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Dance in India

From Classical to Bollywood 

Body picks up the melody  I  Hands show the meaning  I  Feet beat the rhythm  I  Eyes express the feelings

Indian dance is an integral part of Indian culture and expression throughout history and to the present day. Historically, dance and theatre were integrated art forms in India; today, storytelling and acting are still significant components in the classical dance forms of India. Both theatre and dance in India are based on a treatise called the Natya Shastra, which outlined the techniques and theories underlying the practice of dance and theatre addressing everything from body movements to hand gestures, to facial expressions. Originally dance in India was performed in temples, for religious and festive occasions, and as a form of entertainment, with strong relationship to the Indian rituals and mythology. Gradually, dance moved from the Temples to the Royal Courts for the Kings’ appreciations. The royal support on music expanded its scope beyond religious mythological narratives, to the valor and accolades of the kings. The dance and music practices also became more sophisticated. Nowadays, classical Indian dance is performed in both temples and auditoriums. Folk dances of India are performed on various festive occasions in a range of venues, and Bollywood – the contemporary fusion dance style born out of the Indian film industry is performed on-screen and at live entertainment shows.


Classical dance

Classical dance in India is comparable to the art of Ballet in terms of its vigor, technique, and years involved for mastery. There are 8 different styles of classical dance: Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Kathakali, Gaudiya Nritya, Sattriya, Manipuri and Mohiniyattam. They vary in terms of style, practice, narrative, and even music depending on the origination.


Folk dance

There are a variety of regional folk dances of India that vary in terms of both style and music. They are performed on various celebratory occasions, such as religious rites and festivities, harvests, seasonal events, and for pure joy and entertainment. These styles of dance are easier to learn and tend to be a bonding experience for members of the community.

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Bollywood dance

Bollywood is a term popularly used for the Mumbai-based Hindi-language film industry in India. The wide range of hybrid dances performed in the films are known as ‘Bollywood Dance’. Bollywood language movies are primarily in Hindi with a spattering of English and Hinglish (combination of Hindi and English words). Other Indian cinema includes Tollywood (Telugu Language Film Industry), Kollywood (Tamil Language Film Industry), Malluwood (Malayalam) and so on. Bollywood dance does vary in style compared to South Indian Film dance (Tollywood, Kollywood, and Malluwood) that sports its own distinct flavor and moves. The majority of Bollywood films are movie musicals, many were filmed in Europe, North America, and Australia, the stories tend to be melodramatic, picturesque, and impressive. Being one of the largest film productions, the term ‘Bollywood’ was officially adopted by the Oxford English Dictionary.



Classical dance elements 

Hasta refers to the expressive hand gestures used in Indian classical dance to convey a variety of emotions, stories, and objects.

Each gesture or 'mudra' is meticulously defined and serves as a critical element in the narrative and aesthetic delivery of a dance performance. These gestures are integral to the communication between the performer and the audience, transcending language barriers with visual poetry.

Asamyuta Hasta

Classical dance elements 

Asamyuta Hastas are single-hand gestures used in Indian classical dance. Each gesture can depict different entities such as animals, elements, and emotions.


Pataka Hasta


Mayura Hasta


Musti Hasta

Samyukta Hasta

Classical dance elements 

Samyukta Hastas involve the use of both hands together to form gestures in Indian classical dance. These gestures are used to represent more complex ideas or images, such as the opening of a flower or the form of a particular deity.


Anjali Hasta


Katakavardhana Hasta


Dola Hasta


Outreach Programme

(School/ Organization)

In order to connect and empower people of different abilities through the power of dance, we work with different organizations and step into the community. Please feel free to discuss with us your ideas and objectives, we can tailor our programmes for you to explore various aspects of the Indian culture.


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