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What/ define dance

  • Dance generally refers to human movement either used as a form of expression or  presented in a social, spiritual or performance setting.
  • Or Dance is also used to describe methods of non-verbal communication between humans or animals (beedance, mating dance), motion in inanimate objects (the leaves danced in the wind), and certain musicalforms or genres. People who dance are called dancers and the act of dance is known as dancing. An event where dancing takes place may be called a dance. Choreography is the art of making dances.
  • Choreography is the art of making dances and the generic name given to predetermined sequences of dance movement. People who choreograph are called choreographers and may develop their own dance techniques as a part of their choreographic work. Choreography and dance techniques can be written down as dance notation which is analogous to music notation.

Details of the dance

  • Throughout history, dance has been a part of ceremony, rituals, celebrations and entertainment. It is traceable through archeological evidence from prehistoric times to the first examples of written and pictorial documentation in 200 BC. Many contemporary dance forms can be traced back to historical, traditional, ceremonial and ethnic dances.
  • Since time immemorial, Dancing was considered as an integral part of Indian society. Indian always regarded ‘Natraj’- Symbol of Dancing, as the god of classical dancing. Dance is an inborn talent seen within any individual. It is generally regarded as the systematic movement of body, in accordance with rhythm. People always used ‘Dance’ as an art form to express their feelings / moods / emotions.
  • It has been essential to social, ceremonial and spiritual functions of many cultures throughout history. Today, definitions of what comprises dance are all dependent on social, cultural, aesthetic, artistic and moral characteristics of the society in which it evolves.
  • In India, dance is an age-old tradition. This vast sub-continent has given birth to varied forms of dancing, each shaped by the influences of a particular period and environment. Indian dance is an extremely intricate art requiring skill, hard work and discipline. All Indian dances portray some expression of life and almost every dance posture has a specific meaning. Dance themes are derived from mythology, folklore, legends and classical literature. 
  • Indian dance is said to have originated from Natya Shastra, which a detailed script is written on all aspects of Indian dance. The author of ‘Natya Shastra’ was ‘Bharata Muni’ who wrote it sometime in the 2nd century B.C.
  • The two main divisions of dance are classical and folk forms. There are dance forms typical to certain parts of the country and these dance forms are based on ancient dance discipline. Apart from the folk forms, Bharatantyam of Tamil Nadu, Kuchipudi of Andhra Pradesh, Kathakali of Kerala, Odissi of Orissa, Manipuri of Manipur and Sattriya of Assam are some of the popular dance forms of India. Besides the aforesaid, several modern dance forms have evolved in the country. Most of the dance schools here believe in the traditional "Teacher - Disciple" methodology in which the students learn the dance courses and imbibe the spiritual fervor of it, while staying with the teacher in his school known as the "Gurukul".
  • Some of the popular folk dance – Bhangra of Punjab, Lavani of Maharastra, Garba of Gujarat and Dekhni of Goa.
  • In Tamil Nadu the common folk dances are Karagaattam, Kummi, Mayil Attam, Kolattam, Oyil Kummi, Kavadi Attam, Poikkal Kudirai Aattam, Kai Silambu  Aattam, Silambatam, Chakkai Attam, Kazhai Kothu, Thappaattam, Bommalattam, Bagavatha Nadanam, Theru Koothu, Devarattam, Oyilattam, Snake Attam, Urummi Attam, Ottan Koothu, Kaman pandigai, Puli aatam, Kali Attam, Sevai Attam and Villu Pattu.

Details of folk dance;

  • There is really no such genre as folk dancing.  Rather, there is a large body of unrelated non-classical dance forms.  The only thing common among these dance forms is their rural origins.
  • Many folk dances are performed by ordinary people rather than professional dancers.  It is very usual that on special occasions, the villagers will gather and sing and dance, accompanying themselves on a variety of folk instruments.  Such special occasions include harvesting, planting, marriages and religious holidays.
  • Sometimes the folk dances are performed by professionals.  There is the institution of the folk theatre.  Professional musicians, actors and dancers travel from village to village performing their dance dramas.  This seems to be a rural extension of the ancient theatrical tradition found in the Natya Shastra.  However, it appears to have degenerated into a rural tradition

Details of Tribal Dance
It would be more correct to divide these folk dances into two categories: folk and tribal.  The difference between the folk and tribal dance is cultural. 
Folk dances are the rural extensions of the larger Indian population.  However, the tribal dances are performed by India's aboriginal populations.  These people, known as adivasi, have a culture which is very distinct from the larger Indian population.  A common example of a tribal dance is the Santhali

Difference between Classical and folk dances
Classical dances are performed by professional or highly trained dancers who have studied their form (usually) for many years. Folk dances on the other hand are based on traditions where the people who did the dance were not "professional" dancers. In their native settings, most folkdances were learned by youngsters watching their elders dance at social gatherings and learning by doing.
Dance Institutes:
The Kathak Kendra in Delhi, the Kalakshetra in Chennai, Bharatiya Kala Kendra in Delhi is some of the premier dance institutes in India. Daksha Seth, Astad Daboo, Mamata Shankar are some of the acclaimed Indian dance exponents who provide training in contemporary dance. Other schools imparting dance courses include:

  • Kala Sadhanalaya, Kala Sampurna, Kalabhavan Talent Residential School,  Kalakshetra KanakaSabha,  Kathakali Sadanam, Kerala Kalamandalam, Lasya Academy of Mohiniyattam, Mamata Shankar Ballet Troupe  and Natya Dance Theatre

Scope/ opportunities for dance in India:

  • An individual with appropriate training and qualification in dancing have the scope to be a choreographer, a performer in a dance troupe, solo performer, or a teacher in a dance school or academy. The Sangeet Natak Academy, India provides candidates with Research Fellowships on dance projects and a reasonable amount of stipend along with it. Various leading newspapers and journals or magazines employ eminent dancers for writing reviews on dance performances or related programs. A post graduate degree in dance can come of help to an individual planning to earn a doctorate degree in dance and join a university as a professor or lecturer.

Role as choreographer: It involved in dance compositions, the grouping of dancers and establishing the sequence of dances. Choreographers have a skill to interpret music in terms of dancing. They work in films, on stage, for television and video music shows.
Role as Dance teacher: This field requires an aptitude for teaching, initiative and patience. A Dance Teacher must have thorough knowledge of practical and theoretical aspects of dance. Dancers (who take up teaching as a profession) can find jobs in schools, colleges, universities and dance institutes. 
Role as Performing - To be a performing artist one must have attractive appearance, facial expression, an ability to interpret roles and stage presence. Performers have to spare time everyday for practicing. They must also have to keep in touch with the interest of the general public. They must travel a lot and give performances to be popular. Besides professional training; dedication, talent and the right contacts can only help a performer to become well established.

Scope/ opportunity for dance in Abroad:

After passing out of dance courses, qualified and expert dancers can join an international dance troupe, perform solo shows abroad, and conduct workshops on various dance forms globally as there is a huge demand for learning Indian dance forms, abroad.

  • BA Dance
  • BFA Dance
  •  Bachelor of Dance ( B. Dance)


  • MA Dance
  • MFA Dance
  • Master of Dance
  • Ph.d Dance


  • Diploma in Dance

Certificate Course

  • Certificate Course in Dance

Related Links
Dance Institutes in India
Dance institutes of aboard
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