Dance forms in India : A Cursory Glance

  • Categories
    Prelims
  • Published
    22nd Mar, 2021

India is land of diversity and rich culture. Glimpses of diversity are reflected everywhere from girdling mountains of Himalaya to southern sea shore. The diversity is witnessed not in terms of language, cast creed and  social traits but in other significant areas too. The same phenomenon of change is observed in the dance forms and folk songs too. The glimpses of our cultural heritage is observed in the dance forms prevalent in India. Indian Dance forms depict the course of cultural journey from past to present. Dances are the epitome of culture and traditions that are being preserved since the ages. The dances are performed on various occasions to manifest joy and celebrations. Sometimes they are also associated with a particular tradition that is of utmost importance but forgotten. The dance forms are of various types like classical dances , folk dances and tribal dance forms. Each of these dance forms have their own form of peculiarity that depends upon their source of origin, their historical antecedent and their preserved Cultural Heritage. Through this article GS Score is giving an idea about Famous Dances In India. 

Let's understand each dance form one by one . First let's have a look at Classical Dance Forms. The classical dance forms trace their origin from temples. The classical dance forms may have sourced from different regions but their roots remain the same.  Classical dance forms were intended for worshipping the deity . The roots of all classical dances can be traced from the Sanskrit text of Bharat Muni’s  – ‘Natya Shastra’. Natya Shastra was supposed to have been compiled between 200BCE and 200CE. The ancient dance forms are large in numbers but the classical status has been accorded to only 6 dance forms. These dance forms are cited below :

Bharatnatyam: Tamilnadu

Kathakali: Kerala

Odishi: Odisha

Manipuri: Manipur

Katahak : Uttar Pradesh

Kuchipudi: Andhra Pradesh

Apart from these Sattriya from Asam, Mohiniyattam from Kerala, Yakshagana from Karnataka are some other dance forms that have also been accorded the status of classical dance.

The theme of all classical dance forms are based on Nava rasas. These navarasas form the building block of these classical dance forms. These nava rasa are based on different emotions of mankind such as hasya,karun,vatsalya,veebhats,shringar,veer and raudra etc. All the dance forms are based on these human emotions. Illustration of these various emotions is performed through various postures of dance.

The Folk and Tribal Dance Forms however have their lineage in the culture in which they thrive upon. Very often folk dances are performed on the eve of some auspicious occasions such as child birth, marriage, festivals fair etc. These dances are the manifestation of different emotions associated with particular events. On most occasions dancers sing themselves, accompanied by artists with instruments. Each form of Folk Dance has a specific costume & rhythm. Some of the costumes are very colorful with extensive jewels and designs. The number of folk dances are many across India as there is diversity in culture and tradition across each nook and corner. However some dance forms are quite prominent and have earned wide acclaim all over India such as Chau dance of Bihar, Bihu dance from Assam, Sama Chakwa from Bihar , Garba and Dandiya from Gujrat , Lavni and dashavatar from Maharashtra, Grida from Madhya Pradesh etc.

Every year there are one or two questions from Dance forms of India asked in Civil Services Exam . There are various dance forms in India and it is almost impossible to prepare about these dance forms in detail. Uncertainty always looms over the questions of art and culture so it is very important to prepare this section with its linkage to Current Affairs. We need to keep a check over the current issues related to art and culture. Special focus should be on that dance form which has been in the news recently. Apart from this regular revision and smart micro notes could be more significant in this regard.

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