DANCES OF INDIA
Dance is a form of communication that brings out the inner most feelings and at the same time helps express what a civilization is all about. Indian Dances are all about connection of the mind with the soul. A dancer has to lead a very disciplined life. All the traditional dances still follow the rules set by Bharata Muni in his 'Natya Shastra'.
The Indian Dance is one of the most well established arts and has been developing for nearly two thousand years!! The dances originated in the temples, where dancing was used to illustrate and depict various Hindu mythologies. The dances were performed by 'Devadasi's' or ladies who dedicated their life to the service of god. It is believed that the gods and goddesses not only appreciate dance but are great dancers as well! Over time, dances were used not only to express devotion to god, but also to portray one's emotion and state of mind.
The supreme manifestation of Indian Dance is Lord Shiva often referred to as Lord Nataraja. 'Nataraja' when translated literally means 'king of dancers'. In many texts of dance, it is believed that Lord Shiva taught man how to dance.
Refer to the pictures of Lord Nataraja shown above, his left leg is lifted above and is said to have crushed a devil and hence this foot is considered to be a "refuge to a devotee". The right leg is planted firmly on a devil who was considered to be the personification of ignorance. Hence the dance that Lord Shiva performs is said to stamp on and completely destroy ignorance. The two upper hands are shown holding fire and a drum representing the power of destruction and creation respectively. In conclusion, in Lord Nataraja's dance, he balances the creative and destructive powers of the universe.
India offers a number of classical dance forms, each one originating from a different part of the country. The most famous forms of classical dance are:
Bharatnatyam from Tamil Nadu
More information on each of the dances mentioned above is available in the links on the top of the page.