List of Dance Forms in India - Folk & Classical Dances of All States

India is known for its rich cultural heritage. Diversification is the identity of the country. Indian dance is one of the most revered identities of our culture.

In India, dance forms can be broadly classified into 2 categories- classical and folk dance form.

These dance forms have been originated from different parts of India as per the local tradition.

This article will highlight the various Indian dance forms- classical and folk in brief. The dance forms of India are an important aspect of art and culture syllabus for IAS exam.

In 2012, Civil Services IAS Prelims examination, UPSC has asked a question about Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam. In 2014, UPSC has asked about Sattriya dance. Let’s have a glance through the Previous Year UPSC questions on Classical Dances.

Dance Forms in India

The 2 major dance forms in India are classical and folk dance. The major difference between Classical and Folk dance is the origin.

Classical dance has a deep-rooted relationship with the Natya Shastra where the specific features of each of the Classical dance forms have been mentioned.

Folk dance, on the other hand, emerged from the local tradition of the respective state, ethnic or geographic regions.

Classical Dance in India

The classical dance form originated from the Natya Shastra. There are 8 classical dance forms in India as per the source and scholar.

The Cultural Ministry of India has included Chhau into the list of classical dances that makes a total of 9 classical dance forms.

The 8 basic technicalities that are expressed in the classical dance are given below:

  1. Shringar: Love
  2. Hasya: Humorous
  3. Karuna: Sorrow
  4. Raudra: Anger
  5. Veer: Heroism
  6. Bhayanak: Fear
  7. Bibhats: Disgust
  8. Adbhoot: Wonder

Indian Dances with States is an important static GK topic for the UPSC exam. For information on various static GK topics check the article linked here.

For more on Indian classical dances, click on the linked article.

The list of classical dances in India is given below:

List of Classical dances in India  State of Origin
Bharatnatyam Tamil Nadu
Kathak Uttar Pradesh
Kuchipudi Andhra Pradesh
Odissi Odisha
Kathakali Kerala
Sattriya Assam
Manipuri Manipur
Mohiniyattam Kerala

Questions based on these classical Indian dance forms are common in the UPSC exam for the prelims phase.

Folk Dances in India

Folk dances in India represent the culture and tradition of the community from where it originated.

Folk dances are usually performed during the respective community’s celebration- childbirth, festivals, weddings, etc.

There are different types of Folk dances in India.

The list of Folk Dances in India is given below:

State of Origin List of Folk Dances in India
Andhra Pradesh Vilasini Natyam, Bhamakalpam, Veeranatyam, Dappu, Tappeta Gullu, Lambadi, Dhimsa, Kolattam.
Arunachal Pradesh Buiya, Chalo, Wancho, Pasi Kongki, Ponung, Popir
Assam Bihu, Bichhua, Natpuja, Maharas, Kaligopal, Bagurumba, Naga dance, Khel Gopal.
Bihar Jata-Jatin, Bakho-Bakhain, Panwariya
Chhattisgarh Gaur Maria, Panthi, Raut Nacha, Pandwani, Vedamati, Kapalik
Gujarat Garba, Dandiya Raas, Tippani Juriun, Bhavai
Goa Tarangamel, Koli, Dekhni, Fugdi, Shigmo, Ghode, Modni, Samayi nrutya, Jagar, Ranmale
Haryana Jhumar, Phag, Daph, Dhamal, Loor, Gugga, Khor.
Himachal Pradesh Jhora, Jhali, Chharhi, Dhaman, Chhapeli, Mahasu
Jammu & Kashmir Rauf, Hikat, Mandjas, Kud Dandi Nach
Jharkhand Alkap, Karma Munda, Agni, Jhumar, Janani Jhumar, Mardana Jhumar, Paika, Phagua
Karnataka Yakshagana, Huttari, Suggi, Kunitha, Karga
Kerala Ottam Thullal, Kaikottikali
Maharashtra Lavani, Nakata, Koli, Lezim, Gafa, Dahikala Dasavtar
Madhya Pradesh Jawara, Matki, Aada, Khada Nach, Phulpati, Grida Dance, Selalarki, Selabhadoni
Manipur Dol Cholam, Thang Ta, Lai Haraoba, Pung Cholom
Meghalaya Ka Shad Suk Mynsiem, Nongkrem, Laho
Mizoram Cheraw Dance, Khuallam, Chailam, Sawlakin, Chawnglaizawn, Zangtalam
Nagaland Rangma, Zeliang, Nsuirolians, Gethinglim
Odisha Savari, Ghumara, Painka, Munari
Punjab Bhangra, Giddha, Daff, Dhaman, Bhand
Rajasthan Ghumar, Chakri, Ganagor, Jhulan Leela, Jhuma, Suisini, Ghapal
Sikkim Chu Faat, Sikmari, Singhi Chaam or the Snow Lion, Yak Chaam, Denzong Gnenha, Tashi Yangku
Tamil Nadu Kumi, Kolattam, Kavadi
Tripura Hojagiri
Uttar Pradesh Nautanki, Raslila, Kajri, Jhora, Chappeli
Uttarakhand Garhwali, Kumayuni, Kajari, Jhora, Raslila

List of Folk Dances in India:- Download PDF Here

Art and culture is an essential part of the IAS syllabus and every year, questions are asked from this section in both the prelims and mains exams.

Relevant Links

Multiple Choice Question

Consider the following Statements

  1. The classical dance originates from Natya Shastra. The 2 basic aspects of Classical dance are Lasya and Tandava.
  2. Folk dance is associated with celebrating agricultural harvest or social gatherings like weddings, etc.
  3. Classical dances are performed by professional or highly trained dancers who have studied their form for many years. There are eight classical Dances in India.
  4. There are more than 30 folk dances in India. Some of the most popular folk dances are Ghoomer, Kacchi Gori Chari, Kalbelia; all of them originating from the state of Rajasthan.

Choose the correct answer from the below-given options

  1. None of the above statements are false.
  2. None of the above statements are true.
  3. Only Statements 2 and 3 are true.
  4. Only Statements 3 and 1 are true.

Answer: A

Frequently Asked Questions on Indian Dance Forms

Q 1. Which is the oldest dance form in India?

Bharatnatyam is the oldest dance form in India.

Q 2. Which is the recently added dance form in the classical dance list of India?

The Cultural Ministry of India has included Chhau in the list of classical dances that makes a total of 9 classical dance forms.

Q 3. What is Karagattam?

Karagattam is an ancient folk dance of Tamil Nadu which is performed while worshipping the Goddess of rain.

Q 4. In how many categories Indian Dance Forms are classified?

Ans. In India, dance forms can be broadly classified into 2 categories- classical and folk dance form. These dance forms have been originated from different parts of India as per the local tradition.

Q 5. Which state dance is Yakshagana?

Ans. Yakshagana is a traditional folk dance form popular in Coastal Karnataka districts. The Yakshagana is an elaborate dance-drama performance unique to Karnataka. It is a rare combination of dance, music, song, scholarly dialogues and colourful costumes.

Q 6. Is Kathak and Kathakali the same form of dance?

Ans. Kathakali is different from a similar-sounding Kathak, though both are Indian classical dance traditions of “story play” wherein the stories have been traditionally derived from the Hindu epics and the Puranas.

Q 7. What is the difference between Kathak and Bharatanatyam?

Ans. The main difference between Kathak and Bharatnatyam is that Bharatnatyam is a South Indian dance tradition that originated around the state of Tamil Nadu, whereas Kathak is a Northern Indian dance tradition that was initially developed in Hindu temples. Kathak and Bharatnatyam are two classical dance forms of India.

Q 8. Kuchipudi dance form belongs to which state?

Ans. Kuchipudi is indigenous to the state of Andhra Pradesh and differs from the other five classical styles by the inclusion of singing. Kuchipudi originated in the 17th century with the creation by Sidhyendra Yogi of the dance-drama Bhama Kalapam, a story of Satyabhāma, the charming but jealous wife of the god Krishna.

Q 9. What is the dance of Gujarat?

Ans. Garba is a form of dance, as well as a religious and social event that originates in Gujarat, India. Garba is a community circle dance from the northwestern Indian state of Gujarat. The word “garba” is also used to refer to the event at which the garba is performed.

Q 10. What is the dance of Maharashtra?

Ans. Lavani is a genre of music popular in Maharashtra, India. Lavani is a combination of traditional song and dance, which particularly performed to the beats of Dholki, a percussion instrument. Lavani is noted for its powerful rhythm.

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4 Comments

  1. What are major Dance forms of INDIA

  2. Sir how many total classical dance are there in India currently 2020

    • Sangeet Natak Academy (India’s National Academy) recognizes only eight classical dances of India, however, the Ministry of Culture also considers Chhau Dance as a classical dance of India, making the total number of classical dances in India as nine.

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