Most Popular Classical Dance in India

Classical Dance In India

India a culturally significant country with various tradition mainly Hinduism that is very diverse in nature. In India classical Dance is a form of expression that relates to mythical religious characters and story telling. There are eight form of classical dance in India that is originated from different sates of India. Classical Dance of India got recognition around the world for its uniqueness and visual.

So here is the list of most popular classical dance in India.

1. Bharatanatyam

By Arian Zwegers – Thanjavur, Brihadishwara Temple, dance, CC BY 2.0,

Bharatanatyam is a major sort of Indian classical dance that originated within the state of Tamil Nadu. Bharatanatyam’s theoretical foundations trace to the traditional Sanskrit text by Bharata Muni, Natya Shastra, its existence by second century ce is noted within the ancient Tamil epic Silappatikaram, whereas temple sculptures of sixth to ninth century ce counsel it absolutely was a well refined performance art by the middle first millennium ce. Bharatanatyam is also the oldest classical dance tradition of India.

Bharatanatyam style is noted for its fixed upper torso, legs bent or knees flexed out combined with spectacular footwork, a complicated vocabulary of linguistic communication supported gestures of hands, eyes and face muscles. The dance is in the course of music and a singer, and usually her guru is gift because the director and conductor of the performance and art. The dance has historically been a kind of an instructive narration of legendary legends and non secular concepts from the Hindu texts. The performance repertoire of Bharatanatyam, like alternative classical dances, includes nrita , nritya and natya .

Bharatanatyam remained exclusive to Hindu temples through the nineteenth century. it had been illegal by the colonial British government in 1910, however the Indian community protested against the ban and distended it outside the temples within the twentieth century.


By Jean-Pierre Dalbéra from Paris, France – Danse Kathak (musée Guimet, Paris), CC BY 2.0, Link

Kathak is that the Indian name for one amongst the eight major types of classical dance in India. The term Kathak is rooted within the Vedic term Katha which suggests “story, speech, ancient tale”. Kathak refers to at least one of the main classical dance kind primarily found in northern India, with a historical influence kind of like Bharatanatyam in south India, Odissi in east india and different major classical dances found in South Asia. It differs from the many folk dance forms found in north and different parts of the India.

Kathak dancers tell varied stories through their hand movements and footwork, however most significantly through their facial expressions. Kathak evolved throughout the devotion movement, notably by incorporating the childhood and stories of the Hindu god Krishna, furthermore as severally within the courts of north Indian kingdoms.

According to some historian, the Kathak tradition of India is traceable to earliest 400 BCE. The earliest extant text with Kathak roots is that the Natya Shastra, attributed to sage Bharata, and its 1st complete compilation is dated to between two hundred BCE and 200 ce, however estimates vary between 500 BCE and 500 ce.

3. Odissi

Photograph taken for Dipanwita Roy’s portfolio
Dipanwita Roy at Konark Sun Temple, Orissa

Odissi is a major ancient Indian classical dance that originated within the Hindu temples of Odisha an eastern coastal state of India. Odissi, in its history, was performed preponderantly by ladies, and expressed spiritual stories and spiritual concepts, notably of Vaishnavism .

The theoretical foundations of Odissi trace to the traditional Sanskritic language text Natya Shastra, its existence in antiquity proved by the dance poses within the sculptures of Odissi Hindu temples, and anthropology sites associated with Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The Odissi dance tradition declined throughout the Islamic rule era, and was suppressed underneath British Rule. The suppression was protested by the Indians, followed by its revival, reconstruction and growth since India gained independence from the colonial rule.

Traditional Odissi exists in 2 major designs, the primary formed by ladies and focussed on solemn, religious temple dance the second formed by boys dressed as women that distributed to incorporate athletic and gymnastic moves, and were performed from festive occasions in temples to general folksy recreation.

4. Kuchipudi

By Erik Wilde from Berkeley, CA, USA – indian dancers, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Kuchipudi is one among the eight major classical dances in India. It originated in a very village named Kuchipudi within the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.Kuchipudi is a dance-drama performance, with its roots within the ancient Hindu Sanskrit text of Natya Shastra. It developed as a spiritual art connected to traveling bards, temples and religious beliefs, like all major classical dances of Republic of India.

Evidence of Kuchipudi’s existence in an older version are found in copper inscriptions of the tenth century, and by the fifteenth century in texts like the Machupalli Kaifat. Kuchipudi tradition holds that Tirtha Narayana Yati – a sanyassin of Advaita Hindooism persuasion, and his adherent, an orphan named Siddhendra Yogi, supported and systematised the trendy version of Kuchipudi within the seventeenth century.

Kuchipudi mostly developed as a Hindu god Krishna-oriented Vaishnavism tradition, and it’s most closely associated with Bhagavata Mela performance art found in state. The traditional Kuchipudi was performed by all males’ company. A dancer in a very male role would be in Angivastra, conjointly called Bagalbandi, wear a dhoti . A dancer in a very feminine role would wear a saree with light-weight makeup.

5. Kathakali

By Jogesh S from Bangalore, India – Kathakali, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Kathakali is of the main sorts of classical dance in India. it’s a “story play” genre of art, however one distinguished by the in an elaborate way colourful make-up, costumes and facemasks that the traditionally male actor-dancers wear. Kathakali is a Hindu performance art in kerala.

Kathakali’s roots are unclear. The totally developed kind of Kathakali originated round the seventeenth century, however its roots are within the temple and folks arts , that are traceable to a minimum of the first millennium ce. A Kathakali performance, like all classical dance arts of India, synthesizes music, vocal performers, choreography and hand and facial gestures along to precise concepts.

However, Kathakali differs therein it additionally incorporates movements from ancient Indian martial arts and athletic traditions of South India. Kathakali additionally differs therein the structure and details of its kind developed within the courts and theatres of Hindu principalities, not like alternative classical Indian dances that primarily developed in Hindu temples and monastic colleges.

6. Manipuri Dance

Manupuri Dance
By Matsukin – DSC00472, CC BY 2.0,

Manipuri dance, also called as Jagoi, is one among the main Indian classical dance forms, named when the region of its origin – Manipur, a state in northeastern India bordering with Myanmar (Burma), Assam, Nagaland and Mizoram. it’s significantly glorious for its Hindu Vaishnavism themes, and exquisite performances of love-inspired dance drama of Radha-Krishna known as Raslila. However, the dance is additionally performed to themes associated with Shaivism, Shaktism and regional deities like Umang Lai throughout Lai Haraoba.

The roots of Manipuri dance, like all classical Indian dances, is that the ancient Hindu Sanskrit text Natya Shastra, with influences and therefore the culture fusion between numerous native people dance forms. in keeping with the normal legend, the autochthonal individuals of the province vale were the dance-experts revered as Gandharvas within the Hindu epics (Ramayana and Mahabharata), suggesting a dance tradition has existed in province since antiquity.

Manipuri dance is a spiritual art and its aim is that the expression of spiritual values. Aspects of this performance art is well known throughout Hindu festivals and major rites of passage like weddings among the Manipuri individuals, significantly within the ethnic majority of Meitei individuals.

7. Mohiniyattam 

By Shagil Kannur – Own work, CC BY 4.0,

Mohiniyattam is one among the eight classical dances of India that developed and remained in style within the state of Kerala. the opposite classical dance type from Kerala is Kathakali. Mohiniyattam dance gets its name from the word Mohini – a legendary enchantress avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu, World Health Organization helps the great prevail over evil by developing her female powers.

Mohiniyattam’s roots, like all classical Indian dances, are within the Natya Shastra  the traditional Hindu Sanskrit text on performance arts. However, it follows the Lasya vogue delineated in Natya Shastra, that’s a dance that is delicate, eros-filled and female. it’s historically a solo dance performed by ladies once intensive coaching. The repertoire of Mohiniyattam includes music within the Carnatic style, singing and acting a play through the dance, wherever the recitation could also be either by a separate singer or the dancer herself.

8. Sattriya

By Subhrajit at Assamese Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Sattriya is one among the eight classical dances of India that developed and remained in style inside the state of Assam. it’s a dance-drama performance art with origins within the Krishna-centered Vaishnavism monasteries of province, and attributed to the fifteenth century devotion movement scholar and saint Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardev.

One-act plays of Sattriya are referred to as Ankiya Nat, that mix the aesthetic and also the spiritual through a ballad, dance and drama. The plays are sometimes performed within the dance community halls of religious residence temple. The themes contend relate to Krishna and Radha, typically different Vishnu avatars like Rama and mythical being.

In 2000 Sattriya is recognized as a classical dance by Sangeet Natak Akademi of India, modern Sattriya explores several themes and plays, and its performances staged worldwide

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button