Dance holds a profound significance in Hindu mythology. Many Gods and Goddesses are associated with various forms of dance. Lord Shiva, the embodiment of cosmic energy, is depicted as Nataraja, the Lord of Dance. His cosmic dance, known as the Tandava, symbolizes the rhythmic and ever-changing nature of the universe. It is also said that Lord Brahma inspired Bharata Muni to write Natya Shastra, a comprehensive treatise in performing arts including dance.
Raas Lila is a dance performed by Lord Krishna with Radha and other Gopis of Brijbhumi. Apsaras like Rambha, Urvashi, Menaka are known to be adept at dancing and are wives of Gandharvas. Gandharvas themselves are considered divine musicians and singers.
|Performing Art/Dance Form||Persons Associated|
|Kathak||Birju Maharaj, Gopi Krishan, Shambu Maharaj, Sitara Devi, Prerna Shrimali, Ms. Sunayana Hazarilal, Kumudini Lakhia, Shovana Narayan|
|Bharat Natyam||T. Balasaraswati, Rukmini Devi Arundale, Yamini Krishnamurti, Vaijayantimala, Ananda Shankar Jayant, C.V. Chandrasekhar, Guru (Ms.) M.K. Saroja, Shanta and VP Dhananjayan|
|Manipuri||Amubi Singh, Bino Devi, Rajkumar Singhajit Singh|
|Mohini Attam||Smt. Kalamandalam Kshemavathy Pavithran, Dr. (Smt) Kanak Rele|
|Chhau||Makar Dhwaja Darogha, Pt Gopal Prasad Dubey|
|Odissi||Kelucharan Mahapatra, Sonal Mansingh, Geeta Mahalik, Dr. Minati Mishra|
|Kathakali||PK Kunju Kurup, Kalamandalam Rajan, Madavur Vasudevan Nair, Kalamandalam Gopi, Kalamandalam Ramankutty Nair|
|Kuchipudi||Raja Reddy, Radha Reddy, Vyjayanti Kashi, Vempati Chinna Satyam|
|Yakshagana||Ramachandra Subraya Hegde Chittani|
|Sattriya||Ghanakanta Bora Borbayan|
|Koodiyattam||Ammannur Madhava Chakyar|
|Creative Dance/Choreography||Uday Shankar|
Ms Kapila Vatsyayan was a leading scholar of Indian classical dance, art, architecture, and art history. She was the founding director of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. She has authored many books, including The Square and the Circle of Indian Arts, Bharata: The Natya Sastra, Traditions of Indian Folk Dance, Dance in Indian Painting and Matralaksanam. She was the recipient of Padma Vibhushan and Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship.
Ms Rukmini Devi Arundale was a dancer and choreographer of the Indian classical dance form of Bharatanatyam. She was the first woman in Indian history to be nominated as a member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India. In 1936, she founded the Chennai based Kalakshetra, an arts and cultural academy dedicated to the preservation of traditional values in Indian art and crafts, especially in the field of Bharatanatyam dance and Gandharvaveda music.
Khajuraho Dance Festival: It is a week long festival held in Chhatarpur district (M.P.) organised by Ustad Alauddin Khan Academy of Music and Arts during February - March of every year.
Konark Dance Festival: The Konark Dance Festival is held in the backdrop of the magnificent Sun Temple in Konark, Odisha usually in the first week of December every year. The event is usually organised by Odisha Tourism.
Mamallapuram Dance Festival: This is a 30-day festival held between December and January and organised by the Department of Tourism, Tamil Nadu. The open-air lawn in front of Shore Temple in Mamallapuram serves as the main venue for the festival.
Ellora Ajanta Dance Festival: This is a 3-day festival held during January in Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar (Aurangabad) and organised by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation.
Natyanjali Dance Festival: This festival organised by Chidambaram Natyanjali Trust is dedicated to Lord Nataraja and is held around Mahashivaratri during February/March. The Thillai Nataraja temple of Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu is the venue for this festival.
Modhera Dance Festival: This festival is also known as Uttarardh Mahotsav or Modhera Utsavis. The exclusive three day festival is held every year during the third week end of January after the conclusion of Uttarayan festival. The precincts of the Modhera Sun Temple in Mehsana district of Gujarat serve as the venue of this enchanting festival organised by Gujarat Tourism.
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