India is a nation with a diverse and rich culture. Many traditional dances and artistic disciplines are practiced here. Indian classical dance styles are well-known throughout the world. Indian culture is largely influenced by dance and music. The distinctiveness of classical dances is a result of their varied facial expressions, gorgeous costumes, dramatic makeup, and rhythms of traditional music. However, where are the origins of Indian dance? The following list includes a few of India’s most significant classical dance genres. (Also read: Dancers mix Bharatanatyam and Hip Hop to create amazing dance routine.)
One of the most popular Indian classical dance styles is Kathak. It is said to have come from the wandering storytellers known as Kathakars in North India. It is Uttar Pradesh’s traditional dancing style. The three main styles of Kathak, or “gharanas,” are named after the places where the Kathak dance tradition originated: Jaipur, Banaras, and Lucknow. The early Kathak attire consisted of a ghaghra (long skirt), a choli (blouse), and a veil. It eventually made way for churidhar, pyjamas, angrakha, and a sari for ladies. Famous kathak performers include Birju Maharaj, Lachhu Maharaj, Gopi Krishna, Sitara Devi, and Damyanti Joshi.
The oldest form of traditional Indian dance is called Bharatanatyam. Tamil Nadu is thought to be where it first appeared. A well-rehearsed and carefully choreographed blend of facial expressions, hand gestures, dance steps, and eye movements is used in a Bharatanatyam performance. Carnatic music is mainly used for performance. Bharatanatyam costumes often come in two varieties. They are pajama-style and have a different skirt design. These two outfit designs are artistic and provide the dancer with comfort so they can do the actions that correspond to the “Tala sounds.” Heavy jewelery and makeup are ordinary for Bharatnatyam dancers. Some of the famous names in the dance field include Rukmini Devi, Padma Subrahmanyam, Alarmel Valli, Yamini Krishnamurthy and Mallika Sarabhai.
One of the main classical Indian dance genres is Kathakali. It has international renown. It is known to have its roots in Kerala. The male actor-dancers wear lavishly colorful make-up, costumes, and face masks, which set this kind of art apart from other “story plays.” The orchestra makes up the majority of the music. Kathakali performers typically dress in white and red tones, using bulky headgear and wearing dramatic makeup. Famous Kathakali performers include KP Namboothiri, Kalamandalam M. Gopalakrishnan, and KS Rajeevan.
Kuchipudi is a drama-based dance performance. Its roots are in the ancient Hindu Sanskrit text of Natya Shastra. It originates from the state of Andhra Pradesh. All roles in the dance drama are played by men. Usually it depicts the story of Lord Krishna and tradition of Vaishnavism. In Kuchipudi, a male character wears a dhoti while a female character wears a colorful sari that is stitched with a pleated cloth which opens like a fan while displaying beautiful footwork. Make-up is generally light complemented with traditional jewelery of the region which adorns the hair, nose, ear, arms and neck of the artist. Famous Kuchipudi artist idols Ragini Devi, Yamini Krishnamurti and Raja and Radha Reddy.
As suggested by the name, Manipuri dance originated in Manipur. It is typically done using themes from Ras Lila and Vaishnavism. Its origins can be found in “Natya Shastra,” just like other classical dance styles. The flute and drum are the main musical instruments used in the dance style. When compared to other Indian dances, it is more quiet. In sharp contrast to the other Indian traditional dances, the performer does not wear ghunghru. Male dancers typically wear a dhoti, a kurta, and a white turban, while female dancers typically don a long, stiff skirt with ornate embellishments in the shape of a barrel. Some of the well-known Manipuri dancers include Nirmala Mehta, Guru Bipin Sinha, and Yumlembam Gambhini Devi.
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