Published By: Ishani Karmakar

6 Classical Dances of India That Are Insanely Graceful

In Indian culture, dance has a long and storied history. Large numbers of people can be seen dancing during festivals and weddings because of the prevalence of folk dances.

Indian cinema also strongly emphasises dance and music. Yet, where does Indian dancing come from? Six of India's most revered classical dance traditions are listed here.


South India's Tamil Nadu is the birthplace of the dance form known as Bharatanatyam. It was first documented in the Natyashastra, an ancient theatre manual authored by the mythical priest Bharata. Bharatanatyam is a classical Indian dance that originated as a form of worship performed exclusively by women in Hindu temples. It wasn't until the 20th century that it became a staple of the public theatre scene. In this dancing style, the feet provide the beat while the legs are bent. A sequence of mudras, or symbolic hand gestures, may convey a whole narrative.


Kathakali was developed in the region of Kerala in southwestern India. Kathakali, like bharatanatyam, is performed for religious purposes. It was influenced by the Ramayana and other Shaiva tales. Boys and men typically play both male and female parts in Kathakali performances. The costumes and makeup are exceptionally ornate, with the actors' faces painted to look like masks and wearing gigantic tiaras.


Northern Indian Kathak is typically performed as a love song. Both sexes participate in this activity. Complex footwork, accentuated by bells wrapped around the ankles, and exaggerated gestures derived from everyday communication make up the dance. Kathakas, professional storytellers, pioneered this style by fusing dance, music, and theatre to tell their tales. Like many other Indian dances, it originated in temples before making its way into the royal courts.


Manipuri is spoken in the northeastern Indian state of Manipur. Scenes from the life of the deity Krishna are frequently shown in this art form, which has its origins in the traditional customs and ceremonies of that state. Manipuri, in contrast to other, more rhythmic dances, is distinguished by its fluidity and elegance. The arms and hands of female characters are more fluid than those of masculine characters, who often move with more power. Narrative chanting and choral singing may be performed in conjunction with the dance.


Kuchipudi, in contrast to the other stated forms, necessitates skill in both dance and singing. A formal song and dance introduction, holy water, incense, and invocations of goddesses are all part of the ritualised performance of this dance from the state of Andhra Pradesh in southern India. Historically, men took up the feminine parts in the dance, but nowadays, women take centre stage.


Eastern India's Orissa is the birthplace of Odissi dance. Women take centre stage in this dance, which mimics the poses seen in ancient temple artwork. Archaeological evidence suggests that Odissi is older than any other surviving form of classical Indian dance. Odissi is a very intricate and emotive dance that often employs over fifty mudras.