Difference Between Classical and Folk Dance

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 8, 2022, 5:06

Dance is a traditional art form that involves the body's movement in sync with the rhythm and music. It is performed worldwide to express emotion, tell a story, or as a form of exercise. Classical and folk dance are two traditional dance forms of India practised for centuries. Let's look at the Difference Between Classical and Folk Dance.

What is a Classical Dance?

Classical dance is a highly stylized dance form intended for performance by professionals. Their origin can be traced to the ancient Sanskrit text 'Natya Shastra,' written by Bharata Muni.

Classical dances have well-developed techniques, grammar, and style of execution. They are characterized by grace, composition, the precision of movement, and elaborate gestures. Many also include 'abhinaya,' the art of expression to evoke desired emotion in the spectators.

Classical dance training is often rigorous and taught through Guru-Shisya tradition for centuries.

What is a Folk Dance?

Folk dance is a simpler dance form that reflects the lives of ordinary people. They are often performed in groups to the tune of local music.

Folk dances defer from region to region. They are created for recreational or celebratory purposes and performed during weddings, festivals, or agricultural harvest. Since it's an informal dance form, it does not require any special training. All you need is energy and enthusiasm to perform this fun dance.

Some of the famous folk dances of India are Ghoomar, Garba, Dandiya, Bhangra, Lavani, etc.

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Difference Between Classical and Folk Dance

Following are some of the significant Difference Between Classical and Folk Dance.

Basis of Difference

Classical Dance

Folk Dance

Nature

Classical dance is a formal dance form. The performer needs to meet the technicalities and learn postures and precision to give justice to this dance form.

Folk dance can be performed by anyone. This informal dance form can be performed anytime, anywhere, and any common man can choreograph the dance.

Complexities

Classical dance is complex and challenging to learn. It is often taught by professional gurus, who are masters of the art. The dance has many technical, rhythmic, spatial, lyrical, and emotional aspects involved. It takes years of rigorous training to be able to perform in front of an audience.

Unlike classical, folk dances are easy to learn. They are more about fun and merry-making than perfecting the art form.

Origin

Classical dance is believed to have originated from high society circles, like royal courts and temple complexes. The dance form started around 200 BCE in India. Many dancers improvised the dance form over the years to bring it to the present-day state.

Folk dances are common people's dances that originated locally. That is why they differ from place to place.

Performance

Classical dance can be performed solo or in groups.

Folk dances are usually performed in groups during gatherings.

Dance forms

Today, India has eight classical dances:

  • Bharatanatyam - Tamil Nadu
  • Kathak - Uttar Pradesh
  • Odissi - Odisha
  • Kathakali - Kerala
  • Kuchipudi - Andhra Pradesh
  • Sattriya - Assam
  • Manipuri - Manipur
  • Mohiniyattam - Kerala

Folk and tribal dances in India are numerous, originating from different states.

Dance, be it classical or folk, are our heritage and needs to be preserved. This can be done by encouraging and recognizing young talents and promoting the performance of rare dance forms time and again.

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FAQs on the Difference Between Classical and Folk Dance

Q.1. What is the Difference Between Classical and Folk Dance in terms of nature?

The Difference Between Classical and Folk Dance in terms of nature is that classical dance is a highly stylized dance form intended for performance by professionals whereas folk dance is a locally originated simple dance form performed by ordinary people.

Q.2. What is the Difference Between Classical and Folk Dance in origin?

The Difference Between Classical and Folk Dance in origin is that classical dance is believed to have originated from high society circles, like royal courts and temple complexes whereas folk dance originated locally.

Q.3 What is the Difference Between Classical and Folk Dance in complexity?

The Difference Between Classical and Folk Dance in complexity is that classical dance is more complex and challenging to learn when compared to folk dance.

Q.4. What is the Difference Between Classical and Folk Dance in performance?

The Difference Between Classical and Folk Dance in performances is that classical dance can be performed solo or in groups, whereas folk dances are usually performed in groups during gatherings.