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An Introduction to Indian Dance Forms
The cultural heritage of India is very rich. Each state of India is distinct and so is its cultural legacy. India can boast of being the one among who have a special form of dancing. The grace and charm of Indian Classical Dance is inexplicable. The performance of these dances will take you to another world. The two dominant dance forms here are Folk Dances and Classical Dances. Where folk dances are more inclined and identified with the locales, the classical dances are associated with the temple culture and performed more or less as if to please and pray God and Goddess.
The Aesthetic Classical Dances of India
The essence of these Classical Dances is aesthetic and spiritual. The cosmic element of these dances is affiliated with dance of life, myths, symbolism, mystic responses and philosophical explanations. The skillful dance performances are exceptionally remarkable. The distinct flavor of the dances is credited to the graceful body movements – which include eyes, neck, hands, – expressions both facial and eye, postures, jewelery, costumes.
In the history of Classical Dances dating back to about 2000 years, six main classical dances have evolved. Bharata’s Natyashastra (Natya means Drama and Shastra means authoritative text) is considered to be the most important resource of describing guidelines and attributes of Indian Drama. The treatise offers two aspects of dance Nritta,the pure dance, and Nritya, the interpretative dance. Another bible of Indian dance is ‘Abhinaya Darpanam’ which gives the fundamental principles for every technique.
The Sangeet Natak Academy has bestowed the status of classical Dance on eight prominent dance forms:
1. Bharatnatyam of Tamil Nadu
2. Odissi of Orissa
3. Kuchipudi of Andhra Pradesh
4. Manipuri of Manipur
5. Mohiniattam of Kerala
6. Kathakali of Kerala
7. Kathak of North India
8. Sattriya of Assam
Out of these Bharatnatyam and Odissi religiously follow the principles laid down in Natya Shastra. A very important feature of the classical dances is use of mudras or hand gestures (sign language) used to tell a phenomena or concepts. The regional exclusivity and ethnic elements of the dances make them all the more charming.
The Charismatic Folk Dances of India
Folk dances of India are the backbone of the cultural aura. The variety and diversity of the cultural legacy is also dominant in the folk dances. The fascinating folk dances mark almost every occasion. A child birth, a festival, a wedding, any event does not go without these dance performances. Since a child’s birth s/he is circumcised in the folk music. The folk dances are accompanied with various musical instruments. The folk dancers don vibrant costumes, elegant hair dos and ethnic jewelery and dance very rhythmically and gleefully to mark the occasion. The Folk dances of India are categorized into various regions like
– Central India
– North Eastern
– South western
Some of the famous folk dances of India are:
– Bhangra, Gidda of Punjab
– Ghoomar, Kalbelia of Rajasthan
– Dandiya, Garba of Gujarat
– Lavani of Maharashtra
– Bihu of Assam
– Chhau of Jharkhand
– Jawara of Madhya Pradesh
– Karma, Jatra and Paika of Bihar
– Brita of West Bengal
– Dalkhai, Goti Puas of Orisa
– Dhumal of Jammu and Kashmir
– Hikat of Himachal Pradesh
One has come and experience for himself what the dance performances in India actually are. The status they enjoy is well deserved.
write by Abner