Indian Classical Dances

Indian culture today has a distinct identity enlivened through Temple traditions. With body as a medium of communication, the expression of dance is perhaps the most intricate and developed, yet easily understood forms of it. Indian dance forms associated with the evolution and development of Temple arts speak volumes of the great cultural endeavour. Further all the forms of Indian classical dances are rooted in Natya Shastra.

It is said that Brahma, the Creator, created Natya, taking literature from the Rig Veda, song from the Sama Veda, abhinaya or expression from the Yajur Veda and rasa or aesthetic experience from the Atharvana Veda.

All dance forms are thus structured around the nine rasas or emotions, hasya (happiness), krodha (anger), bhibasta (disgust), bhaya (fear), shoka (sorrow), viram (courage), karuna (compassion), adbhuta (wonder) and shanta (serenity). All dance forms follow the same hand gestures or hasta mudras for each of these rasas. The dances differ where the local genius has adapted it to local demands and needs.

Classical Dance Forms of India

All the classical dance forms can be traced to different parts of the country to represent the culture and ethos of that particular region and that of people. Indian Classical dances can broadly be categorized into the seven forms mentioned below

Besides these, there are several semi-classical dances that contribute to the rich heritage of Indian dance forms.