Top 12 Most Popular Dance Forms of India

There are number of classical dances and art performance in India, Eight well known classical dances of India recognized by Sangeet Natak Akademi are Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Kathakali, Sattriya, Manipuri and Mohiniyattam.

Classical dance forms are different then traditional martial dance arts of India, follow the link to know more about Indian martial arts.



Kathak is one of the eight forms of Indian classical dance and found in three distinct forms of gharanas, from Jaipur, Banaras and Lucknow. Kathak dance differs from the Bharatanatyam dance in several ways and also different from Kathakali, though all tree are Indian classical dance.



Bharatanatyam classical dance form originated in Tamil Nadu and a solo dance performed exclusively by women with religious themes of Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Shaktism.

Bharata Natyam is traditionally a female solo dance art and there are gestures used in Bharatanatyam, sign language based on of hands, eyes and face and also contains at least 20 Asanas of Yoga.



Kathakali is most popular classical dance arts of India and a major forms of classical dance of Kerala along with Mohiniyattam. The traditional Kathakali, theory and foundations are same as other classical dances of India mentioned in Natya Shastra.



Kuchipudi is also one of the major Indian classical dance and most closely related to Bhagavata Mela performance of Tamil Nadu. The dance drama performance arts of Andhra Pradesh is traditionally is a night performance, musical instruments like Mridangam and Tanpura are used for Kuchipudi performance.



Odissi classical dance from Odisha is performed predominantly by women and again a dance drama performance art. The Odissi dance originated from the Hindu temples of Odisha, particularly of Jagannath religious stories as well as Shaktism and Lord Shiva and Surya God.


Sattriya classical dance from originated from the state of Assam and combine the themes of Krishna and Radha, sometimes Rama and Sita. The costume of Sattriya dance are unique of this dance form along with jewellery and styles.



Manipuri or Jagoi dance is particularly known for its Radha-Krishna called Raslila themes. The Manipuri dance is also based on religious themes related to Shaivism, Shaktism and regional deities.



Mohiniyattam is one of the most popular classical dance form from Kerala along with Kathakali. The solo dance has roots in the Natya Shastra and some of the sequence of Mohiniyattam is similar to Bharatanatyam.



Yakshagana is a unique style and art form, developed in state of Karnataka. The classical music and theater form broadly classified into several types such as Tenkutittu and Badagutittu.

Chhau Dance


Chhau dance is actually semi classical Indian dance that origins in eastern India and are performed in West Bengal, Jharkhand, and Odisha. The dance is mixture of martial arts, tribal forms and folk traditions of India, Chhau mask of Purulia is registered under Geographical Indications.

Bhagavata Mela

Bhagavata Mela dance performed particularly the Thanjavur area of Tamil Nadu and the dance art has roots from Kuchipudi classical dance of Andhra Pradesh.

Gaudiya Nritya


The Gaudiya Nritya is a classical Bengali Dance form ,performed with drama, history, poetry, color and music. Its a ancient classical dance from West Bengal, Mainly a temple art meant for spiritual expression.

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