Indian Dance Forms – An Introduction

Bharata Natyam is the oldest classical dance style, but seven other regional styles have emerged: Kuchipudi (southeast coast); Ice Rink (North); Kathakali, Mohiniattam (Southwest Coast); Odysseus, (east coast); Manipuri (Northeast); and Satria (Assami in the northeast). Each of these dance forms has its own kinetic dance language with the codification of hand movements, certain regional classical music, costumes, and conventions.

Mohiniattam is only performed by female dancers, but all other forms are performed by both men and women. They are a neoclassical dance form based on oral and literary traditions. Modern Indian dance has also evolved as the best Bharatanatyam dancers who are classically trained explore contemporary themes. Classical and modern dance coexist and continue to captivate modern audiences with the beauty of Indian dance. 

Classical Indian dance forms are based on the codification and aesthetic principles of the Ntyashstra. The energetic "male" dance style is called the Tandava, while the more graceful "female" dance style is called the Lassa.

There are specific divisions: nritta, or pure dance, is performed with abstract movement and rhythm patterns; Nritya, or expressional dance, includes mime, facial expressions, and hand gestures, used to convey the meaning of a song to which the dance is performed; Natya is drama, in which four elements of abhinaya, the histrionic representations are utilized to communicate a theme.

The four elements of the Abhina are: Angica, bodily movement; speeches, speeches, and dialogues; Aharyas, Costumes, Sets, and Attributes; and sattvik state of mind. The cubit or hand movement, known as mudra, plays an important role in angica and is considered the most distinctive feature of Indian classical dance. A dancer tells a story with facial expressions and body movements; He also uses hand gestures that have special meanings that complement facial expressions.