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Indian Classical Dances
Native to Tamil Nadu (a state in Southern India), Bharatanatyam is one of the popular Indian classical dance forms. Previously referred to as Sadir, Dasiattam and Thanjavur Natyam, it demands unconditional and complete dedication from the performer. The dynamic and earthy style of this dance makes it one of the most chosen forms of Indian classical art forms. Although Bharatanatyam is predominantly performed by women, men are also known to engage in it. While the women wear a typical sari in the dance performance, men have bare chest and wear a dhoti-like outfit in the lower part of the body.
Kathak, which originated in northern India, represents one of the eight forms of Indian classical dances. The name Kathak has been derived from the Sanskrit word katha, meaning story. Thus, katthaka means the one who tells a story. Kathak focuses more on the footwork of the dancer. The movements are skillfully controlled and performed straight-legged, by dancers wearing the ankle bells (ghunghroo). The costumes and themes of Kathak are often similar to those in Mughal miniature paintings.
Initially, dancers known as katthakas used to perform in village squares and temple courtyards across the country, unfolding mythological and moral tales from the ancient scriptures. They used to support their recitals with hand gestures and facial expressions. Music and dance were used by them to illuminate the story and to enliven it up. With time, this dance took the form of Kathkalakshepam and Harikatha in southern India and came to be known as Kathak in the north
Kuchipudi was introduced as a dance drama, but its present day dispensation tells a different story altogether. It has now been reduced only to dance form, with the drama missing completely. With proficient training and knowledge, the Kuchipudi dancers have started presenting the dance form in their individualistic ways, today. In the present timesd, majority of the Kuchipudi dancers are women. Kuchipudi dramas are enacted during nights, in open air, on improvised stages. The audience generally sits on the ground.
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