Write a note on different aspects of India’s traditional dance system. (200 Words)

Dance has always been considered as a complete art and has had close association with god and worship. The earliest examples of dance in India can be traced back to the dancing pictures inBhimbetka caves and bronze statue of dancing girl of Mohenjo-Daro.
Bharatmuni’s Natyashashtra is a famous treatise on Natya which includes dance as well.
Other works are like Nandikeshwar’s AbhinayaDarpan.
  • Sangeet Natak Academy confers “classical” status on 8 dances: Bharatnatyam of Tamil Nadu, Kuchipudi of Andhra Pradesh, Kathakali and Mohiniattam of Kerala, Kathak of Uttar Pradesh, Sattriya of Assam, Odissi of Odisha and Manipuri of Manipur. This is on the basis of their history.
  • Dance forms in India were kept alive by devadasis and later revived by various artists.
  • Dance has two aspects: Tandava and Lasya. Tandava emphasizes on body movements and masculinity while Lasya focusses on grace and abhinaya, so more feminine.
  • Earlier dances were segregated exclusively for females or males but now group, solos and mixed are common.
  • Dances were scripted around 9 rasas or emotions like heroism, love, anger, etc. Themes were derived from mythology like Radha-Krishna, Shiva-Parvati, etc. Many Muslim kings also added their elements and learnt traditional dance like Nawab Wajid Ali of Oudh.
  • Performance of these dances usually begins with invocation of god, mostly Ganesha, then the tempo is slowly raised to more rhythmic movements, and musical instruments played.
  • Besides, many folk dances are also prevalent amongst tribes. Kalbelia of Rajasthan and Chhau of Bihar, Bengal are on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Hertitage.
Besides, Bihu of Assam, Garba and Dandiya of Gujarat, Ghoomat of Rajasthan, etc. are famous.
Compare and contrast expression and art forms between Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi. (200 Words)
Both forms Classical dances of India with following similarities and differences:
  • Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam have many mudras in common. Apart from the similarity, there are three unique steps of Kuchipudi. Natya, Nritta and Nritya and three famous mudras related to Bharatanatyam.
  • Cross pleat costume is used in Bharatanatyam. Cross pleat costume is associated with Kuchipudi dance. In this the male artists plays the role of either Muruga or Krishna.
  • Bharatanatyam music is of Carnatic style and the accompanying instruments are thala, flute, violin, and veena. Sanskrit, Tamil and Kannada are the languages of Bharatanatyam.
  • Kuchipudi is colloquial form of the Sanskrit term Kuseelavapuri. It is also Carnatic form of music.
  • Bharatnatyam is precisely known for its elegance, grace, softness, clarity and sculptured poses. On the other hand most of the poses in Kuchipudi are brisk, flatfooted, dazzling and overall curved having more rounded poses.
  • Bharatnatyam is termed the fire dance replicating the inner fire within the human body. On the other hand, Kuchipudi replicates man’s undying desire to unite with God.
  • Bharatanatyam is a solo, lasya type of a dance, which is tender and erotic. Kuchipudi combines lasya and tandav elements, folk and classical shades.
  • Prescribed costumes and ornaments are strictly followed in Kuchipudi.
  • Bharatanatyam has “Alairppu” a pure dance without any meaning or expression just accompanied by the syllables of the performer and set to the thala(beat), while kuchipudi is devotional dance which leads to salvation to the performer, it is based on Bhagavat Purana.
Write a note on the influence of religion and religious practices on┬ásome of India’s traditional dance forms. (200 Words)
Dance has always been considered a complete art. It was seen as a means of praising the Almighty and trying to connect with God. Religion had influences on all dance forms of India:
  • Traditional dance forms are derived from Bharatmuni’s Natyashashtra. He considered the source of art to Brahma who created the fifth Veda, NatyaVed.
  • Natraj, the dancing Shiva, represents destruction, and release from bondage.
  • Traditional dance forms were kept alive by devadasis who performed at temples.
  • Bharatnatyam is called fire dance and its moves resembles a dancing flame. The performer’s right hand is in shape of OM. The dancer invokes God at the start and seeks blessings at the end.
  • Kuchipudi represents an intense desire to unite with God. Most of the themes are inspired by Vaishnavism like Radha-Krishna, etc.
  • Kathak, in North India, originated from gesticulations of story tellers who preached stories from mythology.
  • Kathakali represents eternal fight between good and bad. Mohiniattam is inspired by Mohini ( a Lord Vishnu avatar).
  • Manipuri has legendary references to Shiva-Parvati. Sattriya dance was kept alive by Sattras, the Vaishnav Math.
  • Garba and Dandiya of Gujarat are performed in Navratri.
Thus, religion and mythology have played a significant role in originating, inspiring, protecting and propagating dance forms.



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