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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

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Monday, May 28, 2007

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

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Districts of India


Districts of India


There are 604 districts in India administered by their respective State/Union Territorie governments. Visit Districts of India, which provides all the information about Districts of India at one place on the web.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Common Props in Indian Dance


MATKAS (decorated pots):
Matkas only add color to the attire of the dancers. They have been the inspiration and an object of fascination behind many dances. These signify the dances from all parts of the country especially western states. Dancers put such 7-8 beautifully decorated colourful matkas on their heads & dance balancing them.

BAMBOO STICKS :
Who doesn't like to play with bamboo sticks? But dancing with them does sure guarantee more fun. Whether it Mizo dance from east or Bhangra from North, dancers display their breath-taking skills with this prop as no other dance in the world does!

DUPATTAS (Scarves):
These pieces of cloth are symbolic to the different colors representing the spirit of dance altogether. Some tie it on the tip of their index fingers & dance and some place it around neck where as others dance with the cloth widespread. These are basically used to celebrate the time of spring and harvest.

DANDIYAS :
Dandiyas are again beautifully decorated colorful (much smaller than bamboo) sticks used in the most popular 'dandiya' dance of Gujarat. Girls and boys go playing with these sticks during the dance, in a formation of circles, dancing clockwise & anticlockwise respectively. The sound of the striking of these sticks with one another are in the tune with the dandiya songs/beats.

MASKS :
Different Maks represent different moods of human beings (like Red represents Anger) and to a large extent also convey the message and meaning of a dance. These masks are generally used in South Indian Classical dances like kudiyattom in which dancers use different masks to elaborate their dance. The characters who do not use the masks have specific facial colours applied to their face.

GHUNGROOS (Ringing ancklets):
Any classical dancer is just incomplete without 'Ghungroos' tied to his/her ankle. The famous tapping dances of India are based on the lilting rhythms of the Ghungroos which combine and transcend one into the another and produce a magical effect.


Musical Instruments in Indian Dance
Tabla
Sitar
Sarod
Sarangi
Santoor
Bamboo Flute


Common Props in Indian Dance
Matkas
Bamboo Sticks
Dupattas
Dandiyas
Masks
Ghungroos



Musical Instruments in Indian Dance


TABALA
Tabala is an instrument which has its own compositions along with richness and virtuosity that have made it favourite with artistes and listeners alike. The tabla is a pair of drums in which each drum is played by one hand each. The 'right-hand' drum, called the dayan, is a conical drum-shell carved out of a solid piece of hard wood. The "left-hand' drum, cfalled the bayan, is a hemispherical bowl-shaped drum made of polished copper, bRaass, bronze or clay.

SITAR
Sitar has been India's most favoured Indian classical string instrument for more than a century. Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Vilayat Khan have made the sitar famous in the West for the last fifty years. A sitar has a long neck, twenty metal frets, and six to seven main strings with thirteen sympathetic strings running below the neck. The lower end of the neck has a gourd that acts as a resonator.
Today the sitar is the most popular musical instrument in north India and many classical dances are incomplete without it.

SAROD
Sarod has originated from the Senya rebab, an Indo-Persian instrument played in India from the 16th to the 19th century.

It is popular stringed instrument of Hindustani music. The body is carved from a single piece of well-seasoned teakwook and the belly is covered with goatskin. There are four main strings, six rhythm and drone strings and fifteen sympathetic strings-all made of metal. These are played by striking with a plectrum made of a coconut shell.

SARANGI
Sarani is an instrument whose versatility cannot be doubted. It is regarded as one of the most ancient and difficult stringed instruments to play. The name is derived from the word saurangi, which means 'hundred-coloured', describing its ability to convey a wide range of moods and emotion. Most of the sarangis have three gut playing strings, eleven sympathetic strings tuned on the notes of a raga, and the least twenty-five sympathetic strings. There are as many as sixty variations of the instrument.

SANTOOR
Santoor is a Persian instrument introduced in Indian classicfal music during the 15th century. It was originally known as shata-tanatri-veena or 'hundred-stringedlute'. It is a flat instrument made of a wooden box, which has thirty ofr forty groups of three iron strings, played with two metal forks. When used for playing Indian classical music, the santoor is played with a pair of curved mallets fashioned out of walnut wood and the resultant melodies are reminiscent of music on the piano, or harp or the harpsichord.

BANSURI or BAMBOO FLUTE
Bansuri with its pastoral association and as the chosen instrument of Lod Krishna, is one of the oldest musical instruments of India. A favourite of light music, it has recently been used for classical music. The bansuri is a transversa alto flute made of a single length of bamboo and has six or seven open finger-holes. There are no keys to produce sharps and flats. Therefore, all accidentals and microtones are produced by a unique fingering technique.


Musical Instruments in Indian Dance
Tabla
Sitar
Sarod
Sarangi
Santoor
Bamboo Flute


Common Props in Indian Dance
Matkas
Bamboo Sticks
Dupattas
Dandiyas
Masks
Ghungroos



Elements of Classical Dance


There are some common elements in various dance forms of India, no matter from which region they originate.
Abhinaya is common to all classical dance. It is the expression in dance or nritya. It is the art of telling a story through hastas or gestures, movement and facial expressions. In contrast, nritta signifies pure expressional meaning and sympolism. It is a movement that has beauty but does not tell a story. Abhinaya has been categorised in the Natya Shastra into four types:

* Angika or physical where every part of the body is used to convey a meaning with hasta mudras (hand gestures),mandis (postures) and even the walk of the dancer.

* Vachikabhinaya is the vocal/verbal aspect as used today by members of the orchestra or the supporting non-dancing cast.

* Aharyabhinaya or external expression, mood and background as conveyed by costume, make-up, accessories and sets.

* Satvikabhinaya or psychological expression as shown by the eyes in particular and as a whole by the entire being of the performer, who feels the mood, the character and the emotion as emanating from the self, not as an act or practical presentation.

All dance forms revolve around the nine rasas or emotion: shringar (love), hasya (happiness), krodha (anger), bhibasta (disdain or revulsion), bhaya (fear), veerata (courage), karuna (compassion), adbhuta (wonder) and shanta (serenity). The dance forms follow the same hand gestures, or hasta mudras, for each of these rasas.

Abhinaya is one of the specialised aspects of dance and is considered the soul of the performances. The great queen of abhinaya is the late Balasaraswati, whose no two performance in Bharatanatyam were ever the same.

The genesis of contemporary styles of classical dance can be traced to the period between AD 1300-1400.Indian offers a number of classical dance forms where each form embodies the influences of the region from which it originates. The links given below provide information about Indian dances as still practiced in India.


BHARATA NATYAM
KATHAKALI
KATHAK
MANIPURI
KUCHIPUDI
ODISSI
MOHINI ATTAM

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Folk Dances Of India - East



Bihu : Bihu is the most popular folk-dance of Assam and is enjoyed by all, be they young and old. Bihu is celebrated to mark the beginning of the spring festival, sometime in mid April.This festival is called the Rongali Bihu.Essentially a festival meant to celebrate the agricultural season, it is celebrated through Bihu dance accompanied by wild and lusty beats of the dhol (drum), pepa (buffalo hornpipe), gogona (a string reed attached to a bamboo piece at the end), takka (a portion of bamboo split to form a clapper) and Bihu songs woven round the theme of love. The most common formation in this dance is the circle or parallel rows. The Bihu dance demonstrates, through song and dance, the soul of the Assamese at its richest. The festival and the dance continue for about a month.
This dance is performed by young men and girls who gather in the open and dance together in separate groups of men and women. A tourist on a visit to Assam, during the harvest season, can witness the Bihu dance is almost every nook and corner of the Brahmaputra vally.

Naga Dance : Naga dance is a popular dance of tribals of Nagaland. Each tribe of the Nagas has its distinct style of performing this dance. The Nagas live in Manipur, Tripura, Nagaland, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Assam.The Nagas, blessed with high cheekbones, almond eyes, sparkling teeth, carrying bronze shields sheathed in bear skin and decorated spears, perform their dance with vigour.

All the Naga tribes have their particular harvest dances, though the most common in the Naga dance. The characteristic feature of the Naga dance is that the dancer dances in an erect posture with movements of the legs. There is a marked restricted use of the torso and the shoulders.

Another dance, the Khamba Lim is pefomed by two groups of men and women and who stand in two rows. This gives us an insight into the inborn reticence of these people.War dances and other dances belonging to distinctive tribes constitute a major art form of Nagaland. In colourful costumes and jewellery, the dancers go through an amazing set of mock-war motion that could prove very dangerous, if one is a little careless. Festivals, marriages, harvests, or other moments of joy are occasions for the Nagas to burst into dance. And a sense of fun and frolic pervades the atmosphere when the Nagas dance.

Hazagiri : This is a dance by the Riangs of Tnpura, held to invoke the blessings of the Goddess Hazagiri, for a good harvest. Goddess Hazagiri is a form of Lakshmi (the Hindu Goddess of wealth). The ceremonies begin with the worship of nine gods and culminate in the worship of the Goddess Hazagiri. The dance begins with women dancing slowly (often with pots on their heads), joined later by men. The dance concludes on an ecstatic note in a fast tempo.

Bamboo Dance: The most colourful and distinctive dance of the people of Mizoram is called the Cheraw. Long bamboo staves are used for this dance, which is why it is called the Bamboo Dance. This is a dance that requires skill and an alert mind.

Nongkrem : The Nongkrem dance of Meghalaya is performed in autumn at Smit, the cultural center of the Khasi Hills. It is performed to commemorate the evolution of the Khasi tribe.

Thang-ta : The kings of Manipur used to encourage the martial arts, through which evolved a variety of combat exercises which later evolved into dances. One of the most thrilling of the dances is the Thang-ta, performed by young men with swords and shields. The drum is the chief musical accompaniment in this dance.

Karma (Munda) : The traditional dance of Bihar gets its name fromthe Karma tree, that is supposed to embody fortune and good luck. The ceremony starts with the planting of trees. Dancers, both men and women, form circles around the tree and dance with their arms around each other's waists.

Ponung : Among the Adis in Arunachal Pradesh, dance had evolved almost into an art form mainly for entertainment and recreation. The 'Ponung' dance of the Adis is performed by teams of young girls in perfect rhythmic unison. Similar group dances in colourful costumes are performed by the Nishis and the Tagins of Upper and Lower Subansin Districts.

Brita or Vrita : One of the most important folk dances of Bengal, it is an invocational dance performed by the barren -women of Bengal who –worship in gratitude for their wish being fulfilled. Quite often, this dance is performed after a recovery from a contagious disease.

Hurka Baul : The Hurka Baul from West Bengal is performed during the cultivation of paddy and maize. After preliminary rituals, the dance is performed in different fields. The dance derives its name from Hurka, the drum which constitutes the only musical accompaniment, and Baul, the sons. The singer narrates a story of battle and heroic deeds and the performers enter from two opposite sides and enact the stories in a series of crisp movements.

Kali Nach : This dance is performed in honour of the Goddess Kali. Here, the performer wears a mask, purified by mantras, dances with a sword and when worked up can give prophetic answers.

Ghanta Patua : For the month of Chaitra, the village streets in Orissa reverberate with the sound of Ghanta (brass song). The Ghanta is played by Ghanta Patuas in accompaniment to their dance on stilts. Ghanta Patuas are non-Brahmin servants of the deities. The dance is closely associated with the worship of the Mother Goddess who has numerous names including Sarala, Hingula,Charchika, Bhagavati, Mangala and Chandi.One of the Ghanta Patuas dresses himself as a female with a black cloth tied on the head. He places the Ghata decorated with flowers and coloured threads on his head and then performs with the Ghata on his head. He also displays a variety of Yogic postures. The Dhol and Ghanta are the accompanying instruments.

Paik : This martial art dance from Orissa is masculine, vigorous, highly structured and full of dignity. The dancers stand facing each other on rows wearing tight dhotis, colourful turbans and holding large shields and swords. In the first phase of the performance, the dancers approach each other slowly, their stance and movements recalling fencing positions. Gradually, the tempo increases and the mock battle begins with mighty jumps and swords being struck.

Dalkhai : The Dalkhai dance is performed in some of the tribes in the Sambalpur district of Orissa. The dance is vigorous and is accompanied by a set of particular musical instruments, played by men, of which the drummers often join the dance. Another version of this dance is the Chain Ghorha, performed by a community of fisher-folk.

classical dances


BHARATA NATYAM    KATHAKALI   KATHAK    MANIPURI    KUCHIPUDI    ODISSI    MOHINI ATTAM   

Folk dances


BHANGRA    DHUMAL    ROUF    LAMA DANCE    PANGI DANCES    LOSAR SHONA CHUKSAM    RAAS   GIDDA    DHAMYAL    DUPH    LAHOOR    DHURANG     MALI DANCE     TERA TALI

BIHU    NAGA DANCE    HAZAGIRI    BAMBOO DANCE    NONGKREM    THANG-TA    KARMA    PONUNG    BRITA OR VRITA    HURKA BAUL    KALI NACH    GANTA PATUA    PAIK   DALKHAI


GENDI     BHAGORIYA    JAWAR     GARBA     DANDIYA     KALA    DINDI    MANDO


DOLLU KUNITHA DANDARIA    KARAGAM    KUMMI    KUTTIYATTAM    
PADAVANI   KOLAM    LAVA    NICOBARESE



Musical Instruments

Folk Dances Of India - South



Dollu Kunitha : The Dollu Kunitha is a popular drum dance of Karnataka.The drum dance is performed by the male members of the shepherd community,known as Kourba. Carrying large drums, decorated with coloured clothes and slung from their necks, the men beat the drums as they dance with nimble movements of the feet and legs. The dance is, at times, accompanied by songs, which are either religious or in praise of war.

Dandaria : This dance is performed by some tribes of Andhra Pradesh during festivals. The dancers, dressed in their best, exchange visits with other villages and are received as honoured guests wherever they go. The old and young men of the tribes dance together, holding sticks, which they strike against one another to keep time.

Karagam : It is the most common form of folk dance in Tamil Nadu, dedicated to Mariamman, the Goddess of health and rain. The Karagam dance is essentially performed by men balancing pots filled with uncooked rice, surrounded by a tall conical bamboo frame covered with flowers. The musical accompaniment comprises a drum and a long pipe.

Kummi : The womenfolk of Tamil Nadu have three closely related dances, which are seen at their best during festivities. The simplest of these is the Kummi, in which the dancers gather in a circle and clap their hands as they dance. An extension to this dance is the Kolattam, where instead of clapping, the participants hold small wooden sticks in their hands and strike them in rhythm as they dance.

Kuttiyattam : Kuttiyattam, a dance from Kerala literally means 'acting together' and the theme for this dance form is taken from mythology. Evolved in the 9th century A.D., Kuttiyattam has two or more characters on stage. The Chakkiars play the male cast and the Nangiars play the female roles while also reciting Sanskrit verses. The performance can last between 6 to 20 days.

Padavani : Padayani is one of the most colourful and spectacular folk arts associated with the festivals of some temples in southern Kerala (Aleppy, Quilon, Pathanamthitta and Kottayam districts). The word Padayani literally means military formations, but in this folk art it is mainly a series of divine and semi-divine impersonations wearing huge masks of different shapes, colours and designs. The most important of the kolams usually presented in a Padayani performance are Bhairavi (Kali), Kalan (God of death), Yakshi (fairy) and Pakshi (bird).

Kolam : The Kolam consists of a huge headgear with many projections with a mask for the face and a chest piece to cover the breast and abdomen of the performer. The dancers wearing kolams perform, as singers recite poems accompanied by the wild and loud rhythm of the instrumentalists.

Lava : This is the colourful dance of the Minicoy Island of Lakshadweep. The dancers wear multi-hued costumes, a headgear and carry special drums. The dance movements are prolific and profuse, and are in rhythm with the drum beats and vocal accompaniment.

Nicobarese : This is the dance of the Nicobarese tribal group residing in the island of Nicobar. The dance is performed during the Ossuary Feast or the Pig Festival. Dedicated to the departed head of the family, the occasion is observed with night long dancing in moonlight under swaying palms. Feasting on island delicacies followed by a pig fight in the morning are the other attractions of the celeration.

classical dances


BHARATA NATYAM    KATHAKALI   KATHAK    MANIPURI    KUCHIPUDI    ODISSI    MOHINI ATTAM   

Folk dances


BHANGRA    DHUMAL    ROUF    LAMA DANCE    PANGI DANCES    LOSAR SHONA CHUKSAM    RAAS   GIDDA    DHAMYAL    DUPH    LAHOOR    DHURANG     MALI DANCE     TERA TALI

BIHU    NAGA DANCE    HAZAGIRI    BAMBOO DANCE    NONGKREM    THANG-TA    KARMA    PONUNG    BRITA OR VRITA    HURKA BAUL    KALI NACH    GANTA PATUA    PAIK   DALKHAI


GENDI     BHAGORIYA    JAWAR     GARBA     DANDIYA     KALA    DINDI    MANDO


DOLLU KUNITHA DANDARIA    KARAGAM    KUMMI    KUTTIYATTAM    
PADAVANI   KOLAM    LAVA    NICOBARESE



Musical Instruments

Folk Dances Of India - West



Gendi : This dance from Madhya Pradesh is usually performed during the rainy season from June to August. The dancer, who has learnt to balance himself on the Gendi, can perform the dance even in water or on marshy surfaces. Children generally perform the dance as intense balance is required. The performers are colourfully attired with belts studded with cowrie shells around their necks. The Gendis are dyed in bright colours.

Bhagoriya: This dance is performed by the Bhils, a large tribe in Madhya Pradesh. It is performed by men and women wearing colourful costumes during Holi. This is a lyrical dance and is an occasion when many young men and women get to find their partners.

Jawar : Jawar is performed in the Bundelkhand area of Madhya Pradesh. It is a harvest dance reflecting the gaiety and joy of the farmers who have reaped a good harvest. The women carry baskets full of jawara (millet) on their heads and are able to balance these baskets while dancing. The accompaniments include a rich variety of percussion, stringed and wind instruments.

Garba : Garba, the leading dance of women in Gujarat, is performed in honour of the Goddess Amba. This fertility dance involves perforated earthen pots in which an oil lamp is placed symbolizing embryonic life. The pots are balanced on women's heads as they move around a circle, snapping their fingers and clapping their hands to produce a fast beat. When men dance, by singing and clapping, the dance is known as Garbi. Traditionally, the Garba was performed only at night and as a votive offering. In an evolved version, the dance can be performed for its own sake and at any time.

Dandiya Raas : Dandiya Raas is a very popular folk dance of Gujarat which is nowadays danced in every nook and corner of other parts of India too.Dandiya Raas is the most ancient dance of Gujarat and is popular among the urban and the rural folk alike.This folk dance, known as Raas, originated approximately 5,000 years ago. The performance is an all-time favourite dance of Gujaratis. It is usually performed during the festival of Navaratri.
Dandiya Raas is a simple, rhythmic dance performed by young people moving around in imaginary circles with measured steps to the beat of two dandiya (sticks) that each dancer carries in his or her hands. The beat for the dance is kept by striking the two sticks with each other in one's hands and sometimes with the sticks of the other dancer. The beat can even be maintained by clapping the hands. Ideally a circle of men move in either a clockwise direction while the circle of women move in an anti-clockwise direction or vice versa. The songs sung as an accompaniment are essentially amorous.

Dandiya Raas is a very energetic, colourful and playful dance providing a good opportunity to the young men and women for acting and exchanging messages through eye contact.

Kala : This dance is performed in Maharashtra on the birthday of Lord Krishna and is connected with the breaking of a dahi handi (pot of curd). The dance recreates one of the Lilas (stories) of the early life of Lord Krishna. A pot is tied to a rope and hung between two storeys of houses. The dancers then form a pyramidal structure and with arms stretched and holding each other's shoulders, tier upon tier is formed, until the boy who plays the part of Krishna can reach the handi. He then breaks the pot and lets the buttermilk and the kala (rice mixed with curd and condiments flow out).

Dindi : In the state of Maharashtra, religious devotional dances are called Dindi. The musicians for this dance comprise a 'Mridangam' player and a vocalist who give the dancers the necessary musical background. This dance is usually performed on the Ekadashi day in the month of Kartik.

Mando : Mando is a semi urban folk form, evolved by the Goan aristocracy. It begins on a slow and sad note but ends with a faster beat called Dulpod. Latter day compositions cover a variety of themes and moods distinct from the traditional compositions. Some of the other folk dances of Goa are, Ghode Modni (dances with effigies of horses), Dekhni, Dhangar, Tonyamel, Suvari and Jagar.

classical dances


BHARATA NATYAM    KATHAKALI   KATHAK    MANIPURI    KUCHIPUDI    ODISSI    MOHINI ATTAM   

Folk dances


BHANGRA    DHUMAL    ROUF    LAMA DANCE    PANGI DANCES    LOSAR SHONA CHUKSAM    RAAS   GIDDA    DHAMYAL    DUPH    LAHOOR    DHURANG     MALI DANCE     TERA TALI

BIHU    NAGA DANCE    HAZAGIRI    BAMBOO DANCE    NONGKREM    THANG-TA    KARMA    PONUNG    BRITA OR VRITA    HURKA BAUL    KALI NACH    GANTA PATUA    PAIK   DALKHAI


GENDI     BHAGORIYA    JAWAR     GARBA     DANDIYA     KALA    DINDI    MANDO


DOLLU KUNITHA DANDARIA    KARAGAM    KUMMI    KUTTIYATTAM    
PADAVANI   KOLAM    LAVA    NICOBARESE



Musical Instruments

Folk Dances Of India - North



Bhangra : Bhangra is a popular dance of Punjab, performed by men. Shouts of "Hoye, balle.....balle" are the magic words that can send any Punjabi into rapture.There is no other dance than Bhangra, It is a robust dance performed during the Baisakhi festival. The dance is accompanied by the dholak (drums). The drummer usually takes his place in the centre of a circle of people dancing.

Dumal : The Dumhal is a dance performed by men in the Wattal tribe of Kashmir. The performers wear long colourful robes and tall conical caps, which are studded with beads and shells. These performers move in a procession, carrying a banner in a ceremonial fashion. This banner is then dug into the ground and the men begin to dance, forming a circle. The musical accompaniment comprises of a drum and the singing of the participants.

Rouf : The Rouf is a dance which is performed to mystical poetry during springtime in Kashmir. The performers divide themselves into two rows facing each other. The dancers put their arms around the shoulders of the dancers next to them and the resulting formation glides forwards and backwards. Rouf is also related to chorus singing called Chakri.

Lama Dances : Lama dances are festival mask dances of the monasteries of Jammu & Kashmir, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and other regions along the Himalayan belt. The dances are characterized by slow movements, open positions and large circular whirls. The mask dancers represent divine, human and animal life as well as martial art techniques. Each Lama dance is distinct and yet amazingly similar in respect of movement patterns.

Pangi Dances : These dances in the state of Himachal Pradesh usually begin with a single file entry of men and women separately. The two rows then form half concentric circles and move clockwise. This is then followed by the two rows forming one large circle and moving clockwise. Later, two concentric circles are formed with the men moving clock-wise and the women moving anti-clockwise. The initial holding of hands becomes a pattern with interlocking arms at the waist level, forming attractive designs.

Losar Shona Chuksam : This dance of the Kinnaur district in Himachal Pradesh is a functional dance with passages of mime and other sequences, which are purely abstract. Slow movements with soft knee dips are the key characteristics of this dance. The dance is held during the months of April-May in which the dancers recreate movements of sowing and reaping ogla (barley) and phaphar (a local grain).

Raas : The dance is performed during the Dussehra festival in the Kulu district of Himachal Pradesh. Based on human love stories unlike the traditional Raas, the dance is characterized by chain formations and concentric circles.

Gidda : The Gidda is an ancient dance from the state of Punjab and has simple graceful movement. It is performed in open courtyards by women. The dance begins in a circle, which then breaks into two semi circles and groups of four or six.

Dhamyal : The leading dance of Haryana, Dhamyal is also known as the Duph. The Duph is a circular drum, played nimbly by the men dancers. The dance can be performed by men alone or along with women.

Duph : In this dance from Haryana the dancer enters the dancing arena with a duph in hand and begins dancing slowly, with percussion instruments playing softly. Rows of people then form a circle and the tempo of the dance increases. The steps are limited and the torso is held erect, as the dancer is continuously required to play on the large duph.

Lahoor : The Lahoor is a dance performed by women in Haryana. It is mainly performed during springtime, after the work in the fields is over. The dance is often accompanied by witty questions and retorts rendered in a sing-song manner.

Dhurang : This dance from Uttar Pradesh is connected with the death ceremony. Its objective is to liberate the soul of the dead from evil spirits. Dancers in the Dhurang hold swords and dance in a circle. The movements are virile and reminiscent of the hunting dances of the Nagas on the eastern borders of India.

Mali Dance : A dance performed by women to receive the bridegroom's party on the occasion of a marriage. The dancers are veiled and have flaming brass pots on their head. They squat, recline and jump dexterously with these pots on their heads. The dance ends when the flames of the pots die out. This dance is from the state of Rajasthan.

Tera Tali : This dance trom Rajasthan is performed by two or three women, their faces covered with a veil. They have a naked sword between their teeth and balance decorated pots on their heads. The women produce a variety of sounds with the manjira (small cymbals) in their hands as they shift or slide on the ground.

classical dances


BHARATA NATYAM    KATHAKALI   KATHAK    MANIPURI    KUCHIPUDI    ODISSI    MOHINI ATTAM   

Folk dances


BHANGRA    DHUMAL    ROUF    LAMA DANCE    PANGI DANCES    LOSAR SHONA CHUKSAM    RAAS   GIDDA    DHAMYAL    DUPH    LAHOOR    DHURANG     MALI DANCE     TERA TALI

BIHU    NAGA DANCE    HAZAGIRI    BAMBOO DANCE    NONGKREM    THANG-TA    KARMA    PONUNG    BRITA OR VRITA    HURKA BAUL    KALI NACH    GANTA PATUA    PAIK   DALKHAI


GENDI     BHAGORIYA    JAWAR     GARBA     DANDIYA     KALA    DINDI    MANDO


DOLLU KUNITHA DANDARIA    KARAGAM    KUMMI    KUTTIYATTAM    
PADAVANI   KOLAM    LAVA    NICOBARESE



Musical Instruments

DANCES OF INDIA - MOHINIATTAM


Mohiniattam, is essentially a feminine dance of Kerala recorded to have begun between the 3rd and 8th century AD. Legend says the Lord Vishnu took the form of Mohini to entice the asuras (demons). During the churning of the ocean, the asuras rushed towards the bowl of nectar. Vishnu appeared in the feminine form of Mohini to entice the asuras and took the bowl away.
Literally meaning the dance of the enchantress, Mohiniyattam was mainly performed in the temple precincts of Kerala. This dance form found acceptance in the 16th century and in 19th century Maharaja Swati Tirunal of Travancore encouraged it. The most popular padams in Mohiniattam, composed by Swati Tirunal, describe the heroine's yearning for her lover. Lord Vishnu or Sri Krishna is more often the hero.

Mohiniattam was conceived as a form of social diversion. It is essentially a solo dance performed by women with tender and graceful body movements in the lasy style. Hand gestures play an important role as a communication system. The dominant emotion in this dance form is shringara or love for the Divine.

The dancer wears a white sari resplendent in a gold border. On festive occasions, young girls perform this dance ina circle with simple movements, while singing songs.

The repertoirs of Mohiniattam follows closely that of Bharatanatyam. Mohiniattam, like other forms, follows the Hasthalakshana Deepika as textbook of hand gestures. The basic steps in this dance form are adavus-toganam, jaganam,dhaganam and sammisram. The adavus or steps are set to musical compositions. The varnam has a simple format with greater emphasis on abhinaya and less on nritta or pure dance.

The performance begins with Ganapati stuti or invocation followed by mukhachalam, a pure dance item in which the graceful delineation of charcteristic movements is seen. The repertoire of Mohiniattam consists of five principal items, starting with cholkettu, then vrnam, jatiswaram, padam and concluding with tillana. Varnam combines pure and expressional dance, while padam tests the histrionic talent of a dancer and tillana reveals her technical artistry. Jayadevas Gita-Govinda is most popularly performed to depict the divine love of Radha and Sri Krishna.

The most well-known performers of this dance are Ms Kanak Rele and Ms Bharati Shivaji.

classical dances


BHARATA NATYAM    KATHAKALI   KATHAK    MANIPURI    KUCHIPUDI    ODISSI    MOHINI ATTAM   

Folk dances


BHANGRA    DHUMAL    ROUF    LAMA DANCE    PANGI DANCES    LOSAR SHONA CHUKSAM    RAAS   GIDDA    DHAMYAL    DUPH    LAHOOR    DHURANG     MALI DANCE     TERA TALI

BIHU    NAGA DANCE    HAZAGIRI    BAMBOO DANCE    NONGKREM    THANG-TA    KARMA    PONUNG    BRITA OR VRITA    HURKA BAUL    KALI NACH    GANTA PATUA    PAIK   DALKHAI


GENDI     BHAGORIYA    JAWAR     GARBA     DANDIYA     KALA    DINDI    MANDO


DOLLU KUNITHA DANDARIA    KARAGAM    KUMMI    KUTTIYATTAM    
PADAVANI   KOLAM    LAVA    NICOBARESE



Musical Instruments

DANCES OF INDIA - ODISSI


Odissi, is a popular dance form of Orissa the lies on the eastern coast of India. This area is studded with caves and temples. The walls of Rani-Gumpha cave at Udayagiri are adorned with sculpture of a dancer accompanied by musicians performing in front of a king. It is assumed that the roots of this performing art had their genesis in 2nd century AD According to the local inhabitants, Lord Shiva and his son Ganesh taught dance to a beautiful apsara (dancer from heaven) called Manirambha. Shiva was found portrayed as Nataraja in the postures of tandava dance in parasurameswar temple. They also believe that sometime between 2nd century BC and 2nd century AD Sage Bharata taught the dance to Sage Attahas, who taught it to the maharis-the temple dances of Orissa or Odhradesh as it was called then. Poet Jayadeva wrote a beautiful Sanskrit poem called Gita-Govinda, that is about the love of Radha for Sri Krishna and her desire to be united with him. Radha became central during the Chaitanya era from 16th century onwards. The neo-Vaisnavism of this period created the right environment for development of the dance tradition.
The maharis lived as servants of the deity, Lord Jagannath and on support from the temple funds. Maharis were the only ones to be permitted into the inner shrine of the temple. Then there were the nachunis who danced in the royal court. Finally there were gotipusa or young boys who were trained in gymnastics and performed before the public. With the advent of British, the maharis faded out of the picture and the nachunis too disappeared. only gotipuas survived and from them the Odissi dance style developed. Some artistes even revived the dying art of Odissi by looking at sculptures carved on walls of temples and by studying the treatise, Abhinaya Chandrika.

Odissi has emerged as a sculpturesque dance style in which the head, bust and torso move in soft flowing movements to express specific moods and emotions. The basic chawka position is a half-sitting posture used constantly by the dancer. The form is curvaceous, based on the tribhang or division of body into three parts-head, bust and torso. The mudras and expressions and similar to those of Bharatanatyam. The dance is replete with love for Sri Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Load Vishnu.

Odissi is divided into nritta (pure dance) and abhinaya (ecpressional dance). In a classical Odissi performance, the invocatory dance is called mangalacharan. The dancer enters carrying flowers to place before the image of Lord Jagannath on the stage or the dancer can begin her performance with bhoomi pranam. Sanskrit slokas are recited in praise of Ganesh, Saraswati and Vishnu. Mangalacharan is performed with the hands joined in anjali in front of the heart in greeting. This includes movement in eight directions to cover the stage and concludes with trikhandi pranam, hands held aloft to the gods,the guru and the rasikas (the audience). The recital continues with vatu nrittya, which paints the entire gamut of Odissi nritta. The instruments used in Odissi are the mardala (drum), the manjira (cymbals), the flute and the violin. The dancer wears the typical Oriya sari and silver jewellery.

The legendary figure in Odissi dance is Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, Who with his disciple, the late Sanjukta Panigrahi contributed to the establishment of this style.

classical dances


BHARATA NATYAM    KATHAKALI   KATHAK    MANIPURI    KUCHIPUDI    ODISSI    MOHINI ATTAM   

Folk dances


BHANGRA    DHUMAL    ROUF    LAMA DANCE    PANGI DANCES    LOSAR SHONA CHUKSAM    RAAS   GIDDA    DHAMYAL    DUPH    LAHOOR    DHURANG     MALI DANCE     TERA TALI

BIHU    NAGA DANCE    HAZAGIRI    BAMBOO DANCE    NONGKREM    THANG-TA    KARMA    PONUNG    BRITA OR VRITA    HURKA BAUL    KALI NACH    GANTA PATUA    PAIK   DALKHAI


GENDI     BHAGORIYA    JAWAR     GARBA     DANDIYA     KALA    DINDI    MANDO


DOLLU KUNITHA DANDARIA    KARAGAM    KUMMI    KUTTIYATTAM    
PADAVANI   KOLAM    LAVA    NICOBARESE



Musical Instruments

DANCES OF INDIA - KUCHIPUDI


Kuchipudi, the dance-drama (referred to as Ata Bhagavatham) from Andhra Pradesh, is based on themes drawn from the Hindu epics, The Ramayana and the Mahabharata. It is a Folk-dance style quite close to Bharatanatyam while retaining its folk origin. Kuchipudi has been the result of the Bhakti movement in the 6th century. In the 17th century, Siddendra Yogi, the progenitor of the form, presented a dance-drama with boys from the village of kuchipudi. the techniques used then were passed on to the subsequent generations.
Kuchipudi plays are performed in the open air on an improvised stage at night. The sutradhar, or master of ceremonies, Plays an integral rol in introducing the characters, providing humour and tying together the show. The fast-paced nature of the form has made it a popular dramatic form. today it is better known as solo dance.

Kuchipudi costumes look similar to those worn in Bharathanatyam dance. Elegant footwork is an important aspect of Kuchipudi. Another distinctive aspect of this dance is that in special performances, the dance is executed on brass plate and moving the plate with the feet to the tune of the accompanying music. Yet another is the formation of beautiful floor patterns using efficient feet movements. The performer has to express through dance and gestures, the speech and song. The artiste, apart from being a dancer and actor, has to have a high proficiency in Sanskrit and Telugu languages, Music and the texts for the performance.

The Kuchipudi performance begins with recital of extracts from the four Vedas as these symbolise the composition of the Natyaveda.This followed by Ganapati stuti before the entry of the sutradhar who narrates the dance-drama with its implications and introduces the artistes. Each dancer is introduced with pravesa daruva orentrance number accompanied by song and rhythmic syllables. The word daruvu means rhythmic pattern. There is nritta, nritya, and natya. The nritta part is composed of teeermanams and jatis; the naitya consists of sabdams indroduced to enrich the dance and natya is acting with mudras to enact the stories of yore.

Kuchipudi classical dance comprises of a blend of tandava and lasya elements. The music is this dance from is classical and the costumes are conventional. Bhagavatula Ramayya, written by Hari Madhavayya, introduced the dance-drama in the Kuchipudi repertoire; and today vachikabhinaya (verbal expression) has become a special feature of Kuchipudi dance-drama.

Vedantam Laxmi Narayana Sastry Introduced solo items and laid the foundation of the Kuchipudi repertoire. Today Raja and Radha Reddy have taken this dance from to new heights.

classical dances


BHARATA NATYAM    KATHAKALI   KATHAK    MANIPURI    KUCHIPUDI    ODISSI    MOHINI ATTAM   

Folk dances


BHANGRA    DHUMAL    ROUF    LAMA DANCE    PANGI DANCES    LOSAR SHONA CHUKSAM    RAAS   GIDDA    DHAMYAL    DUPH    LAHOOR    DHURANG     MALI DANCE     TERA TALI

BIHU    NAGA DANCE    HAZAGIRI    BAMBOO DANCE    NONGKREM    THANG-TA    KARMA    PONUNG    BRITA OR VRITA    HURKA BAUL    KALI NACH    GANTA PATUA    PAIK   DALKHAI


GENDI     BHAGORIYA    JAWAR     GARBA     DANDIYA     KALA    DINDI    MANDO


DOLLU KUNITHA DANDARIA    KARAGAM    KUMMI    KUTTIYATTAM    
PADAVANI   KOLAM    LAVA    NICOBARESE



Musical Instruments

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

DANCES OF INDIA - MANIPURI




Manipuri is a traditional dance of Manipur in north-east of India.This dance form with its lyrical movements takes the mind on a peaceful journey . The people of the land were called Meithei and performed the ritual dance, the jogoi or circular dance, which is the precursor to present-day Manipuri. The Manipur tradition of worshiping their gods through dance and music was an integral part of the peoples life. One of the oldest rituals is called Lai Haraoba Where the dance portrays the process of creation of the universe.
According to legend,Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are said to have danced in the valleys of manipur and this tradition of dance continues till today.

Contrary to the convention of the later Hindu temples, maibis or the high priestess, and not the priests, conduct the ceremonial functions in temples. The greatest cultural evolution took place in the 18th century during the reign of king bhagyachandra, one of the most enlightened kings, who was a devotee of lord vishnu. During his reign began the resurgence of arts in Manipur. He founded the Rasleelas and Nat Sankirtana. The art of sakirtana involves singing and beating of the drum to narrate the story of sri krishna.

The male sankirtana is called nupapala while the female is nupipala. The dancer is always male.

There are two dance forms in Manipur-Pung cholom or drum dance, and Kartal cholom or cymbal dance, where the performer plays a musical instrument or claps while dancing, The bent-knee position, with the torso, slightly bend forward is the basic stance. Majority of the movements, including various jumps and turns with complicated footwork, are carried out in the position. Some of the most exciting movements are mid-air rolling pirouettes while playing the instrument.

Rasleela forms the core of the classical tradition. There are different kinds of Rasleelas where Radha and Sri Krishna dance with the gopis.Every Ras is preceded with a rupapala or a male Sankirtana which serves the purpose of purvaranga or the prelude. Themes from Geeta Purana, Bhagwata Purana and compositions from the Gita-Govinda predominate the repertoire. The Radha-Krishna legend is frequently performed in Manipuri. A symbols of the female and male forces in Nature, their union and creation constitue the principal themes. The dance tradition recreates the life and deeds of Radha and Krishna.

The Manipuri dance lays emphasis on involving the entire body rather than the facial expressions. Rasleela lays emphasis on lyrical grace and delicacy of hand gestures. The different movements of the male and female dances is very clean in Manipuri. The female dancer is very poised and gentle. The male dancer is powerful and energetic. Facial expession is minimal and movements are circular in form, flowing from one to another. The hands and wrists are used constantly. The costumes are very simple. Two young children usually play the role of Radha and Krishna. Women play the roles of the chief sakhi and gopis, all of whom wish to be united with Sri Krishna. This is called shingara-bhakti for God.

Guru Singhajit singh and his wife-cum-disciple charu seja Mathur are Versatile exponents of this dance form.

classical dances


BHARATA NATYAM    KATHAKALI   KATHAK    MANIPURI    KUCHIPUDI    ODISSI    MOHINI ATTAM   

Folk dances


BHANGRA    DHUMAL    ROUF    LAMA DANCE    PANGI DANCES    LOSAR SHONA CHUKSAM    RAAS   GIDDA    DHAMYAL    DUPH    LAHOOR    DHURANG     MALI DANCE     TERA TALI

BIHU    NAGA DANCE    HAZAGIRI    BAMBOO DANCE    NONGKREM    THANG-TA    KARMA    PONUNG    BRITA OR VRITA    HURKA BAUL    KALI NACH    GANTA PATUA    PAIK   DALKHAI


GENDI     BHAGORIYA    JAWAR     GARBA     DANDIYA     KALA    DINDI    MANDO


DOLLU KUNITHA DANDARIA    KARAGAM    KUMMI    KUTTIYATTAM    
PADAVANI   KOLAM    LAVA    NICOBARESE



Musical Instruments

DANCES OF INDIA - KATHAK


Kathak, a dance form of north India, derives its name from katha (story) since it originated from the devotional recitation by story-tellers or kathakars, who were attached to temples. The kathakars used to tell the story through music and dance. Douring medieval period it recived special patronage from both the Mughal and Hindu rulers.
The Kathak presentation is divided into three distinct parts: the natya (drama), the nritta (pure dance) and the nritya (expression,mimetic). While nritta is a logical extension of words and imagery of movements, inclusion of the natya to the dance gives it substance. Nritya combines dancing and action while interpreting the story. In delineation of these aspects, the rasa or emotion charges the atmosphere radiating ananda (bliss) on union with god. Known for its intricate compositions, rapid chakkars or bhramaris (pirouettes), complex tatkar (footwork) and stylised facial expressions, Kathak hails from three gharanas-Banaras, Luckow and jaipur. While the jaipur gharana focuses on layakari or rhythmic permutations, the Lucknow gharana expounds on bhava or moods and emotions with graceful movement and delicate placing of hands. This dance style was influenced by the Awadh royalty.

The costume of Kathak dancer resembles the dress worn by figures in mughal miniature paintings and the dance is performed by both men and women.

Inextricably tied to Hindustani music, the dance revolves around the Radha and krishna themes. The dancer dances with 200 ghungroos (bells on the feet) and the musical accompaniments are the sarangi and tabla. This dance form has gliding movements with no jerky or angular gestures. With a straight back, one arm is held vertically while the other is extended at shoulder hight. While the body remains still,the dancer executes fast-paced dance steps. Traditionally a solo dance, it lends itself to group compositions too, as in Rasleela a vrindaban which is an expression of operatic treatment. Items revolving around the themes of nava-rasas (nine moods) and the ashta-nayikas (eight states of maiden in love) are part of abhinaya.

The Most well-known performers of Kathak today are Guru Birju Maharaj and Shovana Narain.

classical dances


BHARATA NATYAM    KATHAKALI   KATHAK    MANIPURI    KUCHIPUDI    ODISSI    MOHINI ATTAM   

Folk dances


BHANGRA    DHUMAL    ROUF    LAMA DANCE    PANGI DANCES    LOSAR SHONA CHUKSAM    RAAS   GIDDA    DHAMYAL    DUPH    LAHOOR    DHURANG     MALI DANCE     TERA TALI

BIHU    NAGA DANCE    HAZAGIRI    BAMBOO DANCE    NONGKREM    THANG-TA    KARMA    PONUNG    BRITA OR VRITA    HURKA BAUL    KALI NACH    GANTA PATUA    PAIK   DALKHAI


GENDI     BHAGORIYA    JAWAR     GARBA     DANDIYA     KALA    DINDI    MANDO


DOLLU KUNITHA DANDARIA    KARAGAM    KUMMI    KUTTIYATTAM    
PADAVANI   KOLAM    LAVA    NICOBARESE



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classical dances : Bharata Natyam | Kathakali | Kathak | Manipuri | Kuchipudi | Odissi | Mohini Attam
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