woman’ and ‘aattam’ meaning ‘graceful movements’. This dance narrates the episode of Lord Vishnu who appears as Mohini to save Lord Shiva from the demon Bhasmasura.
Kuchipudi: Kuchipudi dance is a classical dance which originated from Kuchelapuram village near Vijayawada, Krishna District in Andhra Pradesh. It’s a dance drama that artists perform with various facial expressions depicting different moods. It also has got many movements similar to Bharatanatyam, another famous dance in India.
Odissi: Odissi dance is another Indian classical dance from the Eastern part of India, the state called Orissa. This is one of the oldest dances which originated some 2000 years ago. One of the most symbolic features of Odissi dance is Tribhangi, meaning the body is divided into three parts, head, bust and torso. Any posture relating to these three elements is called Tribhangi and the theme of Odissi dance revolves around Lord Krishna.
Kathak: Kathak is the major classical dance drama from North India. The word Kathak is derived from Sanskrit meaning ‘telling a story’. This dance is performed with beautiful expressions on the face, fast footsteps and also the fast body spinning.
Manipuri: Manipuri is one of the eight major classical dances in India. This dance also refered as ‘Sankeertan’ is originated from the Eastern State of India, Manipur. Although there are many dance forms from this region, the most prominent one is the Ras Leela. The theme of Ras Leela revolves around the romance of Lord Sri Krishna with the gopikas in Brindhavan.
Sattriya: Sattriya is a classical dance form originated in 15th century in the North Eastern State of India, Assam. The chief element of this dance is ‘Bhakti Rasa’ meaning devotional aspect. This dance form has become the integral part of culture of Assam.