Music, dance, and folk performances are all pillars of Indian cultural heritage. Each of India’s historic provinces, from Tamil Nadu in the south to Uttar Pradesh in the north, cultivates a rich culture of dance and music, with various styles of classical dance passed down through the years. We can’t talk about India and its rich, diverse cultural legacy without mentioning Indian dance traditions. We had these ancient dance forms to our rescue even before television and the internet existed. They not only amused the crowds, but also communicated with them. In ancient times, Indian classical dance was used to impart numerous topics, values, and lessons to the people. It was similar to theatrical performances in other countries at the time. We are proud to have preserved the art of Indian classical dances to this day. From the four walls of temples and royal courts, the dance heritage of India has risen to international prominence. The traditional dance heritage of India is worth honoring as a cultural legacy for future generations. If you want to cherish and connect yourself to the roots of Indian cultures, then get ready to explore online classical dance classes in order to acquire dance ethos in an enriching way.
In this post, we will learn about five Indian classical dance forms of India that have been with us for centuries, as well as their beginnings and a few facts about them.
The Bharatnatyam dance form is the oldest of all the Indian classical dance genres. It was kept in temples and courts throughout South India, primarily in Tamil Nadu. It was formerly known as ‘Sadir Attam’ or ‘Dashiattam.’
The origins of this traditional dance can be traced back to the 2000-year-old Devdasi tradition in South Indian temples. Bharatanatyam is said to have been created by Lord Brahma and chronicled by Sage Bharata in the Sanskrit work Natya Shastra. Crisp geometrical motions, sculpturesque stances, and stylized expressions are hallmarks of this style, which is known for its rapid pace and vast vocabulary of expressive gestures. Bharata Natyam is known for its demi-plié stance, intricate rhythmic footwork, and sensitive facial expression. It’s a visual form of dance that’s powerful, earthy, and precise, with a particular linear quality. Bhava, Raga, and Thaala are the three main principles that make up the name ‘Bharatanatyam.’ The following is a general explanation of the name:
Bharatanatyam = BHAva (expression) + RAga (music) + TAla (rhythm) + NATYAM (dancing).
A Bharatanatyam performance is a colorful, vivid sight, with dancers dressed in traditional Tamil Hindu bridal garb, including a colorful sari and leather belts for hanging jewellery
Fact: There are 64 thoughts of synchronization of hand, leg, face, and body operation in the Bharatanatyam method, which are accomplished in a dance path.
This dance genre originated as a temple rite, but Persian and Mughal influences influenced it to become a royal court entertainment. The origins of this dancing genre can be traced back to the north. The name kathak is derived from the word “Katha,” which means “tale teller.” Storytellers used music and dancing to illuminate the story while also challenging the audience’s sensitivities. The Indian classical dance art of Kathak was first performed by Lord Krishna when he danced on the hood of Kaliya, according to ancient traditions (Naag). Kathak’s themes are based on the Ramayan, Mahabharat, and other Hindu epics. It’s also recognized for its footwork, which features ghungroos (little bells) that chime in time with the tabla’s background music.
Fact: The Dancers wear thick ghunghroos – 100/200/250 on one leg – that conceal a wide range of sounds such as a rushing train, heavy rains, the sound of horseback riding, and much more. This adds to the performance’s charm.
It began in the 7th century C.E. in the Indian state of Kerala. This art was first practiced by the Raja of Kottarakara. It is thought to be one among the oldest Indian classical dance traditions. It combines drama, dance, music, and ritual in a stunning way. Characters dressed in extravagant costumes and painted faces reenact scenes from the Hindu epics Mahabharata and Ramayana. Kathakali, which literally translates to “story play,” is a cutting-edge Indian sacred dance art.
Fact: Males execute the Kathakali dance, which was created in Hindu regions’ courts and theatres. Male dancers often take on the roles of female figures.
Kuchipudi is an Indian classical dance that originated in the Krishna area of Andhra Pradesh, India, in a small village of the same name. Early versions of this text, carved in copper and discovered in the region’s ancient temples, describe a type of Hindu religious dance and cultural performance that was carried throughout India centuries ago by the country’s beloved travelling bards. Kuchipudi incorporates the repertoire of ‘Nritta’, ‘Nritya’, and ‘Natya’, mirroring the framework of Bharatanatyam. Here, ‘Nritta’ is the quickest but also most technically demanding element of the dance, whereas ‘Nritya’ is more concerned with the story, with the dancers using their bodies to express the story. Meanwhile, the ‘Natya’ section of the Kuchipudi performance is usually performed as a group, with elements of dancing and movement bringing the dance to a lively climax.
Fact: It’s a traditional male paradise and the Brahmins perform it in temples.
Odissi is a type of Dance form that developed in Orissa. As a form of adoration and meditation, the sculptures in the temples of Brahmeswara, Sun Temple at Konark It was discovered outside the temple for the first time in the early sixteenth century. It is India’s earliest style of classical folk dancing, according to archaeological evidence. Odissi dancing’s theoretical underpinning is well documented in ancient Sanskrit texts, and its steps, shapes, and unique hand gestures are etched on the sculptures and murals of Hindu temples and shrines throughout Odisha. Dancers use ‘abhinaya’ expressions and ‘mudras’ gestures to convey meaning in Odissi routines, which are based on legendary stories, devotional lyrics, and spiritual messages from Hindu texts. Odissi is now practiced by a number of religious groups in the Odisha region, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.
Fact: Odissi focuses, and in fact, concentrates around spirituality and devotion, and has been passed down from teacher to disciple for thousands of years.
To conclude the whole discussion:
The most beautiful manner of expressing feelings and conveying thoughts is through Indian dances. Indian classical dance has a lovely flavour to it that perfectly encapsulates Indian culture and the kathas related with Hindu mythology. The various varieties of dances add to India’s diversity as well as its depth, which future generations will treasure.