Different Dance forms in India (Part - I)

By Naveen Singh|Updated : April 27th, 2019

As you know that questions from Folk dances of different states are usually asked in almost every competitive exam like CDS, CAPF, AFCAT & Air Force Group X & Y etc. So keeping the importance of the topic in mind, below is the list of all important folk dances which will be helpful to cover 1-2 marks in Competitive Exams.

The dance form is an art which is now part of our life & loved by almost all of us. It consists of several human movements with some aesthetic & symbolic value. India is full of vast diversities & beautiful dance forms with different kinds & is identified by the cultures & themes of every state. If we see in past history is also connected with different dance forms

1. Dance forms in Andhra Pradesh are:-


  • Kuchipudi: This danced was originated in the village of Krishna district of the modern era. It is a dance with drama act & has its roots in “Natya Shastra”.
  • Kolakattam: it is the type of the dance form which is performed with sticks & is an exact replica of a dance form performed in Gujarat known as dandia.
  • Veeranatyam: This dance form is related to Lord Shiva. When Lord Shiva got humiliated at the death of Sati.
  • Burrakatha: This is the unique dance form in Andhra Pradesh also known as Jangam Katha. In this dance performance, the main artist recites a tale, plays the music, and then dances on the tunes.
  • Butta Bommalu: a dance form performed where dancers wear mask portraying different characters.
  • Dappu: Dancers perform on the beat of tabla, harmonium & Cymbals while wearing colourful & attractive dresses.
  • Tappeta Gullu: This is a devotional dance form invokes the RainGod.
  • Lambadi: This dance style is performed to celebrate the agriculture section such as the sowing of seeds or loaded harvest.

2. Dance forms in Assam are:-


  • Bagurumba: A folk dance performed by the people of Bodos. Women’s wearing colourful dresses & this is performed in the festival known as Vishuva Sankranti in mid-April. In this festival, cows are being worshipped.
  • Bihu: It is the popular folk dance of Assam. This dance is an integral part of the Bihu festival of Assam & is celebrated in mid-April, during the harvesting time and lasts for about a month.

Other dances being performed are:

  • Bodo's Bagurumba
  • Tea Folk's Jumur Nach
  • Barpeta's Bhortal Nritya
  • Satriya Nritya

3. Dance forms in Bihar are:-


  • Seraikella Chau: it is a popular folk dance of Bihar. Since masks form an important feature of this dance it is called “chhau” which means mask.
  • Kajari Dance: This dance form is accompanied during the monsoon season & lasts for the entire duration of rain.
  • Jhijhian: This dance form is a ritualistic dance form performed usually on no rain day to make the god of rain happy.
  • Paika: This is another dance form which shows the courage & excitement as the theme of this dance form is swords & shields.
  • Bidesia: This dance is the most popular folk dance of Bihar. This dance was originated in the 20th century & is revealed by the Bhojpuri speaking. Thakur is believed to be the father of this dance style.

4. Dance forms in Jammu & Kashmir are:-


  • Rouf: Most popular dance form in the Kashmir valley & is only performed by women during harvesting season.
  • Dhamali: This is a devotional dance performed by men in Kashmir to invoke the blessing of the gods. The flag bearer leads the dancing party in procession.
  • Hikkat: This is a playful dance form of boys & girls in Kashmir. The young ones form couples and the partners, interlocking their arms, hold each other's hands. Joining their feet close, they bend their bodies and heads backwards. Facing each other, they go round and round with perfect precision in a fast dizzy spin.
  • Bhacha Nagma: This dance form is a folk version of Hafiz-Nagma. This dance is a popular form of entertainment for the common masses.

5. Dance forms in Jharkhand are:-


  • Santhal: This dance form is performed by the santhal tribe.
  • Phagua: This dance form is performed by the males during holi festival.
  • Jhumar: This dance form is performed during the harvesting season.
  • Agni: This dance form is described as the god of fire. This dance is performed on the occasion of Bipu or Manda worship.

6. Dance forms in Uttrakhand are:-


Uttrakhand is full of diverse cultures & traditions. Also, it has its roots in different folk dances performed on different festivals with colourful costumes. These dance forms are:

  • Barada Nati
  • Bhotiya Dance
  • Chancheri
  • Chhapeli
  • Langvir Dance
  • Langvir Nritya

7. Dance forms in West Bengal are:-


  • Gambhira: This dance form is originated from hindu community & the theme of dance is based on the fakeness & selfishness of the people.
  • Kalikapatadi: In this dance form the theme showed is based on when lord shiva comes down angrily after killing asura.
  • Nanci: This dance form is performed by the female members in rural areas.
  • Alkap: This is the popular& the oldest dance form of Bengal, started in late 19th It is associated with the festival of lord shiva which is celebrated in the mid of April.
  • Domni: Domni is the prayer or dedication to God.

8. Dance forms in Puducherry are:-


  • Garadi: This dance form is the most popular folk dance & was originated from Hindu mythological epic of Ramayana. This dance theme is based on the Vanar or monkeys from Ramayana. In dance sticks are used as prop.

9. Dance forms in Andaman and Nicobar Islands are:-


  • Andaman and Nicobar is the home to many indigenous tribes Thus this place has an amalgamation of different cultures. And dances of these tribes represent the distinctness in cultures.
  • Nicobari dance is one the most important and oldest traditional dances of Andaman & Nicobar. It is practiced by the Nicobari tribe, who live in the Car Nicobar Island.
  • One can witness the Nicobari dance during the Ossuary Feast, which is more commonly known as the Pig Festival as it is the way of showing one's respect to the departed head of the family.
  • It is generally performed during the full moon, under the swinging palm trees.
  • The dancers wearing coconut leaves sway to the rhythm of traditional songs sung by the leader.

10. Dance forms in Dadar and Nagar Haveli are:-


  • Tarpa is the dance form which is performed on moonlit nights. Mask dance is another colourful form.

11. Dance forms in Daman and Diu are:-


  • The major festivals of Daman & Diu are Garba Festival and Folk Dance Festival. Usually the young generation participate in the garba festival.
  • The Folk Dance Festival is very significant part of the cultural life of Daman and Diu. The dance forms associated with the Folk Dance Festival in Daman and Diu are Mando Dance, Verdigao Dance and Vira Dance. People of all age-groups take part in the Folk Dance Festival.

12. Dance forms in Lakshadweep are:-


  • Lava Dance: This dance is performed specially on the festive occasions of this Island.
  • Kolkali Dance: This dance form is performed only by men’s using sticks in a round circle.
  • Parichakali Dance: In this dance form the bravery of the soldiers is being showed by the theme of this dance. It is performed with the shields & swords & thus also known as Shield dance.

Famous Dancers

  1. Raja & Radha reddy: They have given a new dimension to the old-age art of kuchipudi. Thus, the unique art was awarded by the PADMA SHREE in 1984, the Sahitya Kala Parishad Award in 1990 and the prestigious Sangeet Natak Award in 1992. They have also had the honour of being awarded with the 2nd highest civilian award in India, the Padma Bhushan award of the new millennium, individually but simultaneously in the year 2000.
  2. Yamini reddy: Yamini has toured the United Kingdom, France, the United States and Dubai. In Dublin(Ireland) and Fort Lauderdale (USA), the Mayors presented her with the golden key to the cities. She has been awarded the 'Yuva Ratna Award' Youth Vocational Excellence award, FICCI young achiever's award, Devadasi National Award and Sangeet Natak Akademi Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar for dedication towards Kuchipudi Dance.
  3. Pandit Birju Maharaj: Birju Maharaj has won many accolades, including Padma Vibhushan in 1986, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and the Kalidas Samman. He also received honorary Doctorate degrees from Banaras Hindu University(Varanasi) and Khairagarh University. Filmfare Award for Best Choreography for song 'Mohe Rang Do Laal' from 'Bajirao Mastani' in 2016. He was the recipient of the Lata Mangeshkar Puraskaar in 2002. Bharat Muni Sammaan, 2012 National Film Award for Best Choreography.
  4. Uday Shankar: Best known for fusion style of dance & was popularised in Europe & United States too in 1920s. In 1962, he was awarded by Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's The National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama, with its highest award, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship for lifetime achievement, and in 1971, the Govt. of India, awarded him with its second highest civilian award the Padma Vibhushan.
  5. Sonal Mansingh: An Indian Classical Dancer & choreographer of odissi dancing style. She was awarded by Padma Bhushan (1992), Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1987, and the Padma Vibhushan, also India's second highest civilian award, in 2003; making her the second woman dancer in India to receive such an honour after Balasaraswati.
  6. Balasaraswati: An Indian dancer rendering Bharat Natyam & was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1957 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1977, the third and the second highest civilian honours given by the Government of India. In 1981 she was awarded the Sangeetha Kalasikhamani award of The Indian Fine Arts Society, Chennai. The New York Times dance critic Anna Kisselgoff described her as one of the "supreme performing artists in the world". She was classified as one of the 100 prominent Indians who has shaped the destiny of India.
  7. Rukmini Devi Arundale: She was known as the theosophist dancer. She was honoured with the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award of India, in 1956, for her contribution to arts. The Sangeet Natak Akademi Puraskar (Akademi Award), the highest Indian recognition given to practising artists, was bestowed upon her in 1967 by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy of Music, Dance & Drama. The Animal Welfare Board of India presented her with ‘Prani Mitra’ award in 1968 for her work as an animal rights activist.
  8. Mallika Sarabhai: One of India’s leading classical dancers and choreographers. She won the Best Film Actress Award for, ‘Mena Gurjari’, a Gujarati film, by the Government of Gujarat in 1975. She was granted with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Creative Dance, in 2000. The Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) named her the Woman of the Year in 2003. She became the proud recipient of the Theatre Pasta Theatre Award in 2007. She was honoured by the Government of India with the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award in India, in 2010 in recognition of her invaluable contribution to the arts.
  9. Madhuri Dixit: One of the leading actresses for Indian cinema. She has received six Filmfare Awards, four for Best Actress, one for Best Supporting Actress and one special award. She has been nominated for the Filmfare Award for Best Actress a record fourteen times. She was awarded the Padma Shri, India's fourth-highest civilian award, by the Government of India in 2008.

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