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The Traditional Dance Forms of India

India is a country of rich heritage and culture. This is best illustrated by the Indian dance styles. There are many styles of traditional Indian dances. This is because dance forms come from different parts of India – they were originally there and have been adapted to incorporate cultural elements.

These ancient dance forms are the basis of the Indian classical dances. Let's take a look at the most popular dances in the country.


Originated in 1000 BC, the Bharatanatyam dance belongs to Tamil Nadu in South India. This dance is mainly performed in Carnatic music. The dance was originally performed in Hindu temples or other religious locations. Bharatanatyam was a solo dance performed by women that depicted religious ideas or spiritual themes.

This dance form was ridiculed and suppressed during the British era. It went on to be one of the most popular traditional dances in India. People all over the world are learning this traditional dance. You can also join the best online bharatanatyam classes to learn this beautiful form of dance.


This is Kerala's most popular dance form, which is essentially a dance drama. Kathakali, a 17th-century dance form, is performed as a story-play. It features elaborate costumes and makeup as well as masks. Kathakali, unlike other Indian dance forms, is performed mostly by men. Kathakali was traditionally performed in temples or religious chambers. These dance moves are based on the South Indian martial arts and ancient athletic traditions.


This dance form is North Indian and its name, Kathak, comes from the Sanskrit word Katha which means "story". Kathak means "the one who tells a story". It consists mainly of childhood and passionate stories about Lord Krishna. Kathak comes in three forms. They are named after, and belong to, three North Indian cities: Jaipur, Banaras, and Lucknow. Ghungroo (small bells), is the main element. It involves rhythmic movements of the body and facial expressions.