Our Dance Forms

I would start by asking this basic general knowledge question, what are the classical dance forms of India? Did you just stop at two or three, maybe you did and it's not completely your fault.

Dance has always been an integral part of our culture. Be it our mythology or history Indian classical dance is almost more than a thousand years old. There is evidence of sculptures of dancing women in Mohenjo-Daro, so we get an idea that dance in India is age-old. But still, Indians are unaware and disinterested about it.

With the advent of various reality dance shows, finally, dance became a career choice for many youngsters. Which earlier was just seen as a mere hobby became a profession. Though their reality shows introduced India to young talented dancers, it also introduced India to a pool of western dance forms. The flips, tricks and pirouettes of these dance forms left us in awe and soon we rushed to classes for getting trained in these. Amidst this revolution brought about in dance, our Indian classical forms took a backseat. I won't deny the fact that these classical forms are still deeply instilled in various parts of India and are practiced by many. But while competing with western dance forms, it failed to make an identity in Indian mainstream. Indians' idea of classical dance is restricted to 'Devdas' and 'Mere dolna sun' which is worrying.

So let me introduce you to the 8 classical dance forms of India.

Bharatnatyam which is the oldest form of dance, Kuchipudi (South East coast), Kathak (North), Kathakali, Mohiniattam (South West coast), Odissi (East coast), Manipuri(Northeast), and Sattriya (Assam). While the dance forms from the south were the principal element of god worship, Kathak was practiced in royal courts as well as temples.

What I realized lately is that Indians have dancing genes in them by default. There is a concept of navras in Indian classical dance. Which depicts 9 expressions (Raudra, Shringaar, bhayanak, bibhatsya, Karun, adbhut, shaant, veer, hasya). So when you got really angry that was your take at Raudra ras. And when you blush in front of your loved ones that was your moment of Shringaar ras. And this thought amazed me that how every one of us have an inner dancer in us. By this, I mean that one can connect to any dance form that pleases or makes them happy. But we as Indians should be appreciating the art and artists of India. Because as we drift away from these, our rich heritage and culture deteriorates.

So as you are in quarantine activate the dancer inside you. If you get bored with your workout routine try some bharatnatyam adavus, these would act as great cardio. It is our responsibility to uplift our culture and keep our tradition intact because our tradition is our identity. Our culture defines who we are.


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