Kathak is one of the eight forms of Indian classical dance. This dance form traces its origins to the nomadic bards of ancient northern India, known as Kathakars or storytellers. Its form today contains traces of temple and ritual dances, and the influence of the bhakti movement.
There are three major schools or gharana of Kathak from which performers today generally draw their lineage: the gharanas of Jaipur, Lucknow and Varanasi (born in the courts of the Kachwaha Rajput kings, the Nawab of Oudh, and Varanasi respectively); there is also a less prominent (and later) Raigarh gharana which amalgamated technique from all three preceding gharanas but became famous for its own distinctive compositions.
Bharathanatyam is a form of Indian classical dance that originated in the temples of Tamil Nadu.It was described in the treatise Natya Shastra by Bharata around the beginning of the common era. Bharata Natyam is known for its grace, elegance, purity, tenderness, expression and sculpturesque poses. Lord Shiva in his Nataraja form is considered the God of this dance. Today, it is one of the most popular and widely performed dance styles and is practiced by male and female dancers all over the world, although it is more commonly danced by women.
Some Bharata Natyam techniques can be traced back to the Kaisiki style.
Manipuri dance is one of the major Indian classical dance forms. It originates from Manipur, a state in north-eastern India on the border with Burma. In Manipur, surrounded by mountains and geographically isolated at the meeting point of the orient and mainland India, the form developed its own specific aesthetics, values, conventions and ethics.
Manipuri dance is purely religious and its aim is a spiritual experience. Development of music and dance has through religious festivals and daily activities of the Manipuri people.
In the hilly regions of the north west, the Kokna tribal dance to the accompaniment of the tarpha or pavri, a wind instrument made of dried gourd. Because of this, the dance is known as Tarpha Nach or Pavri Nach. The performers hold each other by the waist and dance in close formation. Men also dance separately, and this includes feats of skill, like forming a pyramid or rapidly revolving a dancer round a stout pole.
Lavani is a combination of traditional song and dance, which is particularly performed to the beats of Dholki, a percussion instrument.
Garba is customarily performed by women, the dance involves circular patterns of movement and rhythmic clapping. It popularly performed during Navratri. The word comes from "garbha deep" which is translated as either light in the inner sanctum of the temple or lamp inside a perforated earthen pot (which is often used in the dance).
The Tippani Dance originated from the Chorwad region of Saurashtra. Labourer women take a wooden rod, sometimes tipped with iron at one end, to beat the floor.