The dances of India can be classified into the following three categories :
MAIN STYLES OF CLASSICAL DANCE
The earliest exponents of Bharatanatyam were the devadasis (temple dancers) in south India for worship. It came to be patronized by the Cholas, the Pandyas, Nayakas, Vijayanagar rulers and the Marathas. The technique of Bharatanatyam consists of 64 principles of coordinated hand, foot, face and body movements which are performed to the accompaniment of dance syllables, popularly known as bols.
Its format consists of Alarippu (invocation), Jathi Swaram (note combinations), Shabdam (notes and lyrics), Varnam (a combination of pure dance and abhinaya), lighter items like Padams and Javalis (all erotic) and finally the Thillana (again pure dance).
Bala Saraswathi, Shanta Rao, Mrinalini Sarabahai, Yamini Krishnamurthy, Kamala, Vijayantimala, Sonal Man Singh, Samyukta Panigrahi and Rukhmini Devi.
The word Kathak is derived from Katha which means story. It is a dance-drama in which actors took part.
It is confined mostly to Northern India—Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, the Punjab and Madhya Pradesh. The main centres are Lucknow, Varanasi, Jaipur and Delhi.
The characteristic features of the Kathak dance are emphasis on foot work, the swift swirl or chakor of the body followed by its sudden stillness. The execution of foot work is with in a time cycle.
The Kathak dance goes through a regular format mostly concentrating on rhythm, variously called tatkar, paltas, thoras, amad and parans.
Sitara Devi, Birju Maharaj, Gopi Krishna, Binda Din Maharaj, Damayanti Joshi, Kalkadin, Aachan Maharaj and Uma Sharma.
It combines music, poetry, mime and drama. This dance-drama is usually performed in the open and usually lasts the whole night. The themes are taken from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and Hindu mythology. The costumes show a great variety of colour. The musical instruments are quite simple, viz., drums and cymbals. The actors put on masks of various types to represent deities or the demons.
Kunju Kurup, Koppan Nair, Ragini Devi, Shanta Rao, Mrinalini Sarabhai, Kanak Pele, Rita Ganguly, Krishnan Nair, Gopinathan and Karunakaren Nair.
This dance belongs to the state of Manipur in north-east India.
Manipuri is purely a religious dance which is used to invoke divine blessing. Originally only Shiva and Parvati were propitiated but later on Krishna and Radha too were included.
Guru Bipin Sinha, Charu Mathur, Sadhana Bose, Jhaveri sisters and T. Nadia Singh.
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