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Culture of Indian Art and Dance

Updated on February 23, 2019

Dance and Indian culture

Indian culture is as vast as its beauty. It is known for its tradition, art and architecture, people from various religious and ethnic groups, monuments, and historical places, its various States and their beauty and it is also famous for its food.

However, to know the Indian culture more deeply we can refer to the art and tradition of India. When we talk about Indian culture and eager to understand the same, then it can be known through the most fascinating art forms.

Dance is always known to break the structure of lack of knowledge about a matter, it tells a story as well and is witnessed to play a vital role to break the wall between the audience and the performer and show the mirror of the place and its ancient story in a more open and entertaining way. Dance in life also helps to bring happiness on the faces and is also a medium of entertainment in today's world. But if we turn back the pages of history to know the origin and about the dance then it is vast enough to explore.

There are various styles of Dances in India and it depicts different traditions in India and its origin. It not only is filled with the tradition of a particular State but also showcases the culture and tradition of the country.

Culture dances of India

The cultural Dances of India and its beauty is huge when talked about. If we read in Hindu Mythology, the story about dance and its beauty and importance can be understood. Dance is known to be evolved from the Vedas. Words (Pathya) from the Rigveda, Gestures (Abhinaya) from the Yajurveda, Geet (music) from the Samaveda and Rasa (emotions) from the Atharveda. The Hindu Gods and Goddesses from the Hindu mythology are known with the styles of Dancing. Such as Shiva for Tandava, Kali for the dance of destruction (Sanghara) and creation, Krishna for Raslila (Love and affection of Lord Krishna with Lordess Radha). In ancient times, Dance was one of the media for entertainment at the leisure time, mostly performed in temples, functions, etc.

After the end of that era, there was a drastic change found in the form of dances as they were seen to move from the temples to the royal houses and courtyards of Kings.

With the span of time, the form of dances is found to evolve with changes and most of the new dance forms have been seen to be evolved from the older ones.

In today's time, the dance forms in India have a global significance and people from India and outside are showing a keen interest in learning the same. Even the Indian Cinemas have played the greatest role in enhancing the beauty of the culture of Dance here Popularity of Indian films have not only added to the beauty and popularity-ism of Indian classical dance culture but has given immense fame and name to the actors working on these films who have received the chance of showing their capability and talent to the world.

Some of the famous actresses of that time who were also the trained dancers in various forms of classical dances were Vaijantimala, Hema Malini, Jaya Prada, Sridevi, Meenakshi Sheshadri etc.

Hema Malini is an actress who is known to do name and fame in her life from the Indian Cinema due to her beauty, acting and her quality as a good Bharatnatyam dancer. She is basically from south India and was from the family wherein her mother Jaya Chakravarty was a film producer. She is the most popular actress in the Indian Cinema, a choreographer, and a politician in today's time. Till now she does many of the stage performances and has been awarded many popular awards in India.

Vaijayanti Mala, the other beautiful girl actress of her time was also one of the famous classical dancers who was trained in Bharatnatyam Kala. Apart from this, she was also a Carnatic singer, a choreographer and a parliamentarian in today's time. Her films were famous for her acting and the dances that she performed. One of the famous films of her time was 'Amrapali' wherein she was acting as a dancer in the kingdom courtyard as a Royal Courtesan and has enormously acted in the movie with her dance Kala. She then took retirement from the film industry after this film. She, however, continued with her love for dance as a career. She has also won many awards for her knowledge in classical dance and contribution to the popularity of the same.

In today's time, dance has not only remained as an extracurricular activity in the houses but people have started making a good and huge career with the help of the same in the world.

As of today, there are eight forms of Classical Dances in India. Below is the list of the various dances forms and their characteristics:

Bharatnatyam (Tamil Classical Dance)

Bharatnatyam is one of the well-known dance forms in Indian classical dances and is appreciated by many.. It is basically from Tamil Nadu and depicts the 'art of dancers in the temples' It is a combination of the different arts like expression, music, rhythm, and dance. They are often called a geometrical dance form because of its poses and postures.

Odyssey (Odiya classical dance)

It is one of the forms of dances and is basically a dance form of Odessa which actually talks about the temples and its history through dance. It is a dance form where the body movement and the postures and poses closely depict the sculptures in the temples of Orissa. It is also one of the oldest dance forms of India.

Kuchipudi (Telugu Classical Dance)

It is a popular dance from Andhra Pradesh. It has many similarities to Bharatnatyam forms of dance. The techniques and the postures that are used in this dance form make the dance very graceful and elegant.

Manipuri (Classical dance of Manipur)

This dance form is a popular part of Manipur and talks about the Raslila the love and affection of Radha and Krishna; apart from other dance forms, the costume that is used is different. Manipuri Dance depicts the spirituality and the religious feel in god. The dance form and the postures in this dance form are subtle and graceful, The dance is seen to be slower compared to the other classical dance forms and in this dance, no stamping on the floor hard is found.

Mohinatyam (Malayali Classical dance)

It is a dance form of Kerala and is known to be performed as a solo dance by women with grace in its every posture. In Mohininattam dance form, Mohini depicts a woman and the autumn means the graceful movements of a woman. The dance surrounds the thought of devotion and love for the lord.

Sattriya (Assamese classical Dance)

It is one of the eight classical dance forms of India and is a dance form of Assam which is in the North-eastern part of the country. It is a dance form which was performed in the Assam monasteries and thus the name says Sattriya which has been taken from the name Sattras (Assam monasteries).

Kathakali (Malayali classical dance)

It is a dance form of Kerala depicting the life and the Leela's of Lord Krishna. It is a dance drama.

Finally Kathak (Hindi classical dance)

this is a dance form performed basically to narrate a story (Katha) to the audiences. It is a form of dance which rises from slower movements to faster movements and ends with a climax per its name and the reason for its existence as a story-teller. The dance is basically based on a story and is presented to the audiences with the graceful moments of the dance form. It is a form of dance which is used in the Mehfil (a poetic gathering or a festive or a concert) kind of scenes in the Hindi movies as well for example 'Umrao Jaan' & 'Pakeeza'.

It is good to see that the young generation of India with the adaptation of the culture of other countries also shows great interest to save the art and culture of the classical dance forms. Many of the dance forms are seen to evolve from the eight forms of classical dances. People are today inspired by the form of dances and many are heading towards making a career with the same. These forms of dances are also appreciated worldwide and liked enormously by the people of the other countries. The most interesting part of these Dance forms of India is that it not only brings into focus the talent and ability of the person to the world but also helps to add to the beauty, heritage, and culture of Indian art and Music.


Submit a Comment
  • padmendra profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from DELHI/NCR

    Thanks for the positive feedback.

  • profile image


    4 years ago

    Never seen a betetr post! ICOCBW

  • padmendra profile imageAUTHOR


    4 years ago from DELHI/NCR

    Thanks Shivani for your feedback.

  • profile image


    4 years ago

    A bit surepisrd it seems to simple and yet useful.

  • profile image


    5 years ago

    I loved the way you described the subject.the forgotten charms of indian history.

    thanks ! :) Voted Up

  • padmendra profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from DELHI/NCR

    Thanks for your comments and suggestions as well.

  • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

    Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 

    6 years ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

    Good work. But requires a fine edit as the text stands mess up for want of enough space. Please note that aspect. Give enough spacing, so that its readability will increase.

  • padmendra profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from DELHI/NCR

    I am thankful to you for appreciating my work. Its all because of encouragement received from my seniors that I am able to do something little for the cause of entertainment. Thanks and regards.

  • prasetio30 profile image


    6 years ago from malang-indonesia

    Very entertaining hub. I love Indian dance and I learn many things here. Thanks for writing and share with us. Voted up



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