(Last Updated on : 14-11-2018)
Types of Indian Dances reflect the rich ethos of the subcontinent. 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. Like all other aspects of life, the dance forms of India are also varied and different. There are many types of dance forms in India, from those which are deeply religious in content to those which are performed on small occasions.
Classification of Types of Indian Dances
Based on the style, dash, intricacies and elan, 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
. The Indian classical dance style is unique in terms of movement, grace, style and elan. The major Indian classical dances are as follows:
: Bharatnatyam is one of the oldest forms of classical dance which has its origin in Tamil Nadu
. It is inspired from the sculptures of the ancient temple of Chidambaram
. Bharatnatyam is considered to be a 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
: Kathak is a dance form which has its origin in Northern India
. It has the influences of Bhakti movement
, Persian dance and Central Asian Dance. This dance form traces its origins to the nomadic bards of ancient northern India, known as Kathaks, or storytellers.
: 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.
: Mohiniyattam, 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 Odisha
and is considered to be 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
: 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 Dances
: Indian Folk dances have originated with a view to be a creation of different socio-economic set up and traditions. Indian folk dances are simple and performed to express joy and performed to celebrate a season
and so on. 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.
Indian Tribal Dances
: Tribal dances are dances by adivasis, which have a very different culture
from the larger Indian population. The most important aspect of tribal culture
is music and dance. Dance and music are primarily meant to propitiate Gods and Goddesses
. In social functions, tribal dance is performed in a central place of the village. Each tribe has its own pattern of dance and music.
Indian Fusion Dance
: 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.