(Last Updated on : 19/12/2012)
North Indian Dances represent a prosperous multiplicity. North India was the centre of ancient kingdoms, such as, Maurya Empire
, Gupta Empire
, Mughal dynasty
and British Indian Empires which introduced diverse culture to the region. The northern part of the country was, thus, influenced by both Hindu and Muslim customs. The states Jammu & Kashmir
, Himachal Pradesh
, Uttar Pradesh
mirror an amalgamation of these two religious cultures. Consequently, the music and North Indian Dances reflect the miscellany of different traditions and customs too.
Among all the dances of northern India, Kathak
is a celebrated as a classical dance form which originated with the nomadic bards of ancient northern India. Kathak or storytellers performed in village squares and temple courtyards whilst reciting mythological tales from the scriptures. Their recitals were further associated with hand gestures and facial expressions. Kathak had a long journey through the ages. In the Bhakti
era, Kathak narrated the stories from the life of Radha
and Lord Krishna
. However, with the arrival of the Mughal emperors, Kathak underwent certain changes in North India. It began to acquire exclusive contour and features. Dancers from Persia also influenced Kathak a lot. The costume also changed reflecting Muslim influence. Though this classical dance form of northern India witnessed a sharp decline during the British Rule
yet it gained back its grand position once again after the independence. At present Kathak is among the Indian Classical dances
which are presented with the synthesis of the past. Besides the classical dance form, north India offers diverse folk and classical forms.
The assortment of folk and tribal dances of North India is exquisite as they include narrative forms as well as mythological elements. Among the North Indian Dances, there are a wide variety of folk dances performed for every occasion. Many of the dances are ritualistic in nature and are performed during harvesting seasons also. Bhangra of Punjab is one such dance that is danced during the harvest season. However, Bhangra
has at present become the part and parcel of the Punjabis and is performed in occasion of weddings and other traditional festivals. Other dances to mark the cultivation and harvest season are Hurka Baul which is performed during paddy and maize cultivation in Uttar Pradesh and Dhamyal of Haryana. Apart from the harvest dances, various colourful tribal and folk dances have also originated.
Other, folk dances of the northern India include Dumhal dance performed by the men folk of the Wattal tribe of Kashmir, Nati dance of Himachal Pradesh, Namagen of Himachal Pradesh. These dances have gained popularity and other dances which include Jhumeila and the Chaunfla of Garhwal. North Indian Dances introduce the people to the mystical diversity of the dances such as Jhoomer, Luddi and Jalli, 'Dhamyal' or 'Duph'. Each dance form is unique in its own stand and they become ornate with the costumes of the dancers. The full attire and ornaments of Kathak dance and the apparel of the folk and tribal dances highlight the indispensable segment of the people of North India.