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  • Bharata’s Natya Shastra- Lord Brahma created a fifth Veda i.e. Natya Veda by an amalgamation of Pathya (words) from Rig Veda, Abhinaya (gestures) from Yajur Veda, Geet (music) from Sam Veda and rasa (emotions) from Atharva Veda.
  • Engravings of community dancing at Bhimbetka & sculpture of Bronze dancing girl of Harappan civilisation- indicate dance to be a social entertainment.
  • First formal mention of dance- Bharata Muni’s Natya Shastra, compiled between 200 bee & 2nd century A.D. and describes dance as a complete art.

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Aspects of Dance

  • As per Natya Shastra, there are two aspects of Indian Classical Dance-
    (a) Lasya - denotes grace, bhava, rasa & abhinaya. Symbolic to feminine features of dance.
    (b) Tandava - Symbolic to male aspects of dance & has more emphasis on rhythm and movement.
  • Abhinaya Darpan, Nandikeshwara’s famous treatise on dance, it has three basic elements:
    (a) Nritta - basic dance steps, performed rhythmically but devoid of expression or mood.
    (b) Natya - dramatic representations and story is elaborated through dance recital.
    (c) Nritya - Sentiment and emotions evoked through dance. And includes mime and different methods of expression including mudras.
  • Nandikeshwara - elaborates Nayaka-Nayika Bhav, in which eternal deity is hero/ Nayaka and devotee is heroine/ Nayika.
  • Nine rasas or emotions expressed through the dance:
    (i) Shringaara for love
    (ii) Roudra for anger
    (iii) Bibhatsa for disgust
    (iv) Veera for heroism
    (v) Shaant for peace and tranquillity
    (vi) Haasya for laughter and comedy
    (vii) Karuna for tragedy
    (viii) Bhayanak for horror
    (ix) Adbhuta for wonder
  • Emotions- evoked by mudras— a combination of hand gestures and body postures. There are 108 mudras.

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Indian Classical Dance Form

All dance forms are governed by basic rules and guidelines laid down in the Natya Shastra, ‘gurushisya parampara' forms the core of Indian classical art form.


  • Oldest classical dance.
  • Derives name from Bharata Muni &‘Natyam’ means dance in Tamil.
  • Other scholars say'Bharata’is ‘Bhava’, ‘Raga’ &‘Taal'.
  • Origins- from 'Sadir’ - solo dance performance of devadasis’ in Tamil Nadu, hence also called' Dashiattam ’.
  • With the decline of the Devadasi system, art too became extinct.
  • E. Krishna Iyer (freedom fighter)- revived it.
  • Rukmini Devi Arundale- Gave it global recognition.
  • Its important features:
    (i) Early nineteenth-century- four dance teachers of Thanjavur defined elements of Bharatnatyam recital as follows
    (ii) Alarippu - an invocatory piece of performance; includes basic dance postures with rhythmic syllables and meant to seek blessings of God.
    (iii) Jatiswaram - Nritta component; devoid of expressions, & includes different poses & movements.
    (iv) Shabdam - Dramatic element with expressed words; includes abhinaya & is in praise of the glory of God.
    (v) Varnam - Nritya component; a combination of dance and emotions; is the most important part of whole performance & is synchronised with tala and raga.
    (vi) Padam - mastery over the abhinaya (expression) of spiritual message. Jawali - short love- lyrics performed at a faster tempo.
    (vii) Thillana - concluding stage; comprises pure dance (Nritta) with exuberant movement & intricate rhythmic variations.
  • Four Thanjavur teachers-Tanjore quartet’- Chiniah, Ponniah, Vadivelu and Shivanandam. Under them, Bharatnatyam is known as Tanjore Natyam.
  • Also called ‘fire dance’ - because its movements resemble a dancing flame.
  • Equal emphasis on Tandava and Lasya aspects of dance, with major emphasis on ‘mudras’.
  • Principal mudras - ‘Kataka Mukha Hasta’- three fingers joined to symbolise ‘Om’.
  • Bharatnatyam recital- knees are mostly bent & weight is equally distributed across both feet.
  • Characterised by ‘Ekcharya lasyam’ style- one dancer plays many different roles.
  • Famous proponents: Yamini Krishnamurthy, Lakshmi Viswanathan, Padma Subramaniam, Mrinalini Sarabhai, Mallika Sarabhai, etc.


  • Originally performed by a group of actors going from village to village, known as Kusselavas.
  • Derives its name from Andhra village of Kusselavapuri or Kuchelapuram.
  • 17th century- Siddhendra Yogi, who authored ‘Bhama Kalapam’ formalized this tradition.
  • With the advent of Vaishnavism, this dance became a monopoly of male Brahmins & was performed at temples. The central theme- stories of Bhagavat Purana & dancers were called as Bhagavathalus.
  • Became prominent during- Vijayanagar & Golconda rulers.
  • Advent of 20th century- Balasaraswati & Ragini Devi revived this dance form.
  • Lakshminarayan Shastry- brought new practices like solo recitals & female participation.
  • Important features were:
    (i) difficult foot movements
    (ii) team performance.
    (iii) based on stories of Bhagwata Purana but have a secular theme.
    (iv) the predominance of Shringaara ras.
    (v) a principal character introduces itself with a “daaru”, which is a small composition of dance and song.
  • All three components of classical dances are involved: Nritta, Nritya and Natya.
  • Similar to Bharatnatyam but has its features.
  • The performance has:
    (i) Sollakath or Patakshara: the Nritta part; movement of body is made.
    (ii) Kavutvams: Nritya part, involves extensive acrobatics.
  • This dance style is a manifestation of earthly elements in human body.
  • Kuchipudi recital- dancer may combine the role of a singer into himself/herself as well- so it becomes a dance-drama performance.
  • Both Lasya and Tandava elements included.
  • Kuchipudi has some popular solo elements as well.
  • Some of them are:
    (i) Manduk shabdam - story of a frog.
    (ii) Tarangam - dancer performs with his/her feet on edges of a brass plate and balancing a pot of water on the head or a set of diyas.
    (iii) Jala Chitra Nrityam - dancer draws pictures on floor with his or her toes while dancing.
  • Kuchipudi recital (in Telugu language) - accompanied with Carnatic music.
  • Violin & Mridgangam were principal instruments.
  • Famous proponents - Radha Reddy & Raja Reddy, Yamini Krishnamurthy, Indrani Rehman etc.

Question for Nitin Singhania Summary: Indian Dance Forms
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  • Two forms of dance-drama, Ramanattam & Krishnattam, evolved under patronage of feudal lords, and narrated episodes from Ramayana and Mahabharata. (latter became source of Kathakali).
  • ‘Katha’ means story & ‘Kali’ means drama.
  • Closely related to Koodiyattam (Sanskrit drama tradition) & other ancient martial-arts performance. Combination of music, dance and drama. 
  • Breakdown of feudal set up led to decline of Kathakali.
  • Revived in 1930s by V. N. Menon (Malay: I poet) under patronage of Mukunda Raja.
  • Important features are:
    (i) all-male troupe performance.
    (ii) minimal use of props
    (iii) very elaborate facial make up along with headgear is used.
  • Different colours have their significance:
    (i) Green - nobility, divinity & virtue.
    (ii) Red - royalty.
    (iii) Black - evil & wickedness.
    (iv) Yellow - saints & women.
    (v) Completely Red painted face - evil
    (vi) Whitebeard - beings with higher consciousness & divinity.
  • Involves both dance & drama.
  • Kathakali recitals- grand representation of eternal conflict between good & evil.
  • Its themes drawn from epics & puranas.
  • Also called as ‘ballad of the east’.
  • Language used for Kathakali songs- Manipravalam, i.e., a mixture of 
  • Malayalam & Sanskrit. Afferent compositions of music are used.
  • Gestures - crown jewel of entire dance drama.
  • Is remarkable representation of rasas through movements of eye & eyebrows, through which story is conveyed.
  • Navarasas' - Nine important facial expressions to convey different emotions.
  • Performed in open air theatres covered with coarse mats or temple premises with lush green trees of Kerala providing a backdrop & a brass lamp is used for lighting.
  • Drums, chhenda & maddala used during Kathakali recital.
  • It symbolises element of sky or ether.
  • Famous proponents: Guru Kunchu Kurup, Gopi Nath, Kottakal Sivaraman, Rita Ganguly etc.


  • Called Dance of an Enchantress ( ‘Mohini’ means beautiful woman & ‘attanT means dance).
  • Solo dance performance by women.
  • Developed by Vadivelu in 19th century.
  • Prominence- under rulers of Travancore in present state of Kerala.
  • Patronage of Swathi Thirunal, Travancore ruler in 19th century- then it fell obscurity.  
  • V. N. Menon - revived it along with Kalyani Amma.
  • Important features:
    (i) Combines grace & elegance of Bharatnatyam with vigour of Kathakali.
    (ii) Footwork is gentle.
    (iii) Narrates story of the feminine dance of Vishnu.
    (iv) Has its own Nritta & Nritya aspect.
    (v) Lasya aspect (beauty, grace)- dominant.
    (vi) Mainly performed by female dancers.
    (vii) Accompanied by music and songs.
  • White and off-white in presence of gold coloured brocade designs are primary colours.
  • No elaborate facial make-up.
  • Dancer wears leather strap with bells (Ghungroo) on her ankles.
  • Symbolises element of air.
  • ‘Atavakul or Atavus’- collection of fourty basic dance movements.
  • Cymbals, veena, drums, flute,etc.are used.
  • Famous proponents: Sunanda Nair, Kalamandalam Kshemavathy, Madhuri Amma, Jayaprabha Menon etc.


  • Caves of Udayagiri-Khandagiri provide earliest examples of Odissi.
  • Name derived from-‘Odra nritya’ mentioned in Natya Shastra.
  • Primarily practised by ‘maharis’ and patronised by the Jain king Kheravela.
  • Mahari system became defunct with advent of Vaishnavism.
  • Young boys were recruited and dressed as females-they were ‘Gotipuas
  • Another variant of this art-‘Nartala’ (practised at royal courts).
  • Mid-twentieth century, Odissi gained international acclaim because of Charles Fabri & Indrani Rehman.
  • Important features:
    (i) Similar to Bharatnatyam in use of Mudras & postures.
    (ii) Tribhanga posture, i.e. the three-bended form of body- innate to Odissi.
    (iii) Chowk’ posture - hands spread out depicts masculinity.
    (iv) Lower body- largely static and movement in torso, during dancing.
    (v) Hand gestures- convey expressions during Nritya part.
    (vi) It represents gracefulness, sensuality & beauty.
    (vii) Dancers create intricate geometrical shapes & patterns with their body- so known as ‘mobile sculpture’.
  • Elements of Odissi include:
    (i) Mangalacharan or beginning- flower is offered to mother earth.
    (ii) Batu nritya comprising of the dance; has Tribhanga & Chowk postures.
    (iii) Pallavi - includes facial expressions & representation of song.
    (iv) Tharijham consists pure dance before conclusion.
    (v) Concluding item of two types- Moksha (joyous movements signifying liberation) & Trikhanda majura (performer takes leave from the gods, audience & stage).
  • Accompanied by Hindustani classical music
  • Manjira (Cymbals),Pakhawaj (Drums), Sitar, Flute, etc. are used.
  • Symbolises element of water.
  • Lyrics of Gita Govinda(by Jayadeva) are used.
  • Woman dancer wears - elaborate hair-style, silver jewellery, long necklace, etc.
  • Famous proponents: Guru Pankaj Charan Das, Guru Kelu Charan Mohapatra, Sonal Mansingh, Sharon Lowen (USA), Myrla Barvie (Argentina).

Question for Nitin Singhania Summary: Indian Dance Forms
Try yourself:Which of the following is a classical dance form of India?
1. Mohiniattam
2. Sattriya
3. Chhau
4. Kathak
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  • Mythological origin- celestial dance of Shiva and Parvati in Manipur with local 'Gandharvas.
  • Origin from festival of Lai Haraoba where many dances were performed, gained prominence with advent of Vaishnavism in 15th century.
  • Then, Krishna became central theme.
  • Performed generally by females.
  • Raja Bhag Chandra of Manipur (18th Century) tried to revive it.
  • Rabindranth Tagore introduced it in Santiniketan.
  • Important features:
    (i) Emphasis on devotion & not sensuality.
    (ii) Faces covered with thin veil & facial expression is of lesser importance, hand gestures & gentle movement of feet are important.
    (iii) Dance incorporates both Tandava & Lasya, but emphasis is laid on the latter.
    (iv) Females wear unique long skirts.
    (v) Slow and gracious movements of hand & knee.
  • Naga Bandha mudra - body is connected through curves in shape of ‘8; important posture.
  • Ras Leela (Radha-Krishna love story)- recurring theme
  • The drum - pung - is an intricate element of the recital.
  • Flute, Khartals (wood clapper), dhols,etc are used.
  • Compositions of Jayadeva and Chandidas are used extensively.
  • Thang-Ta and Sankirtana are also influenced by this dance.
  • Famous proponents: Jhaveri sisters - Nayana, Suvema, Ranjana & Darshana, Guru Bipin Singha etc.


  • Origin - Ras Leela of Brajbhoomi.
  • Traditional dance form of Uttar Pradesh.
  • Name derived from 'Kathika’or story-tellers who recited verses from epics.
  • During Mughal era- dance form degenerated.
  • Influenced by Persian costumes & styles of dancing.
  • Classical Kathak- revived by Lady Leela Sokhey in 20th century.
  • Important features:
    (i) Development of different gharanas as following
    (ii) Lucknow: Reached peak under Nawab Wajid Ali Khan & puts importance on expression & grace.
    (iii) Jaipur: Initiated by Bhanuji; emphasised fluency, speed & long rhythmic patterns.
    (iv) Raigarh: Developed under patronage of Raja Chakradhar Singh; Is unique in its emphasis on percussion music.
    (v) Banaras: Developed under Janakiprasad; greater use of floorwork; lays special emphasis on symmetry.
  • Characterised by use of intricate footworks & pirouettes.
  • Elements of Kathak recital:
    (i) Ananda - introductory item through which dancer enters the stage.
    (ii) Thaat - comprises soft & varied movements.
    (iii) Todas & Tukdas - small pieces of fast rhythm.
    (iv) Jugalbandi - main attraction of kathak recital which shows a competitive play between the dancer and table player.
    (v) Padhant- special feature in which dancer recites complicated bols & demonstrates them.
    (vi) Tarana- similar to thillana, & comprises of purerhythmic movements before the end.
    (vii) Kramalaya- concluding piece comprising of intricate & fast footwork.
  • Gat bhava - dance without any music or chanting & used to outline different mythological episodes.
  • Accompanied with dhrupad music.
  • Taranas, thumris and ghazals- also during Mughal period.
  • Famous proponents: Birju Maharaj, Lacchu Maharaj, Sitara Devi, Damayanti Joshi etc.

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  • Its modern-form- introduced by Vaishnava saint Shankaradeva in 15th century A.D in Assam.
  • The art form derives its name from the Vaishnava monasteries known as ‘Sattras’, where it was primarily practised.
  • Mentioned in ancient text ‘Natya Shastra’ by Bharat Muni.
  • It is inspired from Bhakti Movement.
  • Important features:
    (i) An amalgamation of various dance forms prevalent in Assam, mainly Ojapali and Devdasi.
    (ii) Sattriya recitals- devotional aspect of dance & narrates mythological stories of Vishnu.
  • Includes Nritta, Nritya & Natya.
  • Performed in group by male monks known as ‘Bhokots’ as part of their daily rituals or even on festivals.
  • Khol (drum), Cymbals (Manjira) and flute are used.
  • Songs- ‘Borgeets’ (Shankaradeva).
  • Great emphasis on rhythmic syllables & dance postures along with footwork. Combines both Lasya & Tandava elements.
  • Has strictly laid down rules in respect of hand gestures and footwork, and it plays a very important role.
  • Costumes of male dancers- Dhoti & ‘Paguri’ (turban).
  • Females- wear traditional Assamese jewellery, ‘Ghuri’ & ‘Chador’ made in Pat silk.
  • Waist cloth- worn by both men & women.
  • In modern times this dance has evolved into two separate streams -
    (a) Gayan-Bhayanar Nach
    (b) Kharmanar Nach.
  • Ankia Naat: type of Sattriya & involves play or musical drama.
  • Originally written in Assamese-Maithili mix language called Brajavali.
  • It is also called ‘Bhaona’& involves stories of Lord Krishna.
  • Sangeet Natak Akademi - recognises 08 classical dance forms whereas Ministry of Culture-recognises 09 classical dance forms including Chhau.

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Folk Dances of India

  • Folk dances- spontaneous, crude & performed by masses without any formal training.
  • However, they are confined to a certain sect of people or at a particular locality.


  • This word comes from ‘Chhaya’ meaning shadow.
  • Mask dance that uses vigourous martial movements to narrate mythological stories. Natural themes- Sarpa nritya (serpent dance) or Mayur Nritya (peacock dance).
  • Three main styles of this dance - Saraikella Chhau (Jharkhand), Mayurbhanj Chhau (Odisha) & Purulia Chhau (West Bengal).
  • Mayurbhanj Chhau- masks not worn.
  • 2010, UNESCO inscribed Chhau in Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity


  • Folk dance of Gujarat.
  • Held during Navaratra.
  • Refers to “Garbha deep” - an earthern pot with holes, around which women dance in circular movements with rhythmic clapping.

Dandiya Raas

  • Polished sticks or dandiyas are used.
  • Represents mock fight between Durga & Mahishasura.


  • Folk dance of Goa
  • Performed during Dussehra & Holi.
  • Uses rainbow-like costumes with multi coloured flags and streamers

Ghoomar or Gangore

  • By women of Bhil tribe in Rajasthan.
  • Characterised by pirouetting movements of women, wearing Ghaghra.


  • By women of Kalbelia community of Rajasthan.
  • Costumes & dance movement- similar to serpents.
  • ‘Been’ (wind instrument played by snake charmers)- popular musical instrument
  • 2010, UNESCO inscribed Kalbelia in Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Question for Nitin Singhania Summary: Indian Dance Forms
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1. Lady Leela Sokhey revived the classical style of Kathak.
2. There are different gharanas in Kathak dance form.
Which of the above is/are correct?
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  • Folk dance of Himachal Pradesh
  • Performed during Dussehra.


  • Folk dance of Punjab.
  • Giddha- female counterpart of male Bhangra.


  • Folk dance of Uttar Pradesh.
  • Revolves around- love stories of Radha & Krishna.


  • Semi-classical dance form, from Uttar Pradesh.
  • Was extremely popular among courtesans of Lucknow region.


  • Harvest dance of Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh.
  • Includes balancing a basket full of jawar on head.
  • Is accompanied by a heavy instrumental music.


  • By women of Malwa region on occasions of wedding and other festivities.
  • Mainly performed solo, while balancing several earthen pots on the head.
  • Popular variants- Aada & Khada Nach.

Gaur Maria

  • Important ritualistic dance of Bison Horn Maria tribes of Bastar region of Chhattisgarh.
  • Imitates movements of a bison.
  • Performed in group by both men & women.


  • Rural dance-drama performance
  • In Rajmahal hills of Jharkhand and Rajshahi, Murshidabad and Malda regions of West Bengal.
  • Performed by troops of 10-12 dancers, accompanied by one or two lead singers known as gayens.
  • Perform popular folklore and mythological stories, in which dance is interspersed with comical sketches known as kap.
  • Associated with Gajan festival of Shiva.


  • Its variant - Bidesia.
  • Rural Bihar.
  • Portrayal of pain of the women, whose partners are away from home.
  • Practised solely by males, who play the role of female characters as well.


  • Martial folk dance
  • Performed in southern parts of Odisha.
  • Paika- a form of long spear.
  • Dancers- armed with wooden spears and shields, show off their skills & agility in infantry like formations.
  • Has a martial art character.
  • Word Paika signifies battle.

Jat - Jatin

  • Northern parts of Bihar, especially in regions of Mithila.
  • Unique because represents tender love & quarrel of a married couple.


  • Popular harvest dance.
  • By tribals of Jharkhand & Odisha.
  • Two variations - Janani Jhumar, performed by women & Mardana Jhumar, performed by men.

Danda - Jatra

  • Danda Jatra or Danda Nata- one of the oldest folk arts of India.
  • Odisha
  • Mainly narrates stories & lore about Shiva.
  • Theme - social harmony and brotherhood.


  • Popular dance of Assam.
  • Performed in group by both men & women.
  • Performance includes group formations, rapid hand movements and brisk footsteps.


  • Exclusive martial dance form of Manipur.
  • Thang means sword and Ta means spear.
  • unique display of skill, creativity and agility as performers enact a mock fight sequence - leaping to attack and defend.

Rangma/Bamboo Dance

  • War dance of Nagas.
  • Dancers enact mock war formations and traditions.

Singhi Chham

  • Mask dance of Sikkim.
  • Costumes- furry costumes, symbolising the snow lion and pay tribute to Khang-Chen Dzong Pa (Kanchenjunga peak).

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  • Tamil Nadu & Kerala.
  • Performed by women, standing in a circular formation.
  • Unique feature - absence of any accompanying music.
  • Beats- generated by rhythmic clapping.
  • Performed during Pongal & other religious festivities.
  • Close variants- Kolattam and Pinnal Kolattam.


  • Kerala & Tamil Nadu
  • Young girls are dressed as peacocks, with colourful headgears, beaks & feathers.
  • Also known as peacock dance.
  • Similar dances- Kaalai Attain (bull dance), Karadi Attain (bear dance), Aali Attain (demon dance), and Pampu Attain (snake dance).


  • Burrakatha or Jangam Katha.
  • Form of dance narration from Andhra Pradesh.
  • Single performer narrates stories from puranas.

Butta Bommalu

  • Butta Bommalu means basket toys
  • West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh.
  • Dancers wear masks of different characters, resembling toy like shapes, and entertain through delicate movements and non-verbal music.


  • Kerala.
  • Performed by both men & women at the time of Onam to celebrate the rich harvest.
  • Similar forms- Aimkali & Tattamakali.


  • Martial dance performed in temples of southern Kerala.
  • Padayani means rows of infantry, and it’s a very rich and colourful affair.
  • Dancers wear huge masks known as kolams, & present interpretations of divine and semi-divine narratives. Popular characters are Bhairavi, Kalan (god of death), Yakshi and Pakshi, etc.

Kolkali - Parichakali

  • Areas of southern Kerala and Lakshwadeep.
  • Kol means stick and Paricha means shield.
  • Dancers use mock weapons made of wood and enact fight sequences.
  • Starts at a slow pace, but slowly builds up the tempo and reaches climax in a frenzy.

Bhootha Aradhane

  • Bhootha Aradhane or devil worship - from Karnataka.
  • Before the performance, idols depicting devils are placed on a plinth and the performer then dances vigorously, as if a possessed person.

Pata Kunitha

  • Folk dance of Mysore region.
  • Religious dance performed by men who use long bamboo poles decorated with colourful ribbons, known as pata.
  • Colourful exuberance makes it a visual spectacle & is extremely popular among the masses of all religion.
  • Puja Kunitha - variant of this dance form popular in the region around Bengalum and Mandya districts.

Chayakar Koothu

  • Folk dance of Kerala.
  • Solo performance, where performer dresses as a snake.
  • Combination of prose & poetry, and is generally a narration in Malayalam.
  • Traditionally performed by Chakyar community (a priestly caste).
  • Performer wears a colourful headgear, a large black moustache & red spots all over his body.


  • Performed by tribal Sikhs in Punjab and adjoining areas.
  • During the harvest season.
  • Performed in a circle.
  • Movement of arms is the most important part, on the tune of the drums.
  • Costumes- same as Bhangra.
  • Was carried to India by traders from Balochistan.

Karma Nach

  • Performed during tribal festival of ‘Karma’ by many tribes of Eastern India especially in Chota Nagpur plateau.
  • Dancers form circle and dance with arms around each other’s waist.

Raut Naach
• Performed in Chhattisgarh by Yadav community, especially during Diwali.


  • Jammu & Kashmir, by Wattal tribe.
  • Involves colourful costumes with a tall conical hat for men.
  • Performers dance and sing to the drum beats.


  • Konkan region of Goa during festivals by women.
  • Dance in varied formations, mostly in circles or rows.
  • It has many sub-types according to local customs.


  • Mizoram
  • Performed using bamboo sticks.
  • Likely to have a foreign origin.
  • Men tap long pairs of bamboo in rhythmic beats, and girls dance to the beats of bamboo.


  • Performed during festival of Dussehra in Odisha.
  • Performed by tribes and many musical instruments are used.
  • Represents- events from Ramayana and Mahabharata, stories of Lord Krishna.


  • Performed in Coastal Karnataka, Hulivesha involves male dancers painted like the tiger who dance and potray an angry tiger to honour Goddess Durga whose favourite animal is tiger.
  • It is generally performed during Navaratri festival.


  • Originating from Saurashtra region of Gujarat, it is performed exclusively by women who beat the floors with tippani (two long wooden stick joined by square wooden or iron block) on the beats of a folk song.


  • It is a famous folk dance of Puducherry, and is performed to celebrate the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana.
  • The dancers distinguished as “Vanars” (Monkeys) celebrate this victory. Dancers wear 10 “Anjalis” (iron rings) on each of their legs.

44. Tera Tali

  • Performed by “Kamar” tribe of Rajasthan. Women sit on the ground while performing Tera Tali and cymbals (Manjiras) are tied to different parts of the body of a performer, which is unique.

Question for Nitin Singhania Summary: Indian Dance Forms
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  • A famous folk dance of Tripura, Hojagiri involves movement of only the lower half of the body by a group of four to six women or young girls.
  • It is performed during Lakshmi puja. The female dancers balance earthen pitchers as well as other props while dancing.
The document Nitin Singhania Summary: Indian Dance Forms | History for UPSC CSE is a part of the UPSC Course History for UPSC CSE.
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FAQs on Nitin Singhania Summary: Indian Dance Forms - History for UPSC CSE

1. What are the different Indian classical dance forms?
Ans. Indian classical dance forms include Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kathakali, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Mohiniyattam, and Sattriya.
2. What are the key characteristics of Indian classical dance forms?
Ans. Indian classical dance forms are characterized by intricate footwork, hand gestures (mudras), facial expressions (abhinaya), storytelling through dance, and elaborate costumes and makeup.
3. What are some popular folk dances of India?
Ans. Some popular folk dances of India include Bhangra from Punjab, Garba from Gujarat, Dandiya Raas from Gujarat, Lavani from Maharashtra, and Bihu from Assam.
4. How do Indian classical dance forms differ from folk dances?
Ans. Indian classical dance forms are highly structured, codified, and follow specific techniques and traditions, whereas folk dances are more informal, passed down through generations, and reflect the cultural practices of different regions.
5. What is the significance of dance in Indian culture?
Ans. Dance plays a significant role in Indian culture as it is used to express stories, emotions, and spirituality. It is also a form of worship, entertainment, and a means of preserving cultural heritage.
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