The Indian dance forms are one of the most popular cultural art in India. They have been developed over the centuries, and they reflect a wide range of influences from other countries and cultures. These traditional dances have been passed down through generations by word of mouth. Here is an introduction to some of these traditional dance forms:

1. Kuchipudi

Kuchipudi is a traditional Indian dance form that originated in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is performed by artists from the Telugu community, who are mainly musicians, dancers, and actors.

Kuchipudi can be performed solo or with a group of dancers on stage together. The dancers wear colorful costumes when performing Kuchipudi music and dance at festivals and special occasions such as weddings or birthdays.

The traditional instruments used during performances include cymbals, conch shells (shankha), tabla drums, and flutes made from bamboo stems called ‘nadaswaram’.

2. Kathak

Kathak is a classical Indian dance form from the northern part of India. It originated in the temples of North India and was initially performed by male dancers only, with the exception of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra (1903–1973), who used female dancers. Kathak is a northern Indian classical dance form associated with the Vaishnava religious sect of Hinduism.

Kathak is one of the eight major forms of Indian classical dance that evolved from ancient folk dances called Kṛṣṇa Līlā or Rasa Lila (“dance drama depicting Lord Krishna’s childhood Leelas”). According to some scholars, its roots may lie in Bharata Muni’s Natya Shastra (150 BCE–200 CE).

Its antiquity is not proven but Kathak has been one of the most popular forms/styles within Indian Classical Dance for centuries past.

3. Bharatanatyam

Bharatanatyam is a classical Indian dance form originating in Tamil Nadu. It is one of the oldest Indian classical dances, with a history of more than 2000 years. It is known for its grace and beauty and it’s one of the most popular forms of dance that you can learn today.

Bharatanatyam has been categorized as one of the eight forms of classical dances that originated in India. Each tradition has its own distinct style, repertoire, and performance aspects but they are all similar in nature as they have their origins in ancient temple traditions back then.

Yoga poses like bhujangasana (cobra), ardha chandrasana (half moon) are used as part of Bharatanatyam performances for instance!

4. Mohiniattam

Mohiniattam is another classical Indian dance form of India, which originated in Kerala. It is performed by women and usually takes place in temples.

The word Mohiniattam means “dance of the enchantress,” and the dance itself is believed to have originated by Lord Krishna. The performance of Mohiniattam is often associated with temple rituals and festivals.

5. Kathakali

Kathakali is a classical dance drama that originated in Kerala, India. It was originally performed in temples by men only and tells stories from the Hindu epics. The actors wear colorful costumes and apply thick makeup to their faces to make them look like characters from mythology.

The plays are usually very long, lasting 2–3 hours, sometimes even longer!

Instead of being told through words, the audience watches storylines played out as dances and then hears singing by actors who play multiple parts on stage all at once!

6. Manipuri

Manipuri is a dance form that originated in the state of Manipur in northeast India. It is one of the eight classical dance forms of India, which has its origins in the ancient Hindu texts Natya Shastra. This dance form was recognized as one of the most popular and widely performed Indian classical dances globally.

Manipuri is a dance-drama, where the story is conveyed through songs and gestures. The performance involves both singing and dancing but with no role of an actor or actress to convey a story through dialogues and facial expressions like other Indian classical dances do (Bharatnatyam).

The performances are given by women who wear long traditional gowns called “Kangla” while dancing on their feet without any shoes or ankle bells (ghungroo).

7. Odissi

Odissi is the oldest classical Indian dance form of India, dating back to the 5th century A.D. The name comes from the Hindu Goddess Mahadevi, who was worshipped as a form of Shakti (Mother Goddess). It combines dance, music, and song with elements of theatre such as dialogue and acting.

Odissi has its roots in Odisha which is also known as Orissa in English. It is one of the eight main forms of Indian classical dances that originated in Northern India during the Gupta period (300-500 CE). These eight forms are collectively known as “Shastriya Nrtya”.

8. Sattriya

Sattriya is a classical Indian dance form from Assam. It was created by Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardeva in the 15th century, who combined yoga and tantra with Vaishnavism.

The combination of dance, drama, music, and painting makes this sacred art form unique. The elements flow into each other seamlessly and create an aesthetic experience for the audience through senses like sights and sounds.

Sattriya was passed down orally from generation to generation by Guru-Shishya Parampara (teacher-disciple tradition) until it was finally written down in the 19th century.

9. Kudiyattam

Kudiyattam is a classical dance form of Kerala. It is performed by men and performed in groups of men, who are sometimes accompanied by musicians. This dance form can be seen in different temples during festivals like Onam or Vishu.

The performers wear special costumes which are made from silk and are bright yellow in color. They also have masks on their faces that depict the characters that they play in the story being enacted by them through their dancing movements.

10. Bhangra/Gidda

Bhangra or Gidda is an Indian folk dance that is high-energy and festive. It is a group dance Bhangra is a dance form of Punjab, originating in the 15th century. It is also known as “folk” and “traditional”.

Bhangra is a fast-paced dance where men and women perform together. It is traditionally performed on festivals and Indian New Year.

11. Garba

Garba is a traditional dance form in Gujarat, India. It is performed during Navratri and has its roots in the folk dances of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. It is performed by men and women alike, with each movement signifying a particular deity or mythological story.

Garba involves spinning in circles while singing songs or clapping hands to keep time. The music played during Garba includes drums, cymbals, and harmoniums.

12. kathak is the most famous dance form in India

Kathak is the most famous dance form in India. It originated in Northern India and is a classical dance of North India. Kathak originated from the city of kathak which is situated in the Uttar Pradesh state of India.

This Indian dance form is known as one of the oldest and most versatile dances which have been performed for over five hundred years.


All of these dances are unique and beautiful, but there are some commonalities between them. The most important thing that all of these dances have in common is their connection to India’s rich history. Each dance form has its own special style and technique, but they also share costumes, music styles, themes, and movement patterns.


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Disclaimer: The information and advice contained in our articles are intended for general informational purposes only. The content on our site does not provide any medical advice or established facts, and only reflects the opinion of writers.

India Chakra
Author: India Chakra

India chakra

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