The genesis of the contemporary styles of classical dances can be traced to the period between 1300-1400 A.D. India offers a number of classical dance forms, each of which can be traced to different parts of the country. Each form represents the culture and ethos of a particular region or a group of people. The most popular classical styles seen on the Indian stage are Bharatnatyam of Tamil Nadu, Kathakali and Mohiniyattam of Kerala, Odissi of Orissa, Kathak of Uttar Pradesh, Kuchipudi of Andhra Pradesh and Manipuri of Manipur. Besides these, there are several semi-classical dances that contribute to the plethora of Indian dances.

Apart from the classical dances, India is particularly rich in folk idioms. Each area has its own special varieties, be they martial, seasonal, ritual, sacrificial, celebratory, instructional or talismanic. It can vary from village to village, but they all share a common heritage of myths and symbols. Some of the folk forms of India are Chauu dance of Bihar, Garba of Gujarat and Bhangra of Punjab and Banjara of Andhra Pradesh.


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"Spirituality is the core of Indian art. Evolved out of spiritual passions, art in India has gone hand in hand with religion since time immemorial. Be it sculpture, architecture, painting, dance, music, the theme of the artist is rooted in religion; the urge is as much spiritual as asthetic. While religion is a matter of faith, spirituality is a divine experience of communion with the divine. All the Indian art-forms have been attuned to this ideal." (from Odissi Dance by D.N. Patnaik)