Indian Traditions of Performing Arts - Indian Dance




Indian Dance:

1. Folk dances:

  • A folk dance is a dance created by people that depicts the lives of ordinary people in a specific country or region.
  • Various folk dances can be found throughout India, encompassing the length and breadth of the country.

Various folk dance forms in Maharashtra:

1. Lavani:

  • Lavani is derived from the word Lavanya, which means 'beauty.'
  • This form is a combination of dance and music that deals with a wide range of topics such as society, religion, politics, romance, and so on.
  • Lavani is a traditional song and dance performed to the beat of the dholki drum.

Lavani Dance Form

2. Koli: 

  • Koli is the Maharashtra dance form of the Koli fisher folk.
  • The community has a distinct identity as well as lively dances.
  • The dance incorporates elements associated with this community, such as the wave movements and the net casting movement as if catching fish.
  • Koli is performed in this state by women and men, who divide themselves into two groups.
  • They depict the boat rowing movement in the Koli dance.

Koli Dance Form

3. Tarpa Dance:

  • 'Tarpa' is amongst the most attractive dance forms of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, especially at Silvassa.
  • It is done by the men and women, at night, during the month of September, on Diwali, during the harvest season.
  • The musical instrument called Tarpa is utilized in this dance form, which is made from palm leaves, bamboo, and gourd.

Tarpa Dance Form

2. Indian classical dance: 

  • Excavations, inscriptions, chronicles, genealogies of kings and artists, literary sources, sculptures, and paintings from various periods provide extensive evidence of dance in India. 
  • Classical dance forms of India, also known as Shastriya Nritya, come from the words, Shastriya meaning classical and Nritya meaning the act of dancing.
  • Contemporary classical dance forms evolved from musical plays or sangeet-nataka, which were performed from the 12th to the 19th century.
  • Tandava (movement and rhythm) and Lasya (grace, bhava & rasa) are the two fundamental aspects of Indian classical dance. 
  • A beautiful blend of all three forms of music, vocal, instrumental, and dance can be seen in various Indian classical dance forms like ‘Kathak of north India, ‘Odissi’ of Odisha, ‘Bharatnatyam’ of Tamilnadu, Kuchipudi of Andhra and ‘Kathakali’ and ‘Mohiniattam’ of Kerala.

Various classical dance forms in India:

1. Bharatanatyam:
  • State: Tamilnadu 
  • Bharatanatyam has evolved into a significant component of temple rites.

2. Kathak:

  • State: U.P., Rajasthan 
  • Krishna leela and the stories related to Lord Shiva was the theme of Kathak.
  • Kathak dance form was promoted by the Muslim rulers in the medieval period.


3. Kathakali:

  • State: Kerala 
  • Ramayana and Mahabharata tales are told in Yakshagana, a type of Kathakali.


4. Odissi:

  • State: Orissa 
  • Odissi performances are connected to Lord Jagannath worship. 


5. Kuchipudi:

  • State: Andhra Pradesh 
  • A Kuchipudi performance begins much like a religious act, with water sprinkling, lighting incense, and invoking god’s blessings.


6. Manipuri 

  • State: Manipur
  • Performance Manipuri is mostly related to the stories of Krishna and his Leela (exploits).
  • Manipuri dance was also performed for religious purposes.


7. Mohiniyattam:

  • State: Kerala 
  • Mohiniattam developed as an important aspect of the rituals in temples.


8. Sattriya:

  • State: Assam
  •  Introduced in the 15th century A.D
  • Mahapurusha Sankaradeva, an eminent Vaishnava saint and Assamese reformer served as a potent vehicle for the spread of the Vaishnava faith.


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