Aspects of Indian Dance Forms

Aspects of Indian Dance forms are described in detail in Bharata Muni’s Natya Shastra, which states that Natya Shastra was created when several gods requested Lord Brahma to create a pastime, and hence Lord Brahma created Natya Veda by combining parts from all four Vedas of Hindu religion.

Natya Veda contains Words (Pathya) from Rig Veda, Gestures (Abhinaya) from Yajur Veda, Music (Geet) from Sam Veda, and Emotions (Rasa) from Atharva Veda.

Natyashastra was compiled between 200 BC to 200 AD, and Bharata Muni describes it as ‘Complete Art’ as it encompasses all other forms of art like Dance, Drama, Music, Poetry, and Sculpture.

Aspects of Indian Dance Forms
Aspects of Indian Dance Forms

Natya Shastra describes the two basic aspects of Indian Classical Dance forms.

  • Lasya – It denotes the feminine features of dance and shows grace, expressions, emotions, and gestures.
  • Tandava – It denotes the male features of dance and shows more focus of movement with rythms.

Nandikeshwara’s treatise on Dance called “Abhinaya Darpan” describes the three basic elements of dance.

  • Nritta – Nritta includes zero expressions or mood. It denotes basic dance steps performed in rythm with music.
  • Natya – Natya tells story with dance through dramatic representations and expressions.
  • Nritya – Nritya shows emotions and sentiments through dance and it is performed by including expressions with various Mudras.

Nandikeshwara also elaborates the Nayaka-Nayika, where Nayaka is the eternal deity or hero and Nayika is the heroine who performs the dance.

Nine Rasas included in the Indian Dance forms are,

  • Shringara for Love.
  • Roudra for Anger.
  • Bibhatsa for Disgust.
  • Veera for Heroism.
  • Shaant for Peace and Tranquillity.
  • Haasya for Laughter and Comedy.
  • Karuna for Tragedy.
  • Bhayanak for Horror.
  • Adbhuta for Wonder.

Every Aspect of Indian Dance forms is depicted through Mudras.
There are 108 Mudras, which are combinations of more than one mudra used to depict emotions.

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