Indian Classical Dances
All these dance forms use basically the same mudras or signs of hand as a common language of expression and were originally performed in the temples to entertain various Gods and Goddesses. It eventually became a part of Natyashashtra, as propounded by sage Bharata to compile and forge some rules and regulations of entertaining arts. Lord Shiva is said to be the Natraja, meaning king of all dances. Sangeet Natak Academy has conferred classical status on eight Indian dances. These are follows.
Rhythmic footwork is the most important part of this dance. It has a secular theme under Muslims and a religious theme under Hindus. Famous centres are Lucknow and Jaipur. Lucknow school depicts Mughal Court etiquette, while the Jaipur School depicts stories of Rajput kings and Gods.
Famous Exponents are Sitara Devi, Sambhu Maharaj, Uma Sharma, Shovana Naryan etc.
Kathakali is considered as one of the most magnificent theatres of imagination and creativity. Kathakali dance presents themes derived from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and other Hindu epics, Mythologies and legends. Famous exponents of Kathakali are Vallathol Naryan menon, Kunju Kurup, Guru Gopinath etc.
The most striking part of Manipuri dance is its colourful decoration, lightness of dancing foot, delicacy of abhinaya (drama), lilting music and poetic charm. The Manipuri dance form is mostly ritualistic and draws heavily from the rich culture of the state of Manipur. Its origin is related to the Bhakti movement of the 14th and 15th century and popular themes are related to Radha-Krishna stories and love tales of Khamba-Thoibi of Meithei legends. It has become popular these days due to its colourful adornment, lightness of dancing foot, delicacy of abhinaya, lifting music and poetry, famous Exponents are Jeveri sisters, Rita Devi, Nirmala Mehta, and Guru Bipin Singh etc.
Mohiniattam has the grace and elegance of Bharatanatyam and vigour of Kathakali. Famous exponents of this dance form are Kalyani Amma, Vaijayanthimala, Bharati Shivaji and Hema Malini.
At later stage, his chief disciple Sri Madhavdev and other apostle created some newer numbers. The Sattriya dance can be classified into two styles, namely Paurashik Bhangi i.e. tandav or masculine style and Shtri Bhangi i.e. lasya or feminine style. This dance is governed by very strictly laid down principles in respect of hand gesture, foot works, music etc. Famous Exponents of Sattriya are Moniram Dutta, Muktiar Barbayan, Raseswar, Saikia Borbayan, Indira PP Bora, Pushpa Bhuyan and Anil Bayan.