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India is said to be the nerve centre of many classical music forms, dance forms and other art styles. Indian classical dances are always the major source of attraction in most of the international events and as a result, it also holds huge number of followers. Most of our traditional dance forms are associated with the gods and goddesses of Hindu culture. Even though, all these dance forms uses the same style of interpretation, mudras or hand gestures, they are entirely different with respect to their origin, theme and presentation.

There are 8 main Indian classical dance forms and are explained below:

  • Bharatanatyam: Bharatanatyam is considered as one of the ancient classical dance forms originated from the temples of Tamil Nadu. Bharatanatyam is famous for its charm, expressions, postures etc. and it is said to be a mixture of certain elements like Natya, Tala, Raga and Bhava.Bharatanatyam

Kathak: Kathak dance is very similar to Bharatanatyam and it is originated from Uttar Pradesh. The word Kathak is said to be derived from the word Katha, which means ‘storytelling’. The dance form is associated with the ancient Kathakars, a group of people who used to narrate religious stories and tales along with music and dance.

Kathakali: Kathakali exactly means ‘Story-Play’. It is originated from Kerala and is the icon of the state. Kathakali dance presents the incidents from Ramayana, Mahabharata and other Hindu epics in a very colourful way. Kathakali is famous for its costumes, makeup and actions since they are entirely different from all the other forms of Indian classical dances.

Kuchipudi: It is another important Indian classical dance form originated from the Kuchipudi village of Andhra Pradesh. Kuchipudi is famous for its movements and is performed with the support of violin, flute and tambura instruments. The major attraction of Kuchipudi is that, each performer performs a small act of both song and dance called dharavu in order to introduce themselves. This helps the audience to understand the character and creates the mood.

Kuchipudi Dance

Kuchipudi Dance 

  • Odissi: The Odissi dance form is originated from the state of Orissa and is one of the most admired dance forms of India. Odissi dance also has a connection with the devadasi tradition like most of the south Indian dance forms. With regard to the archaeological survey, it is said to be the earliest surviving dance forms of India. Odissi is famous for the mudras or hand gestures and the odissi music used in it.
  • Sattriya: Sattriya dance form is based on mythological stories. It is originated from the state of Assam and was added to the list of most important classical dance forms in 2000. Sattriya dance is very famous in many foreign countries and are often performed in many stage shows.
  • Mohiniyattam: Mohiniyattam is another classical dance form of Kerala that combines appealing body movements, footwork and postures. Like most of the other south Indian dances, it is also based on the devadasi system and is believed to be performed in many temples years before.
  • Manipuri: Manipuri dance is based on the theme ‘Ras Leela’ related to Lord Krishna and Radha. It is one of very ancient forms of Indian classical dance that originated from the Manipur. This dance form is completely religious and purely related to the Hindu culture. Manipuri dance is famous for its style, feet movements and the music.