The Traditional Dance Forms of India

India is a land of rich culture and heritage. And what better feature of the country could depict this than the Indian dance forms. The traditional dances of India have different styles. This is so because the dance forms belong to varied parts of the country – they originated there and then developed with all the cultural elements.There are a great many folk dances that belong to separate regions of the country and are mainly performed by the local people of that particular region only. The Indian film dances also hold a significant spot in the culture of the country.Origin of Indian Dance FormsThe dance forms of India have their origin since the ancient Vedic period wherein people used to indulge into singing and dancing for entertainment and recreational purposes. The Vedas hold an elaborate mention of performing arts. The Hindu text Natya Shastra includes all the earliest compilations of the ancient dance forms.From these ancient dance forms have been derived the classical dances of India. Let’s get an insight into the popular dances of the country.Bharatanatyam
Originated in 1000 BC, the Bharatanatyam dance belongs to Tamil Nadu in South India. This is mostly performed on Carnatic music. Earlier, the dance was performed only in Hindu temples and at other religious places. Bharatanatyam used to be a solo dance form performed only by women and depicted religious ideas and spiritual themes. During the British era, this dance form was suppressed and ridiculed. However, it went on to become one of the most famous traditional dances of India.Kathakali
This is the most stylized dance form (basically a dance drama) that belongs to Kerala. Kathakali is a 17th-century dance form which is performed like a story-play and has very colourful and elaborate costumes, makeup, as well as face masks. Unlike other Indian dance forms, Kathakali is performed mainly by men. It was also traditionally performed in temples and religious chambers. The dance movements are incorporated from the ancient athletic traditions and martial arts of South India.Kathak
This dance form belongs to North India, and the name ‘Kathak’ has been taken from the Sanskrit work ‘katha’ which means ‘story’. Hence, Kathak is ‘the one who tells the story’. It majorly consists of passionate and childhood stories of Lord Krishna. Kathak has three different forms which belong to, and are also named after three North Indian cities – Lucknow, Banaras and Jaipur. Ghungroo (small bells) is the main element and involves rhythmic body movements with facial expressions.Kuchipudi
Kuchipudi is a dance form of Andhra Pradesh. Like other major classical Indian dances, Kuchipudi also has its roots and developed as a religious performing art. According to history, this dance was originally performed by Brahmin males, but now both men and women perform this dance. This is a pure dance form that includes expressions and sign languages.Odissi
This dance belongs to Odisha, the coastal state of Eastern India. Odissi is a dance-drama style performing art, practiced traditionally by women to express spiritual themes and religious ideas. The dance is accompanied by musicians, wherein they narrate mythical stories, and the dancers perform wearing symbolic costumes with rhythmic movements, facial expressions and gestures.Manipuri
As the name suggests, this dance form is from the North-Eastern Indian state of Manipur. This dance form takes its inspiration from the Raslila of Radha-Krishna and depicts such love-inspired dances. Manipuri is performed in a group and has a very unique and special costume called Kumil, which is a beautifully decorated skirt in the shape of a barrel. This is a very graceful dance which majorly involves movements of the upper body.Mohiniyattam
This dance form of Kerala takes its name from the seductress avatar of the Hindu God Vishnu, Mohini, who lured the evil demons to help good prevail over the bad. Mohiniyattam is a Lasya style dance which is feminine in nature and comprises delicate body movements. This is a slow dance solo performance by women.So, these were the famous traditional dances of India and a little history about their origins. Other than these, there are other tribal and folk dances too that mark the significance of Indian culture.

Discover the Health Benefits of Dancing

Dance is an integral part of our daily life. Almost everybody enjoys this activity and it is not astonishing to find people tapping or swirling their hips whenever they are listening to a good beat. Shows like Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance have over 24 million people across the globe. Furthermore, the Latin-inspired dance workout also attracts over 10 million participants every week. This is just a clear indication of how people value this activity; no wonder, there was need to have a National Dance Day in America.Generally, dance is one activity which guarantees a total body workout. There are a number of people who have benefited from dance classes with some burning over 400 calories in a 1 hour dance class. Very few people can achieve this in their daily working routines. This implies that dieting may be insignificant here. Ideally, attending dance classes for only three days in a week; you will drop about 20 pounds in one year. In addition to this, as you attend the dance classes, you will boost brain power, tone body muscles and improve balance.To achieve all these, you need to enroll for your dance classes in a reliable and reputable dance studio which has all the necessary facilities and qualified instructors. In addition to this, you need to choose a dance style which you are comfortable with. Most of these dance studios offer quite a number of dance styles such as hip-hop, jazz, tango, tap and ballroom dance just to mention a few. They have both kids and adult dance classes with a number of private dance classes with flexible schedules. Every dance style has its unique health and fitness benefits.Ballet dance
Like other dancing styles, ballet dance also offers a total body muscle workout. Ballet dance is described to be graceful and fluid in nature, thus a number of people tend to assume that it is one of those dance styles which do not require a lot of effort and energy. This is not always the case; it requires tremendous power and control. In addition to this, it requires a good deal of commitment to acquire all the necessary skills; a lot of discipline than the other dance styles and total body precision. It is one of the few dance styles with quite a number of rules which the dancer must adhere to. Those who enroll for ballet dance classes improve their flexibility tremendously and their body posture.Latin dance
This is one style which is identified with a fiery attitude; quick and sharp steps with a lot of hip action. A number of dance styles in this category, such as the merengue and salsa require a partner, however; you can opt for other options such as the Zumba where a dancing partner is not compulsory.In most cases, Latin dances are characterized by fast beats of about 160 and 210 beats per minute. This gives the participants an opportunity to burn more calories. The muscles supporting the spine also get a 360 degree workout as the dance involves twisting and pulling the muscles around this region. It involves moving the muscles around the spine region.Masala Bhangra style
This is one of the most popular India’s Electric Slide dance. In this style, the arms do a lot of work in the entire dancing process. It is categorized as a low pressure workout, dance style. It can be a good workout for the injured rotator cuff muscles.Jazz dance
In this style, the moves blend the sharp kicks and sultry slides. They require a lot of energy since the dance involves “large and dynamic moves” which requires the use of the entire body. It boosts metabolic rate, hence; very important.Tap dance
In this style, dancers wear shoes with metal plates which are usually attached to both the forefoot and the heel. They use them to make percussive sounds. It is a joint friendly activity since it has less impact to the joints. It strengthens fast-twitch muscles.