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31 Most Popular Dances of Different States in India | Art and Culture

In this article, we will look into 31 most popular Dances of Different States in India. Each and every State in India has its own unique dance forms and styles. More on PIB. We will see all the important popular dances from where questions can be asked in multiple competitive Exams.

31 Most Popular Dances of Different States in India | Art and Culture

Most Popular Dances of Different States in India

Also Read: 41 Most Famous Temples in India with its Location | Arts and Culture

1. Kuchipudi – Andhra Pradesh

  • Drama and Art come together in this dance form.
  • This dance form began 700 years ago.
  • The origin of this dace form started from the village named Kuchipudi in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
  • It is a dance-drama performance, with its roots in the ancient Hindu Sanskrit text of Natya Shastra.
  • It is largely developed as a Hindu god Krishna oriented Vaishnavism tradition, and it is most closely related to Bhagavata Mela Nataka.
  • A dancer in a male role would be in Angivastra, wear a dhoti.
  • A dancer in a female role would wear a Sari with light Makeup.
  • This dance performance usually started with an invocation. Then, each costumed actor introduce their role, and they perform a short dance set to music (dharavu).
  • Next, the performance presents a pure dance. This is followed by the expressive part of the performance, where rhythmic hand gestures help convey the story.

2. Sattriya – Assam

  • This dance form was introduced in the 15th century A.D.
  • It was started by the Vaishnava saint and reformer of Assam, Mahapurusha Sankaradeva as a powerful medium for propagation of the Vaishnava faith.
  • This dance classified into many parts as Apsara dance, Chali dance, Behar dance, Manchok dance, Dasavatara dance, Rasa dance, Natua dance, Gosai Prabesh, Rajaghariya Chali dance, Jhumura, Bar Prabesh, Gopi Prabesh, Sutradhara dance.
  • The costume of this dance form for male is primarily to two variants, the dhoti and chadar and the pagri.
  • The costume of this dance form for femal dancers are ghuri, chadar and kanchi.
  • The Sattriya dance can be classified into two styles, namely Paurashik Bhangi (Tandava or Masculine) style and Stri Bhangi (Lashya or Feminine) style.
  • The musical instruments commonly used in Sattriya are the Khols or the Drums, the Taals or the Cymbals and the Flute.

3. Bihu – Assam

  • The Bihu dance is celebrated during the Bihu festival in Assam.
  • The first Bihu dance performance was done in 1694 when the Ahom King Rudra Singh invited Bihu dancers on the special occasion of Rongali Bihu.
  • The costumes worn for Bihu dance are Dhoti and Gamocha for male performers.
  • Female performers are dressed in Chador and Mekhela. Mekhla is cylindrical in shape and is worn on the lower half of the body and Chador is like a drape used for covering the upper portion of the body. Female wear a blouse beneath the chador. They also used heavy jewellery.
  • The musical instruments used in Bihu dance performance are Dhol, Pepa, Gogona, Baahi, Taal, Xutuli, Toka, Bin, Khol and Nagada.

4. Bardo Chham – Arunachal Pradesh

  • Most popular Indian folk dance of Arunachal Pradesh is Bardo Chham.
  • Bardo Chham clearly depicts the victory of good over evil.
  • The dancers perform this dance indicating that the activities of human beings are governed by the Gods who reverse and punishes them accordingly.
  • The meaning of Bardo Chham is a dance of Horoscopes.
  • Bardo Chham dance is performed by the Sherdukpen community.
  • The costumes used for this dance performance are the mask and headgears. The performers also wear masks of different animal kinds to symbolize the evil spirits. The headgear worn by the performers is elaborate as there is a lot of head movement involved in the act.
  • The musical instruments used for this dance performance are large drums and cymbals.

5. Bidesia – Bihar

  • The most popular folk dance of Bihar is Bidesia.
  • Bidesia dance is popularly known for its unique theme, which talks about social issues, contradictory topics and conflict between the traditional and the modern life style.
  • This dance form was created by Bhikari Thakur. Bhikari Thakur was referred as the Shakespeare of Bhojpuri.
  • A very interesting fact about this dance form is the female roles are enacted by the male actor.
  • The song used in this dance form is in Bhojpuri language.

6. Karma Dance – Chhatisgarh

  • The meaning of Karma is fate. Karma is celebrated to worship the God Karma.
  • Karma dance is performed during the Karma festival.
  • The main musical instruments used in this dance form are Thumki, Chhalla, Payri, Jhumki and the drum locally known as Timki.
  • Peacock feathers are used as an accessories for this dance.
  • The performers hold each others waists and dance in the rhythm of music welcoming the spring and forming a circle through their movements around a tree that is venerated as Karma.

7. Garba – Gujarat

  • Garba is a dance form which is originated in the state of Gujarat.
  • It is performed during the nine day hindu festival of Navaratri.
  • The costume used in this dance form is Odhani, Chaniya choli, Turban and Bandhani.
  • Musical instruments used in Garba are Dhol, Drum and Reed organ.
  • Garba derived from the Sanskrit word garbha which means womb. Traditionally, this dance is performed by women in a circle around a clay lantern with a light inside, called a garbha deep.

8. Dekhni – Goa

  • Dekhni is a very popular dance form of Goa. It is a semi classical Goan dance.
  • It is performed by women in temples and social ceremonies.
  • This dance is a mixture of Indian melody and Western rhythm.
  • Dekhni dance is mainly performed by Christian girls in Indian dress.
  • The meaning of Dekhni is beauty in Konkani.
  • This dance form owes its birth to devdasis singing and dancing for their visitors.
  • Hanv sayaba pailtadi vaita is the popular well known song for Dekhni dance.

9. Saang – Haryana

  • Saang is mainly performed in the open stage.
  • It is the popular rural folk drama in Haryana, which shows the relationship of love, depicting legendary and modern tales of valor, sacrifice and humor.
  • As per the beliefs, Saang dance was first originated and then evolved in its present form by Kishan Lal Bhaat.

10. Nati – Himachal Pradesh

  • Nati dance is the most famous folk dance of Himachal Pradesh.
  • The costume of this dance form for male is wollen robe with yards of sashes tied on the lower back and also wears a symbolic Himachali Topi with flowers fixed on the topmost part of it.
  • The costume of female for this dance is churidars, chola, jewellery and cover their head with colourful scarves.
  • The instruments used for Nati dance perfomance are flute, dhol, nagara, narasingha, karnal, and shehnai.
  • The dance have the circular pattern where the people tie their hands with one another and then perform the steps.

11. Rouf – Jammu and Kashmir

  • The Rouf dance originated in the Muslim community of the state of Kashmir.
  • Rouf dance is performed by women.
  • They wear beautiful and colorful Pherans for their dance performance.
  • In this dance form they make two rows and face each other to dance.
  • This dance mainly involves the foot work which is called Chakri in the local language.
  • Rouf dance is usually done to celebrate season of spring. It is also performed for the celebrations of various festivals like Eid-ul-fitr.

12. Paika – Jharkhand

  • Paika dance symbolizes battle art.
  • The performers of Paika dance holds a shield in his left hand and a two edged sword in his right hand.
  • The costumes of Paika dance are bright, attractive and fitted with frills, peacock wings is thrust in turban.
  • The music instruments used in Paika dance are Nagara, Dhak and Shehnai.

13. Dollu Kunitha – Karnataka

  • Karnataka’s most popular and traditional drum dance is known as Dollu Kunitha.
  • The performers of Dollu Kunitha form a semi-circle and involve in extremely swift and supple movements.
  • The beat of this dance is controlled and directed by a leader.
  • This dance is performed for the worship of Sree Beeralingeshwara who is considered as a form of Lord Shiva.
  • It is performed in a group of 10-12 drummers. Men and women both can be part of the Dollu Kunitha team.
  • The costume of this dance is Sarong and Dhoti.
  • During the performance of Dollu Kunitha the story of Dolla-Asura, the demon and Lord Shiva is told.

14. Kathakali – Kerala

  • Kathakali derived its name from the words Katha and Kali. Here, Katha means Story and Kali means Drama. It is a story play dance performance.
  • This dance form is evolved from theatrical forms of Kerala namely Kutiyattam, Krishnanattam and Ramanattam.
  • Kathakali symbolises the eternal fight between good and evil.
  • It is based on Hindu literature and characterized by masks, stylized costume and make-up, and frequent use of mime.

15. Mohiniyattam – Kerala

  • Mohiniyattam means the dance of Enchantress.
  • The meaning of Mohiniyattam derived from the words Mohini and Attam, here mohini means a women who enchants onlookers and attam means graceful and sensuous body movements.
  • It is a solo female dance.
  • Attavakul is the basic movement of Mohiniyattam.
  • The costume of Mohiniyattam is an off-white plain saree, embellished with a gold-laced or bright golden coloured brocade, embroidered on the borders. A matching blouse finishes the adornment.

16. Maanch – Madhya Pradesh

  • Maanch is a popular folk drama in the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh.
  • The performance of Maanch is displayed in open air.
  • The performers are free to make movement anywhere on the stage, deliver some dialogs from amongst the audience or even make an entry on the stage walking through the audience.
  • The instruments used in this are sarangi, harmonium and dhol.

17. Cheraw – Mizoram

  • Cheraw dance is also known as Bamboo dance.
  • Bamboos are mainly used in this dance form.
  • Men and women equally come together and perform the Cheraw dance.
  • The costumes of Cheraw dance are Puanchei, Vakiria, Kawrchei, Thihna.
  • During the dance, men hold the bamboos and the women dance between the bamboos.

18. Manipuri dance (Jagoi) – Manipur

  • Manipuri dance is also known as Jagoi.
  • This dance drama is performed to show the love stories of Krishna and Radha.
  • The theme of Manipuri dance is based on Vaishnavism and spectacular execution fo Rasleela.
  • The costumes used by male for this dance are a bright coloured dhoti, a crown decorated with peacock feather and the female artists wear a Patloi.
  • The musical instruments commonly used in this dance form includes the Pung that is a barrel drum, cymbals, harmonium, flute, pena and sembong.

19. Lavani – Maharashtra

  • Lavani is a popular folk dance of Maharashtra.
  • It is a combination of traditional song and dance.
  • Lavani is performed by women, they dance on the beats of a Dholak.
  • The main costume of Lavani is Nauvavari Saree, ghungroo, gajra, heavy jewellery.
  • Instruments used in Lavani dance are Dholaki, Manjeera, Tuntuni, Daf and Harmonium.

20. Laho – Meghalaya

  • Laho dance is famous among the Pnar tribal community in Meghalaya.
  • It is a part of the festivities of Behdienkhlam. For the prosperity and well being of the people of Meghalaya, Behdienkhlam is celebrated.
  • Men and women both take part in this dance performance.
  • The dancers link their arms together and perform synchronized steps usually two men on both sides of the female dancer.
  • Laho dance is also known as the Chipiah Dance.

21. Chang Lo – Nagaland

  • Popular folk dance of Nagaland Chang Lo is performed by Chang tribe to celebrate their victory against enemies.
  • It is also known as Sua La.
  • It is performed in a three day festival known to be Poanglem. It shows the beginning of the harvest season in the state.
  • Chang Lo is a group dance where male and female dancers perfom together.
  • The dancing style includes maximum movement of the feet and minimum movement of the upper part of the body.
  • The male costume for this dance consists of the original armour of a Naga warrior, the female artists have more feminine and colourful attires.

22. Odissi – Odisha

  • Odissi derives its name from the Odhra Nritya mentioned in Natya Shastra.
  • This dance is dedicated to Radha and Krishana.
  • Traditional Odissi exists in two major styles, the first is spiritual temple dance which is known as Maharis and the second perfected by boys dressed as girls which is known as Gotipuas.
  • It includes pure dance known as Nritta, dance with emotions known as Nritya and dramatic dance known as Natya.
  • It has three primary dance positions they are Samabhanga- the square position, Abhanga- the body weight shifts from side to side, due to deep leg bends and Tribanga- it is an S-shaped three fold bending of body.
  • In odissi dance, mudras or hastas are hand gestures which are used to express the meaning of a given act.

23. Bhangra – Punjab

  • Bhangra originates from the word Bhang, which was a major harvest product.
  • Bhangra dance mainly performed during the Vaisakhi festival that celebrates the harvest. It is a very energetic dance performance.
  • Costumes of this dance performance are Tehmat, Salwar kameez, Lungi and Pag.
  • Musical instruments used in this dance performance are Dhol, Chimta and Alghoza.

24. Ghoomar – Rajasthan

  • Ghoomar was performed by Bhil tribe to worship Goddess Saraswati and later it is adopted by other Rajasthani communities.
  • It is derived from the word Ghoomna which means a twirl or going round.
  • Ghoomar dance is mainly performed by women who wear flowing dresses known as Ghaghara choli.
  • This dance involves dancers pirouetting while moving in and out of a wide circle.

25. Singhi Chaam – Sikkim

  • Singhi Chaam is also known as Kanchendzonga Dance is a snow lion dance form of Sikkim.
  • In Singhi Chaam, dancers perform in a lion costume which represents the snow lion.
  • This dance is usually performed during the Panglapsool festival.
  • It is a dance of the Bhutia people.
  • There are two to four snow lions in this dance form, each snow lion made up of two men in a lion costume, which is white with a bluish mane.
  • The dance is accompanied by a single drummer.

26. Bharatanatyam – Tamil Nadu

  • Bharatanatyam is the classical dance form of Tamil Nadu. It is previously called Sadhira Attam.
  • It is said that word Bharata is a combination of three words that means Bha for Bhav, Ra for Raag and Ta for Taal. Thus this dance harmoniously expresses bhav, raag and taal.
  • As this dance is manifestation of fire element in the human body it is also referred as fire dance.
  • There are two major styles of Bharatanatyam, first is Pandanallur and the second is Tanjore.
  • Earlier this dance form was performed by solo female dancers.
  • In this dance, dancers wear saree made of silk with gold zari embroidery designs.

27. Dandari – Telangana

  • Dandari dance is mainly performed by Gond community. They believe that they are the descendants of Pandavas.
  • Dandari dance is also known as Gusadi dance.
  • It is a folk dance of the state which sees male dancers with their dandas and go from village to village in groups, singing and dancing.
  • Gonds dressed in colourful costumes and decorated with ornaments.
  • Each member of this dance puts on a turban of peacock feathers and horns of the deer, artificial beard and moustaches and goatskin to cover the body.

28. Hojagiri – Tripura

  • Hojagiri is the folk dance of Tripura which is performed during the Hojagiri festivals by Reang people.
  • Women and young girls perform the dance while balancing bottles and lamps on their head and hands and the male members participate in singing the lyric, playing the Kham and Sumui.
  • In this dance form, four to six members are there.
  • Costumes of Hojagiri dance are Rignai, Rikutu, Risa and Kamcwlwi borok.

29. Choliya Dance – Uttarakhand

  • Choliya dance is the traditional dance of Kumaon region of Uttarakhand.
  • It is basically a sword dance.
  • The performance of this dance supposedly wards away the evil and is therefore a prominent feature in marriages and other such auspicious occasions.
  • The musical instruments used in this dance are bagpipes and drums, shield and sword.
  • Choliya dance is the male folk dance in pairs.
  • All dancers performs in a rhythmical manner with a war like music.

30. Kathak – Uttar Pradesh

  • Kathak is the traditional classical dance form of Uttar Pradesh.
  • Kathak word is derived from the sanskrit word Katha which means story and is therefore a storytelling performance through dance movements.
  • During the mughal period the dance form transitioned from temple dance to court dance.
  • There are three gharanas which mostly differ in emphasis given to footwork versus acting, first one is Lucknow gharana, second is Jaipur gharana and the third is Banaras gharana.

31. Chhau – West Bengal

  • Chhau is the most popular semi classical dance of West Bengal.
  • It is a performance with martial, tribal and folk traditions in the states of West Bengal, Jharkahand and Odisha.
  • This dance is performed mainly during the Sun Festival.
  • It is mandatory for all the dancers to wear masks. Different moods of the dance are illustrated through various body movements including movements of the peaks of the masks.
  • There are three types of this dance, first is Purulia Chhau, second is Mayurbanj Chhau and third is Seraikella Chhau.

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