India has a very rich tradition of classical dance. Each form has its own specialty & grace, along with a set pattern of costumes & make-up. Today the acknowledged classical styles are:
Bharatanatyam is a classic dance form originating in Tamil Nadu, a state in South India and is the known as the Indian National Dance. This dance form is a 20th century reconstruction of Cathir, the art of temple dancers. Cathir in turn, is derived from ancient dance forms. Bharatanatyam is usually accompanied by the classical Carnatic music. Bharatanatyam is considered to be a fire-dance — the mystic manifestation of the metaphysical element of fire in the human body. The movements of an authentic Bharatanatyam dancer resemble the movements of a dancing flame
Kathak, originated from northern India. This dance form traces its origins to the the nomadic bards of ancient northern India, known as Kathaks, or story tellers. These bards, performing in village squares and temple courtyards, mostly specialized in recounting mythological and moral tales from the scriptures, and embellished their recitals with hand gestures and facial expressions. It was quintessential theatre, using instrumental and vocal music along with stylized gestures, to enliven the stories.
Kathakali is a highly stylised classical Indian dance-drama noted for its attractive make-up of characters, their elaborate costumes, detailed gestures and well-defined body movements presented in tune with the anchor playback music and complementary percussion. It originated in the country’s southern state of Kerala during the 16th century AD, approximately between 1555 and 1605, and has been updated over the years with improved looks, refined gestures and added themes besides more ornate singing and precise drumming.
Kuchipudi (pronounced as ‘Koochipoodi’) is a Classical Indian dance form from Andhra Pradesh, a state of South India. The movements in Kuchipudi are quicksilver and scintillating, rounded and fleet-footed .Specifically there is the Tarangam of Kuchipudi which is unique in that the dancer must dance upon a brass plate, placing the feet upon the raised edges. The dancer moves the plate with much balance as the indiviudal is traditionally dancing on the plate with two diyas (small oil-burning candles) in his or her hands while balncing a “kundi” (small vessel) containing water on their head. At the end of the dance, typically, the dancer extinguishes the candles and washes his or her hands with the water from the vessel.
Manipuri dance is one of the major Indian classical dance forms. It originates from Manipur, a state in north-eastern India on the border with Myanmar (also known as Burma). The traditional Manipuri dance style embodies delicate, lyrical and graceful movements. The feet move is viewed as part of a composite movement of the whole body. The dancer’s feet are neither put down nor lifted up at the precise rhythmic points of the music but rather slightly earlier or later to express the same rhythmic points most effectively
Mohiniyattam is a traditional South Indian dance form Kerala, India. It is a very graceful dance meant to be performed as a solo recital by women. The term Mohiniyattam comes from the words “Mohini” meaning a woman who enchants onlookers and “aattam” meaning graceful and sensuous body movements. The word “Mohiniyattam” literally means “dance of the enchantress”.
Odissi is one of the classical dance forms of India.originates from the state of Orissa, in eastern India.The classic treatise of Indian dance, Natya Shastra, refers to it as Odra-Magadhi.It is particularly distinguished from other classical Indian dance forms by the importance it places upon the tribhangi (literally: three parts break), the independent movement of head, chest and pelvis, and upon the basic square stance known as chauka.
Sattriya the core of Sattriya Nritya has usually been mythological stories. This was an artistic way of presenting mythological teachings to the people in an accessible, immediate, and enjoyable manner. Traditionally, Sattriya was performed only by bhokots (male monks) in monasteries as a part of their daily rituals or to mark special festivals. Today, in addition to this practice, Sattriya is also performed on stage by men and women who are not members of the sattras, on themes not merely mythological.
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