Dance forms in India (Part - II)

By Jyoti Bisht|Updated : March 10th, 2022

Dance forms in India (Part - II): In the Dance Forms in India (Part I), we came up with the prominent classical as well as the folk dance of different States. In this article, we will cover the remaining States Dance forms in India.

India is a country with many different cultures and traditions. The Indian culture is distinct because of its diversity in all areas. Indian folk and tribal dances are influenced by a variety of socioeconomic circumstances and customs.

Indian folk and tribal dances are easy to learn and execute, and they are done to convey delight. We have festivals and celebrations almost every day in India.

Arunachal Pradesh 


Dance performed in Arunachal Pradesh is divided into different categories from different tribes & is performed on special occasions. Some dances are based on drama with different mystical stories. These eight groups are divided into four groups with two sub-groups.

The first group is the part of rituals dance forms, the theme of the second group relates to harvesting & domestication of animals. The third group dance theme is associated with the funeral ceremony in which the soul is guided by the priest & the last fourth group consists of the fertility dance form

  • The Wancho Dance
  • Idu Mishmi Ritual Dance
  • Digaru Mishmi Buiya Dance
  • Khampti Dance
  • Buiya Dance
  • Ka Fifai Dance-Drama
  • Ponung Dance
  • Sadinuktso

These dance forms are performed by the tribes of Arunachal Pradesh & are performed in groups of men & women accompanied by songs. But some of the dances are restricted to men only such as war dance or ritualistic dance of the Buddhist tribe etc.

  • Aji Lamu
  • Chalo
  • Hiirii Khaniing
  • Lion and Peacock dance
  • Pasi Kongki
  • Ponung
  • Popir etc.



  • Pandwani: A traditional folk dance based on the story which depicts the character of Pandavas, leading the character of epic Mahabharata. This dance group is started by the leader & then followed by the rest of the members.
  • Raut Nacha: This dance form is performed by the Yadavs/yaduvanshis group an appreciation towards Lord Krishna. The theme relates to the fight between king Khansa & Lord Krishna.
  • Panthi: A popular dance form performed by the Satnami community on special occasions by installing an idol of Jaitkham.
  • Sua Nacha: This dance form is also known as parrot dance as in this dance style women keep a parrot in between & dance around it in a circle.
  • Karma: This dance form is performed by the tribal groups during the karma festival. Karma is a festival in which the Karma devta is worshipped & is considered as the cause of good & bad fortune.



  • Shigmo: This dance form is performed in March by the Hindu community to celebrate or welcome the spring season.
  • Mussal: This form is cast by the Kshatriyas & the theme is classic warriors celebrating victory.
  • Dekhni: It is a type of Konkani language that means “bewitching beauty”. This solo song with dance is only performed by women’s & the theme of the dance is of a devadasi girl who comes to a riverbank to go to the other side as she has been appointed for a dance in the wedding.
  • Dhalo: This dance form is the oldest as it comes from the ancient folk dance of Goa. In this style usually, two groups are being formed each comprising 12 women’s & it is also a slow dance form. It is performed on the moonlight night in the month of Pausha.
  • Fugdi: The most popular dance form of Goa & also known as Foodgi. The virtue of this dance is that is non-seasonal i.e. performed in all seasons & on all important social & religious occasions.
  • Goff: This dance form is performed during the shigmo festival in which only men participate because the dance theme is based on wars.
  • Kunbi: It is a folk song introduced by the earliest settlers of the tribal community in Goa. This dance form is fast & non-religious, performed in groups by women dancers.
  • Lamp Dance: In this dance form one has to manage these brass lamps with burning wicks on the head & also in the hands. The name of this dance form is derived from the brass lamps used shigmo festival.



  • Tippani Dance: This is a unique dance form performed by the women of the seaside striking the dance floor with sticks.
  • Bhavai: This dance pattern involves only male artists & even the portion of women is performed by males. The theme of this dance is related to social issues of society.
  • Dandiya Raas: The most enjoyable & famous dance form of Gujarat. In this dance form, both men & women participate & perform in a choreographed manner with sticks known as dandiya.
  • Garba: It is the popular dance form of Gujarat & is said to behave an ancient origin. This dance form represents the life cycle from birth to death. Both men’s & women’s wear colorful clothes.



  • Saang: A religious & folk tales-based dance pattern performed in an open place.
  • Chhathi: It is a celebration of the birth of a male child & is celebrated on the sixth day after birth. The dance is performed by the women at night.
  • Khoria: This dance form is similar to the jhumar dance form in which women wears gold work skirts with colorful drape. A circle pattern is formed which is started by one & continued by the rest other females.
  • Dhamal: This form is related to the ancient form of Mahabharata in which the dance is performed on the beat of the dhol, nagara, etc.
  • Jhumar: This dance form is also known as Haryanvi gidda similar to Punjabi gidda in which women perform on the dholak & thali. The origin of the name is from the jhumar worn by married women.
  • Loor: This dance form is usually performed around the Holi festival to welcome the spring season & harvesting of crops.
  • Gugga: Ritualistic male dance dedicated to gugga pir & is usually performed in August.
  • Phag: Seasonal folk dance performed by the local people in the month of Feb-March on the occasion of agricultural harvesting.



Classical Form

  • Mohiniyattam: it is a classical dance form of Kerala. It is derived from the words “Mohini”(beautiful women) and “attam”(dance). It is a beautiful feminine style with a surging flow of body is the tradition of the devadasi system, which later grew and developed a classical status. The credit for reviving the Mohiniattam dance in the nineteenth century goes to Swati Trinual.
  • Kathakali: It is the oldest form of dance, was originated around years ago & is famous worldwide. Generally performed by male dancers with heavy costumes inspiring with the mystical stories.

Folk Forms

  • Theyyam: This dance form is popular & the oldest dance form carried from thousands of years. In this dance, form rituals are being practiced & are famous because of accessibility to lower Century.
  • Thullal: This dance form is a solo & recitation both emerged from
  • Thirvathirakali: This dance form is performed by groups of women during the Onam festival.
  • Duffmuttu or Aravanmuttu: This dance form is particularly for the muslin community. It is performed in Arabic music.
  • Oppana: This dance form also relates to the Muslim community. It is a bridal group dance performed for entertainment.
  • Margamkali: This dance form is very ancient and the most popular artistic performance prevalent among the Syrian Christians of Kerala. It is performed mostly by men on festive occasions.
  • Thitambu Nritham: This dance form is performed by the Namboothiri's other Brahmin communities.


Classical Form

  • Manipuri: It is based on Vaishnavism and spectacular execution of ‘Ras Lila’, dance dramas based on love between Radha and Krishna. Other themes included in this art form are associated with Shaktism, Shaivism and the sylvan deities called Umang Lai during Manipuri festival ‘Lai Haraoba’.

Folk Form

  • Dhol Cholom
  • Thang ta Dance
  • Shim Lam Dance
  • Luivat Pheizak Dance



  • Cheraw Dance: It is the ritual dance performed in the Mizoram in which Men's holding bamboo sticks & girls cross them in & out on the beat.
  • Chheih Lam: This dance symbolizes the completion of the day’s work.



In Nagaland, different dances are performed by different tribes. Some of the dance forms are:

  • Aaluyattu
  • Agurshikukula
  • Butterfly Dance
  • Changai Dance
  • Mayur Dance
  • Leshalpatu
  • Rengma
  • Shankai & Moyashai



Classical Form

  • Oddissi: This dance form is the oldest & the most ancient. It was originated in the Hindu temples & is related to Lord Shiva & Surya. Different religious stories are explained with the help of different mudras as this dance form also has its parts in the medieval era as various temples were built during that period.

Folk Form

  • Chhow: This folk dance is related to war theme dance since ancient times period.
  • Patua Dance: This is a ritual dance form associated with the mother goddess. It is celebrated in the month of March/April in village streets.
  • Ghoomra Dance: This dance form is related to the skin of a reptile. In this form, vibrant dance is performed only by males which are accompanied by drums.
  • Mask Dance: In this dance style a pattern is followed of wearing masks of different creatures such as humans, animals, etc. & is performed in religious festivals.



  • Ghoomar: Dance played by women in a circle form in a clockwise direction then anticlockwise.
  • Kalbelia: This dance form is performed by the women of the kalbelia community.
  • Bhavai: It is the important dance form in which women carry a brass pitcher around 8 or 9 & have to balance it while dancing.
  • Kachchhi Ghodi: In this dance form both men & women take part in which a dummy horse is tied around their waist.



  • Singhi Chham: Also known as Snow lion dance as this dance form shows the legendary snow lion & an important cultural symbol of Sikkim.
  • Yak Chham: This dance form is to honor yak, an animal on which they are dependent for survival.
  • Maruni Dance: In this dance is performed on special occasions like weddings, etc.
  • Khukuri Dance: This dance form is a religious dance form performed while sending soldiers to battle.



Perini Sivatandavam or Perini Thandavam is the only dance & ancient dance form of telagana. This dance form is also known as the dance of warriors as the theme is related to the warriors before leaving the battlefield achieved in front of Lord Shiva.



  • Hojagiri: It is the dance of the tribal community & is based on balance & dedication.
  • Garia: This dance form is performed at Garia puja festival in the month of March-April on the beats of drums.
  • Bijhu: This is a dance form performed on the New Year according to the Bengali calendar.

Uttar Pradesh


Classical Form

  • Kathak

Uttar Pradesh is full of rich heritage & cultures & is formed with different dance- drama combination, Such as

  • Ramlila
  • raslila
  • nautanki
  • naqaal
  • Charukala dance

Tamil Nadu 


Classical Form

  • Bharatanatyam: it is one of the most popular classical Indian dances. It is almost 2000 years old. It is believed that Bharatnatyam was revealed by Lord Brahma to Bharata, a famous sage who then codified this sacred dance in a Sanskrit text called the Natya shastra. Natya shastra divides dance into two distinct forms – nritta and nritya. The Bharatnatyam dance flourished in the Hindu temples of South India. The temple dancers are called Devadasis or servants of God. The present form of Bharatnatyam dance was evolved by Poniah Pillai of Tanjore and his brothers. Formats of Bharatnatyam consist of Alarippu(invocation), Jathi swaram(note combinations), Shabdam(notes and lyrics), Varnam(a combination of pure dance and abhinaya) lighter items like Padams and Javalis (all erotic), and finally the Thillana (again pure dance).

Folk Forms

  • Devarattam: It is a pure folk dance form performed once a year in the near temple but it is restricted to the rajkambalam nayakar community.
  • Kolattam: It means the fun & joy of games. in this sticks of around one foot are held in hands & beaten to make it sharp.
  • Bommalattam: It is the Puppet show held almost in every state during fairs & festivals.

Other dance forms are performed are:

  • Karagattam or Karagam
  • Mayil Attam or Peacock dance
  • Paampu attam or Snake Dance
  • Oyilattam
  • Puliyattam
  • Poikal Kudirai Attam
  • Theru Koothu



  • Yakshagana: The popular Dance drama form believed to be originated in 16th This dance drama is usually performed after winter crops are harvested at night.
  • Bhootha Aradhane: In dance, form Idols are worshipped & characterized by drums & firecrackers.
  • Dollu Kunitha: Another popular ritualistic dance form performed by only men of the shepherd community.
  • Veeragaase Dance: An effective dance form based on Hindu mythology, usually performed in the month of August & November. This dance is performed at Mysore Dasara.
  • Joodu Haligi: A distinct dance form in which a haligi is round made of buffalo hide & played with a short stick.



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  • There are different types of dance forms in Arunachal Pradesh such as The Wancho Dance, Idu Mishmi Ritual Dance, Digaru Mishmi Buiya Dance, Khampti Dance, Buiya Dance, Ka Fifai Dance-Drama and Ponung Dance etc.

  • There are different types of dance forms in Gujarat such as Tippani Dance, Bhavai, Dandiya Raas, and Garba.

  • There are different types of dance forms in Kerala such as Mohiniyattam, Kathakali, Theyyam, Thullal, Thirvathirakali and more other forms which are detailed in the article.

  • There are different types of dance forms in Nagaland such as Aaluyattu, Agurshikukula, Butterfly Dance

    Changai Dance, Mayur Dance, Leshalpatu, Rengma, Shankai & Moyashai.

  • There are different types of dance forms in Sikkim such as Singhi Chham, Yak Chham, Maruni Dance, and Khukuri Dance.

  • There are different types of dance forms in Uttar Pradesh such as Kathak, Ramlila, raslila, nautanki

    naqaal, and Charukala dance.

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