Dances of India
India is a land of diversities. Various climatic conditions have made India a diverse country. In all spheres of Indian life diversities are clearly visible. These diversities have made the Indian culture a unique one. Like all other aspects of life, the dance forms of India are also varied and different. There are many types of dance forms in India, from those which are deeply religious in content to those which are performed on small occasions.
The Indian dances are broadly divided into Classical dances and folk dances.The Classical dances of India are usually spiritual in content. Though the folk dances of India are also spiritual and religious in content but the main force behind the folk dances of India is the celebratory mood. Dances are a form of coherent expression of human feelings. Like the Indian culture, Indian classical dances are equally diverse in nature. There are numerous classical dance forms in India and innumerable folk dances. Each dance form can be traced to different parts of the country. Each form represents the culture and ethos of a particular region or a group of people.
Our Repertoire list is extensive. The Following is a partial list of our Repertoire.
Bhangra is a lively form of music and dance that originated in the Punjab region in Southeast Asia. As many Bhangra lyrics reflect the long and often tumultuous history of the Punjab, knowledge of Punjabi history offers important insights into the meaning of the music. While Bhangra began as a part of harvest festival celebrations, it eventually became a part of such diverse occasions as weddings and New Year celebrations. Moreover, during the last thirty years, Bhangra has enjoyed a surge in popularity worldwide, both in traditional form and as a fusion with genres such as hip -hop, house, and reggae. As Bhangra continues to move into mainstream culture, an understanding of its history and tradition helps to appreciate it.
Although Bhangra has possibly existed since as long ago as 300 BC, over the past forty years it has experienced new highs in popularity and innovation. The term "Bhangra" has gradually evolved and now refers to many different sub-classes of dance and music for many occasions.The Origin of Bhangra While Bhangra historians speculate the dance may have originated in the time of the wars with Alexander no one is sure it existed until about five hundred years ago. Around the 14th or 15th Century, Punjabi wheat farmers danced and sang songs about village life to help pass the time while working in the fields. With time, these became part of harvest celebrations at Bhaisakhi (April 13) festivals, as the sight of their crops growing invigorated the farmers. From here the dance quickly moved through all divisions of class and education, eventually becoming a part of weddings, New Year parties, and other important occasions.
The Bihu is a group dance in which males and females dance together but maintain different gender roles. In general, females follow stricter line or circle formations. The male dancers and musicians enter the dancing area first, and they maintain their lines and follow synchronized patterns. When the female dancers enter later the male dancers break up their lines to mingle with the female dancers, who maintain their stricter formations and order of the dance. The dance is usually characterized by definite postures; movements of the hips, arms, wrists; twirls, squats and bends but no jumps. Male and female dance movements are very similar, with only minor but subtle differences.
Fusion dance as the name suggests is a dance form; created by joining or mixing two or more dance styles together, into one single dance style. It is one of the most creative dance forms which focus on the elaborateness of the body movements rather than the formations created while performing dance.
Folk/Dribal Dance Dollu Kunitha
Dollu Kunitha provides both spectacular variety and complexity of skills in the process of demonstration. It is performed in order to please the deity of Beereshwara or Beeralingeswara, worshipped by the Kuruba Gowdas of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, also called Halumathasthas.In all temples where deity Beereshwara presides , it is a religious practice that the major instrument Dollu be hung in the premises of the temple through a thick thread tied up to the hooks fixed in the ceiling. Every time pooja is offered to Beereshwara, as per the custom there should be an instantaneous beating of the Dollu as an accompanying act of worship.
Odissi, also known as Orissi, is one of the eight classical dance forms of India. It originates from the state of Odisha, in eastern India. It is the oldest surviving dance form of India on the basis of archaeological evidences. The classic treatise of Indian dance, Natya Shastra, refers to it as Odra-Magadhi. 1st century BCE bas-reliefs in the hills of Udaygiri (near Bhubaneshwar) testify to its antiquity. It was suppressed under the British Raj, but has been reconstructed since India gained independence. It is particularly distinguished from other classical Indian dance forms by the importance it places upon the Tribhangi (literally: three parts break), the independent movement of head, chest and pelvis] and upon the basic square stance known as Chauka or Chouka that symbolises Lord Jagannath. This dance is characterised by various Bhangas (Stance), which involves stamping of the foot and striking various postures as seen in Indian sculptures. The common Bhangas are Bhanga, Abanga, Atibhanga and Tribhanga.
Kathakali is the most well known dance drama from the south Indian state of Kerala. The word Kathakali literally means "Story-Play". It is known for its large, elaborate makeup and costumes. The elaborate costumes of Kathakali have become the most recognised icon for Kerala.The themes of the Kathakali are religious in nature. They typically deal with the Mahabarat, the Ramayana and the ancient scriptures known as the Puranas. This is performed in a text which is generally Sanskritised Malayalam.
Ghoomar is a traditional folk dance of Rajasthan, India and southern Asia. Ghoomar was developed by the Bhil tribe and was then adopted by other Rajasthani communities. It is performed by women in swirling robes, and accompanied by men and women singing together.
Gujarati Garba is a form of dance that originated in the state of Gujarat in India. The name is derived from the Sanskrit term Garbha ("womb") and Deep ("a small earthenware lamp"). Many traditional garbas are performed around a centrally lit lamp, or a picture or statue of the Goddess Shakti. The circular and spiral figures of Garba have similarities to other spiritual dances, such as those of Sufi culture. Traditionally, it is performed during the nine-day Hindu festival Navaratri; (Nava = 9, ratri = nights). Either the lamp (the Garba Deep) or an image of the Goddess Durga (also called Amba) is placed in the middle of concentric rings as an object of veneration.