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Day 23 – Q 2.Classical dance forms are living embodiment of India’s devotional tradition. Elucidate.

2. Classical dance forms are living embodiment of India’s devotional tradition. Elucidate.

शास्त्रीय नृत्य रूप भारत की भक्ति परंपरा के जीवित अवतार हैं। स्पष्ट करें।


Classical dance forms refer to those religious Hindu art forms whose roots can be traced back to Bharat Muni’s Natyashastra, the source book of the art of drama, dance and music.


The common theme in all classical Indian dance forms is Devotion to almighty through different forms and emotions:

  1. Bharatnatyam: Tamil Nadu.
    • Starts with invocation song to Supreme being.
    • Shabdam: The accompanying song is generally in adoration of the Supreme Being.
    • Kriti is a composition in which the musical aspect is highlighted. Both are usually devotional in character and represent episodes from the lives of Rama, Siva, Vishnu, etc.
    • Padams and javalis, are on the theme of love, often divine.
  2. Kathakali: Kerala. – Kathakali is a blend of dance, music and acting and dramatizes stories, which are mostly adapted from the Indian epics.
    • Aharya: Make-up is suited to character like Krishna and Rama wear special crown decorated with peacock feathers.
    • Todayam: It is a devotional number performed where one or two characters invoke the blessings of the gods
    • sopana sangeet: It is said to be the ritual singing of the Ashtapadis on the flight of steps leading to the sanctum sanctorum.
  3. Kathak: Uttar Pradesh. – Only classical dance of India having links with Muslim culture, it represents a unique synthesis of Hindu and Muslim genius in art.
    • Raslila: The Vaishnavite cult which swept North India in the 15th century. And the resultant bhakti movement contributed to a whole new range of lyrics and musical forms. The Radha-Krishna theme proved immensely popular along with the works of Mirabai, Surdas, Nandadas and Krishnadas.
  4. Manipuri: Manipur. – Because of its geographical location, Manipuri has been protected from outside influences, and able to retain its unique traditional culture.
    • The dance is associated with rituals and traditional festivals, there are legendary references to the dances of Shiva and Parvati and other gods and goddesses who created the universe.
    • Ras: The theme often depict the pangs of separation of the gopis and Radha from Krishna.
  5. Odissi: Odisha.
    • Opening item is Mangalacharan where the dancer slowly enters the stage with flowers in her hands and makes an offering to mother earth. This is followed by an invocation to the deity of the dancer’s choice. Generally, Ganesha is called upon to grant an auspicious beginning. The item ends with a nritta sequence with salutations to God, the Guru and the audience
  6. Kuchipudi: Krishan Village, Andhra Pradesh. – Based on the Myth of Krishna asking Siddhendra Yogi to compose dance, drama about bringing Parijata flower for Sathyabama.
    • Invocation: Beginning with invocation called ganesha Vandhana. Now other gods are also invoked.
  7. Sattriya: Assam.
    • The dance was introduced in 15th Century by a great Vaishnava Saint Mahapurush Shankardev in Assam.
    • It was primarily a monastery dance and later on evolved as a distinctive dance form and spread across Assam.
    • It has been for centuries, nurtured and preserved with great commitment by the Sattras i.e. Vaishnava maths or monasteries. Because of its religious character and association with the Sattras, this dance style has been aptly named Sattriya.
  8. Mohiniyattam: Kerala. – It literally means Dance of Mohini, The female avatar of Lord Vishnu to seduce Asuras during churning of ocean.
    • Practiced by a group of Female temple dancers, who assisted the temple rituals by adding expressive gestures to the mantras chanted by the temple priests.


Based on geographical locations, traditions, rituals many forms of dance have originated over time each having its uniqueness. Even though all might have different forms and emotions they show similar theme of devotion to Almighty.

Best answer: Christina

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