India has always cherished its age old connect with the art of dance. The country’s fondness towards the graceful dance forms is a part of Indian culture. Like other cultural attractions, dance is also varied discipline in the country. Different regions have different regional dance forms. With its many forms, the cultural dance performances have been seen as modes of worship, devotion and a joyous celebration of life. Based on 4th century ancient treatise, Natyashastra, these dance forms originated as a form of worship in the temples. Basically, these forms present a wide range of hand gestures, facial expressions and body postures in a lyrical way to project or narrate mythological stories.
As a means of entertainment, these dance forms acquired a more secular character and received a royal patronage. This development proved favourable for growth and popularity of dance forms to the public at large. Presently, the cultural heritage of dance performances in India is present in different cities of the country where many cultural dance forms are staged and presented to the people as well as tourists.
Currently, the dance of India can be divided into two parts – Classical and Folk. Classical dance is based on well-defined traditional disciplines and includes the following:
Bharata Natyam from Tamil Nadu has elegant eye and hand movements called as mudras. The performer’s chiseled stance and posture too elaborate the dance presentation.
Kathakali from Kerala is a spectacular dance drama narrating the mythological stories through detailed gestures, elaborate make up & costumes along with well defined body movements. This is an immensely popular attraction of Kerala tour. In fact, every evening, the dance drama is staged in Cultural Center, Kochi to keep its traditions alive.
Kathak from Uttar Pradesh was a favourite dance at the royal courts of North India in the past. It was also a popular art form with the Mughals. Still it is followed by many classical dancers with the same zeal and dedication.
Manipuri, which has a delicate, lyrical flavour, hails from Manipur. The dancers performing this dance form enact the legend of Radha and Krishna. Kuchipudi from Andhra Pradesh is a 17th-century dance-drama that centres on the envious wife of Lord Krishna.
Odissi, claimed to be India’s oldest classical dance form, was originally a temple art, and was later also performed at royal courts.
In addition to the formal arts of dance, Indian regions have a strong free form, folksy dance tradition. These high spirited dance forms feature Bhangra of Punjab; Bihu of Assam; the Zeliang of Nagaland; the Chhau of Jharkhand; the Qauwwalis, Birhas and Charkulas of Uttar Pradesh; Ghoomar of Rajasthan; Dandiya and Garba of Gujarat; the Yakshagana of Karnataka ; Lavani of Maharashtra; Dekhnni of Goa; Karakattam, Oyilattam, and Mayilattam of Tamil Nadu.
The dances of India present a rich, varied, vibrant and exotic side of the country to the tourists. Deeply etched in the past, these art forms present the rich and continuing legacy of dance disciplines in the most authentic way. Want a dance performance tour, go for India and experience the India culture in the most vibrant form.