This is perhaps the most popular dance in India, might because of its connection to the word 'Bharat', the Hindi for India. Essentially a South Indian dance style, practiced extensively in the state of Tamil Nadu, Bharatnatyam is a graceful expression of ten activities and nuances of human life namely-Javaha (Agility), Sthirathvam (Steadiness), Rekha (graceful lines), Bhramari(balance in pirouettes), Drishti (glance), Shramaha (hard work), Medha (intelligence), Shraddha(devotion), Vacho (good speech), and Geetam (singing ability). To present these ten types, a Bharatnatyam dancer resorts to 108 kinds of poses and transitions called the Karanas supplemented by some exotic hand movements named Hasta Mudras. The costume used by the dancers signify the materialistic world and it is usually performed at the beats of the classical Carnatic music which includes the flute, veena, mridangam (drum) and the nagaswaram (long pipe horn made from a black wood).
You might be familiar with the painted faces of the Kathakali dancers with super naturalistic eye expression followed by a huge gown like costume. A symbolic representation of the ethereal state of Kerala, Kathakali dance is all about mudras or expressions that ranges to more than twenty five. The enchanting performance of Kathakali is well supplemented by the musical parts that covers vocals and some awesome playing of Chenda (Drum played with sticks), Maddalam (Drum played with fingers), Chengila (Gong) and Ilathalam (Cymbals). The most interesting fact about Kathakali is that, it is a conglomeration of literature (Sahithyam), music(Sangeetham) , painting (Chithram), acting (Natyam) and dancing (Nritham).
From down South, let’s move up Northern India and experience another classic dance form- Kathak. Even though the etymological meaning of the word 'Kathak' means 'to tell a story', the story telling part is done in close coordination with the fine dance movements. Going by the techniques of the Kathak form, the emphasis is much on the feet movements than the hand gestures. The performer ties ankle bells (known as ghungroos) around the feet and creates a synchronized sound as she steps in the stage with a master's control.
Assam is the representative of the entire North Eastern region of India. A naturally gifted part with hills and mighty rivers, the essence of Assam comes in full bloom in form of the Bihu dance which is closely associated with the most popular social festival by the same name. Incidentally, there are three Bihus in Assam, but the dance performance finds a prominent place during the Rongali Bihu celebrated in mid April to mark the advent of the New Year. As it is a festival of nature worship, the Bihu dance is not tagged with any religious rituals and is full of life with young boys and girls performing it in large scale. The major instrument played by the dancers is the dhol (drum), pepa (an ethnic pipe), gogona (an instrument played with the mouth). The lyrics of the Bihu songs are very youthful by nature signifying the love and happiness in air.
Synonymous with the state of Gujarat in Western India, Garba dance is a customary affair that goes hand in hand with the navratras (nine nights of worshiping goddess Amba, a part of goddess Durga). The performance is undertaken with dancers dancing in circle with sticks in hand and while doing so they clash each others sticks to create a harmonious sound. Quite jovial in nature and proceedings, Garba is a community dance form that is celebrated openly in the society. The multi faceted Indian dances are the mixture of devotion, joy, nature, youth, art and social aspects. Be a part of the Indian diversity with beats and moves...groove to the Indian dances...