The art form, Indian Classical Dance is not only a tradition but also a medium for expressing the philosophy of Indian thought through postures and expressions. The classical dance is one of the important fine arts of India which had been enriching our cultural heritage for centuries all over the world.
HISTORY OF INDIAN CLASSICAL DANCE:
The basic principles of Indian Classical Dance trace their history from NATYA SASHTRA which was written in 2ndcentury AD by BHARATHA MUNI. According to it, NATYA(means classical dance) includes music, dance, and drama. NATYA SASHTRA describes the NATYA (Classical dance) as the fifth Veda which expresses the gist of the other four Vedas (RIG VEDA, SAMA VEDA, YAZUR VEDA and ATHARVA VEDA).
In earlier days, Classical dances were only performed in temples and court of kings by devadasis(temple dancers). Later on, it was brought to the stages and the theatres of the present day.
The basic aspects of Indian classical dance are tandava and lasya which means rhythm and grace respectively. The poses given are called mudras. Every Indian classical dance form exhibits the navarasas (nine human emotions) in their own way.
DIFFERENT INDIAN CLASSICAL DANCES:
There are eight different types of classical dances in India originating from different parts. We will discuss about the most famous ones.
BHARATANATYAM is the most famous classical dance form of India which was originated in TAMIL NADU state. BHARATANATYAM came from the words BHA RA TA denoting bhava (expression), raga (music) and tala (rhythm).
This dance form was performed by devadasis only in temples in ancient days. Later on, it came to dance schools and flourished. PANDANALLUR style and TANJAVUR style are two styles of BHARATANATYAM.
FAMOUS DANCERS: The famous dancers of BHARATANATYAM are Rukmini Devi, T. BALASARASWATHI, MRINALINI SARABHAI, ANITA RATNAM and so on.
The famous classical dance form KUCHIPUDI was named after its place of origin, KUCHELAPURAM, a village in Andhra Pradesh. In ancient days, it was only performed by male Brahmins in temples for enacting Puranas. Later on, it was brought on to the stage and was patronised by Vijayanagara and Golconda rulers.
FAMOUS DANCERS: The famous dancers of KUCHIPUDI are VEMPATI CHINA SATYAM, SWAPNA SUNDARI, CHINTA KRISHNA MURTHY and so on.
Must Read: Folk dances of India
KATHAKALI classical dance was born in the temples of Kerala. It was originated from the words KATHA (means story) and KALI (means drama). It is said that the ancient dance form of Kerala RAMANATTAM was evolved into KATHAKALI. It was used to be performed in open air stages and was soon brought to the theatres.
FAMOUS DANCERS: The famous dancers of KATHAKALI are GURU KUNCHU KURUP, KARUNAKARAN, GOPINATH, RAMAN PILLAI and so on.
KATHAK dance form was originated in Uttar Pradesh. It literally means story telling through dance. It was highly influenced by VAISHNAVISM and was associated with temples accompanied by kirtans. During Mughal rule, Persian style costumes were introduced into this form. It was greatly flourished in GHARANAS of different cities.
FAMOUS DANCERS: The famous dancers of KATHAK are SITARA DEVI, DAMAYANTI JOSHI, UMA SHARMA, MANISHA GULYANI and so on.
Besides, there are many other famous classical dances such as MANIPURI (Manipur), ODISSI (Orissa), MOHINIYATTAM (Kerala) and so on.
Many foreign people are also attracted towards the classical dance forms and are learning them. In this way, Classical Dance forms are playing their part in glorifying the Indian culture.