Do You Know Indian Traditional Dance Forms?

Indian Traditional dance forms
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Indian Traditional dance forms

Indian Traditional dance forms

India is a land of rich culture and traditions. And what other features of the country can describe this than Indian dance forms? Traditional dances in India have different styles. This is because the dance forms are from different parts of the country – it originated there and then developed with all the cultural elements.

There are many such folk dances associated with an independent region of the country and are mainly performed by the locals of that particular region. Indian film dance also has an important place in the culture of the country.

The original Indian dance form

The dance style of India has its roots in ancient Vedic times in which people danced for the purpose of entertainment and recreation. Performing art is mentioned in detail in the Vedas. Hindu Granth Natyashastra contains all the ancient collections of ancient dance forms.

These ancient dance forms have given rise to classical dances in India. Let’s take a look at the popular dances in the country.


Bharatanatyam dance 1000 BC It is often performed on Carnatic music. Earlier, dance was performed only in Hindu temples and other religious places. Bharatanatyam was the only dance performed exclusively by women and featured religious ideas and spiritual themes. During the British period, this dance form was suppressed and ridiculed. However, it became one of the most famous traditional dances in India.


It is the most stylized dance form in Kerala (basically dance drama). Kathakali is a 17th century dance form that is presented as a story-drama with very colorful and elaborate costumes, make-up and face masks. Similar to Indian dance forms, Kathakali is mainly performed by men. It was also traditionally performed in temples and religious rooms. Dance movements are rooted in the ancient let Thaletic tradition and martial arts of South India.


This dance form is from North India and the name ‘Kathak’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘katha’ meaning ‘story’. Hence, Kathak is a ‘story teller’. It mainly consists of the passionate and childhood stories of Lord Krishna. There are three different types of Kathak that are related, and their names are similar to three cities in North India – Lucknow, Benaras and Jaipur. The bell (small bell) is the main component and includes rhythmic body movements with facial expressions.


Kuchipudi is a dance form of Andhra Pradesh. Kuchipudi has its roots in classical Indian dance and has developed into a religious art. Historically, this dance was originally performed by Brahmin men, but now both men and women perform it. It is a pure dance form that includes expression and sign language.


The dance is from Odisha, a coastal town in eastern India. Odyssey is a dance-drama style art that women have traditionally studied to express spiritual themes and religious ideas. The dance is accompanied by musicians, in which they tell myths and the dancers wear symbolic costumes with rhythmic movements, facial expressions and gestures.


As the name suggests, this dance form is from the state of Manipur in Northeast India. This type of dance takes inspiration from Radha-Krishna’s Rasalila and represents a dance inspired by such love. Manipuri is presented in a group and there is a very unique and special costume called Kumil, which is a beautifully decorated skirt in the shape of a barrel. It is a very seductive dance that mainly involves upper body movements.


This dance form of Kerala is called Vishnu, Mohini, the deceptive incarnation of the Hindu deity Vishnu, Mohini, who lured evil demons to conquer evil with good. Mohiniattam is a lassi style dance that is feminine and involves delicate movements in the body. This is a slow dance performed by women.

So, this was a short history of the famous traditional dances of India and their origin. Apart from this, there are other tribal and folk dances that show the importance of Indian culture.