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07 Aug 2020

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Classical Dances of India
Important India GK Topics, India GK

Classical Dances of India 

Classical Dances of India :  Classical dances of India are known for their beauty, grace, expressions and feelings. These dance forms are quite popular and famous all over the world. The Indian classical dances are in practice since ancient times; they are mostly originated in temples of India, so they are mostly based on religious themes and preformed in a sacred way.  The main Classical dances of India are described below: Indian Classical Dances 1. Bharatanatyam Bharatanatyam is considered the oldest classical dance form of India. It is one of the most popular classical dances of India. It is believed that most of the other Indian classical dances are originated from bharatanatyam. This dance form originated in the hindu temples of the state of Tamil Nadu in India and gradually spread in other regions of the South India. The dancers performing bharatanatyam mostly wear charismatic makeup, brightly coloured sari and glowing ornaments.  Some of the famous bharatanatyam dancers are as follows:
  • Yamini Krishnamurti
  • Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai
  • Saroja Vaidyanathan  
  • Rukhmini Devi
  • Janaki Radharaman
  2. Kathak Kathak is one of the most charming classical dance forms of India. It is known for its spectacular footwork and spins. Its name is derived from word “katha” which means “story” in english. It is believed that kathak is originated in North India; the travelling bards of North India called Kathakars ( storytellers in english) used to wander around to communicate legendary stories of Ramayan, Mahabharat and Lord Krishna through music, dance and songs. Kathak mainly comprises rhythmic foot movements, hand gestures, facial expressions and eye work. The costumes used in Kathak include a sari and choli (blouse), long embroidered skirt with choli, jewellery, ghunghru (musical anklet) etc. The themes of kathak mostly include stories of Ramayan, Mahabharat and Lord Krishna. Some of the famous kathak artists: Some of the famous bharatanatyam dancers are as follows:
  • Sitara Devi
  • Birju Maharaj
  • Gopi Krishna
  • Uma Sharma
  3. Kathakali Kathakali is one of the dazzling classical dance forms of India. It is basically a dance drama from the Kerala in South India. The movements in this classical dance form are influenced by ancient martial arts and athletic tradition. Instead of temples, it is developed in the courts and theaters of Hindu regions. Kathakali is known for its huge elaborate costumes, amazing make-up style, brightly painted faces of the dancers etc. The term Kathakali comprises two words: katha (story or tale) and kali (performance or art). The themes of kathakali include Hindu epics such as Bhagavata Purans, Mahabharat and Ramayan. It communicate the stories from these themes to audience through excellent footwork, impressive face gestures and eye-work and movement of hands. Some of the famous Indian Kathakali Artists/Dancers are:
  • Kalamandalam Gopi
  • Kottakkal Sivaraman
  • Kalamandalam Krishna Prasad
  • Guru Krishna Kitty
  4. Kuchipudi Kuchipudi is one of the famous Indian classical dance forms that closely resembles the Bharatanatyam. It is a dance-drama style originated in a village of Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh, India. Its name is derived from the village Kuchelapuram. Tha male kuchipudi dancers wear a dhoti, whereas the female kuchipudi dancers wear colourful sari. The make-up is generally light and is completed by traditional jewellary, metallic waist belt, and ghunghru ( leather belt with small metallic balls). The themes of this dance form are related to Lord Krishna, Rukhmini, Satyabhama, Vaishnavism etc. One of the specialities of kuchipudi is Tarangam that requires the dancer to perform on a brass plate and balance some pot on the head, sometimes. The make-up of the dancer is similar to Bharatanatyam. Some of the famous kuchipudi dancers are:
  • Raja-Radha Reddy
  • Yamini Reddy
  • Uma Rama Rao
  • Bhavana Reddy
  • Vaijayanti Kashi etc.
  5. Mohiniattam Mohiniattam is one of the graceful dance forms of India. It is evolved in the state of Kerala, India. It is a lasya inspired dance form that comprises soft, calm and gentle movements and thus showcases a more graceful, gentle and feminine form of dancing. This dance form emotes a play through dancing and singing. Ita name is derived from the word mohini which is a female avatar of Lord Vishnu. The female dancer wears a white or off-white plain sari with embroidry in its borders and a matching choli and blouse. The costume is complemented with golden belt around the waist, jewellery and ghunghru (musical anklet). Make-up is light, feet and fingers are coloured with red coloured natural dye. The dancer is distinguished by prominent one-sided hairstyle called bun or kuduma. Some of the famous Indian Mohiniattam dancers are:
  • Sunanda Nair
  • Jayaprabha Menon
  • Pallavi Krishnan
  • Gopika Verma
  • Radha Dutta
  6. Mainpuri Mainpuri is one of the major classical dance forms of India. Its name is derived from its place of origin – Manipur. It involves graceful movements of hands and upper body. It is a dance-drama style of classical dance form based on the religious themes that include Vaishnavism, Rash Lila ( love between Raddha and Lord Krishna), Shaktism, Shaivism and regional dities. The costumes are very unique in this dance form. The male dancer wears a dhoti and a crown with peacock feathers on his head. Whereas, the female dancer wears kumil (barrel-shaped long skirt) and velvet blouse. The ghunghru, which is a characteristic feature of Indian classical dance forms, are not worn in Manipuri classical dance form. Some of the famous Manipuri dancers are:
  • Guru Bipin Singh
  • Darshan Jhaveri
  • Nirmala Mehta
  • Yumlemban Gambhini Devi
  7. Odissi Odissi is one of the graceful and mesmerizing classical dance forms of India. It is believed to be the oldest classical dance form that dates back to pre-christian era. Odissi is originated in the temples of the state of Odisha, India. It comprises body movements, facial expressions, moves and gestures. Its characteristic feature is bhang (breaking) of human body, i.e. deflection of head, torso and the hips. Odissi is based on mythological, religious instances and devotional poems or hymns mentioned in the sacred hindu texts. The female dancer wears a brightly coloured saree, e.g. bomkai saree, sambalpuri saree. The saree is complemented with silver jewellery and hair are decorated with moon crest or white flowers. Ghunghru (metallic bells) are also used and feet and palms are brightened with red-coloured dye. The male dancer wears a dhoti, neatly pleated in the front. Some of the famous Odissi dancers are:
  • Aadya Kaktikar
  • Aditi Bandyopadhyay
  • Anita Babu
  • Aruna Mohanty

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