List the Indian Famous Classical Dances.

List of the famous Indian Classical Dances are:


is perhaps the oldest among the contemporary classical dance forms of India. Its claim to antiquity rests not on its association with the Natyashastra, as also on the overwhelming literary, sculptural and historical evidence on Bharatnatyam. The present form of Bharatnatyam crystallized as a solo dance about the, 19th century, primarily through remarkable contribution of four brothers from Tanjore, Channaya, Pannayya, Vedevelu and Sivanandam. In the villages of Tamil Nadu Bharatnatyam  continued as part of the presentation of the Bhagvata Mela tradition. It was performed by men only.

The efforts of E.Krishna Iyer and later on other pioneers, revived Bharatnatyam as a dance of classical repute. Subsequently, Rukmani Devi decided to study Bharatnatyam under the rant old master Meeriakshi Sundaram Pillai and from Mylapura Gate Amma. In 1936 she gave her first performance.

This was the lighting of a new fire. The post-Independence period was an era of revival and reconstruction. Institutions begun by Rukmani Devi, recitals performed by Balsaraswati and disciples trained by Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai, such as Shanta Rao, all left a deep impact.


is one of the mist popular dance forms of North India. It is, also called the Natwari dance. The genesis of this dance is commonly traced from the word Kathak figuring in ancient Sanskrit laxicons. It indicated the existence of a community of story tellers through enacting the vat-ions parts of the story. The Jain religious literature also mentions a specific category of people  the entertainers through a word Kahag. In its present from Kathak was developed and given patronage in the court of the Nawabs of Awadh.

One noticeable deviation from the original structure of Kathak during its growth in Awadh is the preponderance of sensuous elements. Musical forms such as tappa and thumri now provided the rhythmic base for the dance. The two percussion instruments that have come to be used heavily in Kathak Performance are tabla and pakhawaj.

Kathak has been promoted through three main gharanas  Lucknow, Jaipur, and Banaras. In fact the Jaipur and Banaras gharanas owe their origin to the Lucknow gharana. The kings of Kathak, Lachhu Maharaja and Shambhu Maharaj, belong to Lucknow.

The gharana was founded by their grandfather Maharaj Thakur Prasad, who was a couturier and the dance teacher of Nawan Wajid Ali Shah. His two sons, Maliaraj Kalka Prasad and Bindadin did yeoman service to the cause of Kathak. Some of the other important artists have been Birju Maharaj, Gopi, Krishna, Sitara Devi, Damyani Joshi, etc.


Kathakali is the dance from the southern most state of India  its center has been the region of Kerala and Maslabar. The genesis of the word kathakali is traced to a combination of Katha and Kali, the literal meaning of which is dance drama. This tradition of dance drama has been popular in the Malabar region primarily in the form of Krishna and Rama ballets.

The same Flok part was rechristened, in the 17th century A.D. by the ruler of  Travancore State, Maharaja Veerkeral Verma, as Kathakali. The lyrics used in this dance seem to be influenced very largely by Jaidev’s Gita-Govinda. One of the peculiarities of this dance form is its costume and very elaborate make-up of the face. In this respect Kathkali has presented and also kept alive and continued the ancient dance-dramas of Kerala, such as Chakkiyarkuthu and Kuttiyattam.

The face is mostly painted with red and yellow and the eyes and eye lashes are adorned with lines in White all around. These white lines are known as Chittee. The head dress in Kathkali is of special significance as it also defined the hierarchical status of different artists participating in the performance. .

The beginning of the performance is preceded by Chaidakaran, a ritual playing of drums. Traditionally the stage presentation of this dance was immediately preceded by a practice session called sevakali and undertaken in the precincts of a temple. Late Shankaram Namboodiri and Gopinath have been Kathkali artists of repute. In the propagation of this dance form late Vallatil, the famous poet and dancer of Kerala had done tireless work. He had made it suitable to the requirements of changing times. An organization, know as Keral Kala Mandalam, was set up by him and has since done commendable work.

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