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Dance Forms of India

Dance is a physical and visual art form which has an immediate and massive impact on the on-looker. The various Indian forms act like a window to India's rich culture. Dance is a form of art, where the body is used as a medium of communication. Indian dances have influenced several other realms of art like poetry, sculpture, architecture, literature, music and theatre. The earliest archaeological evidence is a beautiful statuette of a dancing girl dated around 6000 BC. Bharata's Natya Shastra (believed to have been penned between the 2nd century B.C. and 2nd century A.D) is the earliest available treatise on dramaturgy. All forms of Indian classical dances owe allegiance to Natya Shastra, regarded as the fifth Veda.

It is said that Brahma the Creator, developed Natya, taking literature from the Rig Veda, song from the Sama Veda, abhinaya or expression from the Yajur Veda and rasa or aesthetic experience from the Atharva Veda. It explains the intricacies of dance, emphasising on mudras or hand formations and their meanings, the kind of emotions and their categorisation, not to mention the kind of attire, the stage, the ornaments and even the audience. All the dance forms revolve around the nine rasas or emotions, Hasya (happiness), krodha (anger), bhibasta (disgust), bhaya (fear), shoka (sorrow), viram (courage), karuna (compassion), adbhuta (wonder) and shanta (serenity). All dance forms follow the same hand gestures or hasta mudras for each of these rasas. The dances differ where the local guru has adapted it to local demands and needs.

Classical Dance Forms of India: The genesis of contemporary styles of classical dance can be traced to the period between 1300-1400 A.D. India offers a number of classical dance forms where each dance form embodies the influences of the region from which it originates. The links given below provide information about indian dances still practised in India.

Bharatnatyam - Tamil Nadu
Kathak - Uttar Pradesh
Kathakali - Kerala
Kuchipudi- Andhra Pradesh
Manipuri - Manipur
Mohiniattam - Kerala
Odissi - Orissa

Folk Dance in India: Besides these, there are several semi-classical dances that contribute to the plethora of the Indian dances. India is particularly rich in the folk idiom with specialised dances for occasions like marriage, seasons, rites, celebrations, etc. Folk dances vary geographically. Some of them are the Chauu dance of Bihar, Garba of Gujarat, Bhangra of Punjab and Banjara of Andhra Pradesh.



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