Dance is an art form which allows one to peep into the culture of a community at a single instance. Hence, be it any country, dance is believed to be a cultural symbol everywhere. Our country being a multi-cultural nation prides on having not one, but innumerable dance forms among which 8 are classical dance forms while the rest are non-classical folk dance forms. In this article, we shall make an attempt to chart a few of the most famous, vibrant and colorful non-classical dance forms that India takes pride in. Here we go—
Yakshangana is a dance-drama genre, where acting is clubbed up with music, dance and rhythm. Unique costumes, recitation of dialogues amidst the performances and elaborate make-up, make this dance form a must watch!
9. Kinnauri Nati
Born in the picturesque mountainous terrain of Kinnaur (Himachal Pradesh), Kinnauri Nati is performed to welcome the local New Year. It’s a gentle form of dance where expression and poise matters the most!
If you’re an Indian, you must have come in close connection with the “stick” dance form from Gujarat that is performed by everyone during Dusshera! Well, that is actually the Garba-Raas. The original Raas consists of a mock fight between Mahisasura and Ma Durga where eventually the good wins over the evil!
7. Jhumur Naach
Performed by young girls, Jhumur Nach is a tribal dance performed by the young girls in West Bengal and Assam. Men only take part in the musical department while the girls solely take charge of the dance performance. A drum, a “taal” and a flute make up for the musical instruments in this dance form that is all about steps in accordance with rhythm!
If you want a folk dance with rapid but calculated dance steps, then Bihu from Assam must be your choice. In their traditional attires, the young men and women with brisk steps and fast music perform this brilliant dance form!
Performed during the auspicious occasion of Navaratri, Garba is a dance form originating in Gujarat that has only women performers. The women in their traditional pied attires moving in groups around a circle with rhythmic clapping and songs cuts a really nice and vivid picture!
Although originating from Punjab, this dance form now occupies a pan-Indian identity and has time and again been used as a synonym to Indian Cultural Heritage. Although earlier the Punjabis used to celebrate their first harvest with this dance form, Bhangra is to be seen everywhere now—from films and theatres to stage shows and even on the cricket stadium (of course, on India’s win!).
3. Thang Ta
Originating in the Indian state of Manipur, Thang Ta is a folk dance form that has been bestowed with the recognition of a classical dance form by the Ministry of Culture though Sangeet Natya Akademi hasn’t done so yet. “Thang” originally means Sword while “Ta” means Spear; so, you can well imagine how vivid, colorful and exuberant the dance is going to be!
2. Gaudiya Nritya
Gaudiya Nritya or Gauriyo Nritto is a Classical Bengali Dance form that originates from Gaur, a quaint town in Bengal. It is an age old dance form that has been reconstructed by the famous danseuse, Mahua Mukherjee. Although Sangeet Natya Akademi hasn’t approved of its Classical Status, the Ministry of Culture has approved such a revered status to this dance form.
1. Chhau Nritya
Color, Vibrancy, Martial Arts and Perfect Postures give rise to one of the most difficult and celebrated dance forms in India, the Chhau Nritya. It is a tribal dance form that is much prevalent in the Eastern states of India, namely, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha. Their range of subject varies from old Indian fables to the Shakespearean plays and glimpses of Indian mythology.