The arts of dance and music are
of great importance to the culture of India. Both arts are
extremely old and have close links not only with each other but
also with religion,
literature, and drama
| Classical Indian dances are among the most graceful
and beautiful in the world. They all make use of a complicated,
visual language, consisting of hand gestures, body movements,
and postures. Movements of the eyes and hands, arms and legs,
chest, waist, hip, knee, and foot, either alone or in combination
with each other, all make up this complicated language. Indian
dance uses a set of emotions or feelings known as rasas. The
job of the artist is to take in emotions, such as amazement,
anger, hatred, humour, or love, and communicate them to the
audience. The creation of a piece of art, including dance or
musical composition, comes out of a deep sense of feeling at
one with the universe. This deep sense of inner harmony combined
with discipline of the mind and body makes dance similar to
There are five major styles of classical dance
in India: (1) Bharata Natyam, (2) Kathak,
(3) Kathakali, (4) Manipuri, and (5) Orissi. Each of these styles
developed in a specific region of India. They differ in their
languages of gesture. But they are all founded on the principles
of Rasa and they all draw upon stories and poems that tell about
the lives of the Hindu gods. These include gods such as Shiva,
(the god of the dance), Krishna, and many more.
| Bharata Natyam
One of the oldest classical dance form of south India performed
by Dasi Attam of Devadasis as temple dancers for centuries.
Being `Lasya' in character and solo by performance, the dancer
assumes many characters and roles in the theme portrayed. Accompanied
by the beats of the `Mridangam' (Long drum), the dancer dances
with the beats of the 'Tal' and lyrical voice of the singer.
Originally known as `Ramkatham' Kathakali is unique to Kerala.
Topic invariably taken from the epics, the artist performs with
elaborate hand languages and intricate expressions of eyes with
the colourful dress including the head gears, dance to the beats
of the drum under open sky in twilight hours or in dim light
& takes the audience to rove in the world of Gods and Goddess.
Songs set into appropriate `Ragas' generate the desired mood.
A dance of synthesis of Hindu, and Muslim, influence. The dance
is both 'Lasya' and 'Tandav' in form and therefore, one finds
both men and women as Kathak dancers. Speed and foot work are
the characterstics of the dance. The dancer with the lighting
foot work echoing the ankle bells matchingly answers to the
beats of the tabla. Stamping out the intricate patterns in precision
time measures the dancer elevates the audience to their ecstatic
Originated in Assam Hills, it is a `Lasya' form of lyrical dance
supple and delicate in nature. The foundation of the dance is
on medieval sculptures of India; each movement emphasized in
curves and circles. Delicately woven colourful costumes add
glamour and taste to this most often romantic dance style
It is a dance drama of 17thCentury generally performed by the
Brahmin boys of Andhra Pradesh Village it takes the name form.
The story centers round the jealous wife of Krishna and performed
in open air at night.
Claimed to be the oldest classical dance form and a direct descendent
of Natya Sastra. It is said many of Shastra's 108 dance units
can be seen in Odissi dance.Originally a temple art performed
by Devadasis in the honour of the Lord.
Other styles, apart from the five
major classical dance styles, are performed in other regions of
India. They include the Yakshagana of Mysore, in southwestern India,
the Kuchipudi of Andhra Pradesh, and the Chham of eastern India.
A great variety of folk dances exists throughout India. Unlike the
classical forms, these dances are not tied down by rules but are
more flexible and spontaneous. Most of them are connected with religious
or seasonal festivals. In many of these dances, the performers use
sticks or even swords. Examples of folk dance styles include bhangra,
a harvest dance from the Punjab, and kolatam, a circular stick dance
performed by women in Tamil Nadu.
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