- a journey through classical indian dance.

(Mudra is a Sanskrit word that, in general, means "formation of the hands." In particular, it is borrowed from 'yoga' and sculptural traditions and is the position assumed by a yogi or a divinity when in meditation or while performing a ritual.)

Using the body as a medium of communication, the expression of dance is perhaps the most intricate and developed, yet easily understood art form. The fascination for Indian dance all over the world is indicative of the deep-felt need to use the human body to express and celebrate the great universal truths. Indian dance does just that in a heightened, reverential form. Also, since dance is physical and visual, it illumi-
nates India's culture in a direct manner, playing on the sensibilities of the onlooker. Thus, those who are attracted to India will find the idiom of dance the best introdu-
ction to India's rich ethos and traditions.

India offers a number of classical dance forms, each of which can be traced to diffe-
rent parts of the country. Each form represents the culture and ethos of a particular region or a group of people.

The most popular classical styles seen on the Indian stage are Bharatanatyam of Tamil Nadu, Kathakali and Mohini Attam of Kerala, Odissi of Orissa, Kathak of Uttar Pradesh, Kuchipudi of Andhra Pradesh and Manipuri of Manipur. Besides these, there are several semi-classical dances that contribute to the plethora of Indian dances.

Indian Classical Dance is a form of worship which focuses on leading the worshipper - the dancer, to the Divine. Filled with beauty, charm and gracefulness, it is an artistic depiction of the human heart which is devoted to the Supreme Lord. The Naayika, the dancer, is a yearning soul that attains bliss when it unites with the Naayak - the Sup-
reme Lover - the Divine Lord. Classical Indian Dance (all the forms) is based on the Natyashastra that contains deliberations on different kinds of postures, hasta mudras (hand formations) and their meanings, the kind of emotions and their categorization, and the kind of costume, the stage arrangement, the ornaments worn by the artiste, and even the audience.

Hindu gods and goddess like Rama and Sita, Krishna and Radhika, Shiva and Parvati are often portrayed in these dance forms. The styles may slightly vary according to the place of origin of the dance form, but essentially, all the traditional dance forms in India have the same purpose and lead to the Supreme Lord, the Naayak.


Mudra ||  4000 years old! ||  Dance of Shiva ||  Bharatanatyam ||  Kathak ||  Kuchipudi ||  Kathakali || 
Mohini Attam ||  Odissi ||  Manipuri ||  Bibliography || 

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