(Last Updated on : 20/11/2010)
"The truest expression of a people is in its dance and in its music. Bodies never lie."
-Agnes de Mille
With their sheer intricacies the different types of Indian dances bring out the innermost feelings and emotion whilst depicting the cultural aspects of the age-old civilization of India. Based on the style, dash, intricacies and ‚lan, Indian dance can be broadly classified into four types like, Classical Indian dance, Indian Folk dance, Tribal dance and the fusion dance.
Indian Classical Dances
Indian Classical dance is also known as the traditional Indian dance which has abundant forms and takes human figure as its basic medium of expressions. Dance performed inside the temple chamber, imperial courts along with music are classified as classical dance. The foundation of the conventions and methodical movements and types of this dance lies in an ancient book of dance, music and drama called Natyashastra
. The major Indian classical dances are Bharatnatyam
, Manipuri, Odissi
and Sattriya. The Indian classical dance style is unique in terms of movement, grace, style and ‚lan.
Bharatnatyam is one of the oldest forms of classical dance which has its origination in Tamil Nadu
. It is inspired from the sculptures of the ancient temple of Chidambaram. Bharatnatyam is considered to be a fire-dance - the mystic manifestation of the metaphysical element of fire in the human body. It is a solo dance with two aspects, the graceful feminine movements and also the masculine motion.
Kathakali originated in Kerala
. It is a classical Indian dance-drama known for its attractive make-up of characters, detailed costumes, gestures and well-defined body movements. It is considered to be a combination of dance, music, playing of instruments and drama.
Kathak is a dance form which has its origins in Northern India. It has the influences of Bhakti movement, Persian dance and Central Asian Dance. It has three main schools from which dancers depict their roots are that of Jaipur
and less prominent one is Raigarh.
Kuchipudi is a dance form of Andhra Pradesh
. It has derived its name from a village in Krishna District where the Brahmins used to practice this art. It has bright and quick movements. One of the major attractions is where the dancer has to dance on the brass plate with two diyas in her hand while balancing a small vessel containing water on her head.
Mohiniattam, also known as dance of enchantress, is a major art form in Kerala performed only by women. It has its influences from Bharatnatyam and Kathakali. It is basically a drama in dance and poetry.
Manipuri dance as the name suggests is the foremost dance form of Manipur
. Its main theme is raslila
. The conventional Manipuri dance style symbolises delicate, poetic and poised movements. Its facial and bodily movements are restrained.
Odissi has its origination in Orissa
and is considered one of the oldest dance forms in India as per the sculptural evidences. Odissi was initially performed in the temples as a religious offering by the `Maharis` who dedicated their lives in the services of God. Tribhanga, the three body bend of head, chest and pelvis gives this dance form a distinctive identity.
Sattriya is a striking dance of Assam
. This was a way of disseminating to people about mythological stories in a simple manner. Sattriya Nritya emerged from the sanctum of Assam`s sattras.
Indian Folk Dance
Indian Folk dances
have originated with a view to be a creation of different socio-economic set up and traditions. Indian folk as well as tribal dances are simple and performed to express joy and performed to celebrate a season, festivals and so on. Its simplicity is shown by its less movement and uncomplicated steps. These types of dances can be categorised into two major categories: folk and tribal dances. There are cultural differences between the two forms; the folk dances are the rural extensions of the larger Indian population for example Bhangra of Punjab
and Garba of Gujarat
. However, the tribal dances are dances by adivasis, which have a very different culture from the larger Indian population.
Many folk dances are devoted to the presiding God of the specific community. The most appealing element of a folk dance is the requisite outfit for its performance. In Indian Folk Dances the accessories play a vital role, these costumes provide a separate identity to the folk dance. Many a time, folk dances are termed as per the name of the accessory used.
Fusion Dance in India
In the recent era a new dance trend has developed in India. The modern forms of dances are the fusion of the various traditional dance forms. Sometimes, dances are composed in artistic forms with old songs and sometimes remixed music for choreographed dance. Salsa and ballet troupes are eventually becoming popular trends in the domain of dance. These days film dance has also carved a niche for itself in the domain of dance in modern India. This is a mixture of classical and folk dance, which has given birth to a semi-classical form. Film dances are a vital element in most Indian films for entertaining the audience.
With a prolific tradition Indian dance takes human figure as its basic mechanism of expression. Indian dance amidst its expression and poise therefore reflects the deep philosophy and the religious mood of India to a great extent. The lure for Indian dance over the globe indicates the deep-felt need to utilize the human body to communicate and revere the worldwide truths. The finest preface to India`s rich culture and civilization is its expression of dance.