Indian Classical Dance forms are really great to not just to watch sitting in auditorium and applause but to observe and understand very influence of nonverbal communication in our life. Most people might attribute these dance forms to antiquity and culture - tradition of certain geographical area or civilization but these dance forms portray broad spectrum of emotions and feelings an individual from any part of this earth has at unconscious level.
Karanas (Transitional movements or postural alternations), Hastas (Hand Gestures), Adavus (Series of steps or expressions), and Bhedas (Eye contact, different gazes, Neck - Head movements) are basic elements of all Indian Classical Dance forms described in Natya Shashtra - an ancient Indian treatise on the performing arts (Theatre, Dance, and Music).
Dancers often enact as mythological story tellers or actual characters of story on stage but they can convey message of different subjects from real life. They can portray virtually any tangible or intangible entity and concept. They utilize facial (micro) expressions, postures, gestures, emblems, proxemics, and movements to enact them very lively and dramatically. Many western performing artists have invented hybrid dance forms inspired from Indian Classical Dance forms.
Dr. Paul Ekman found universality of facial expressions subjected to seven basic emotions in 20th century. But Indian classical dancer have been portraying Nav-Rasas (Nine distinct psychological states or emotions) since more than thousand years. The nine different emotions included in Nav-Rasas are Shringara (Love, Affection or Amour), Hasya (Laughter), Karuna (Kind-heartedness or Compassion), Raudra (Anger), Veera (Courage), Bhayanaka (Terror), Bheebhatsya (Disgust), Adbutha (Surprise), and Shantha (Peace or tranquility).
With charismatic costume, jeweleries, accessories, body decoration, make-up, and music; each dance form is unique yet strongly connected with each other through shared aspects like exuberance, sophistication, and dedication. Not just Indian or people belonging to oriental cultures but also many notable artists and scholars across the globe are inspired from classical dances of India.
Following are the Indian Classical Dance forms:
- Kathak - Classical dance from Northern India inheriting few aspects from Persian (Iranian) and Central Asian dance forms
- Bharatanatyam - Classical dance from
- Kathakali - Classical dance from Kerala
- Kuchipudi - Classical dance from Andhra Pradesh
- Manipuri - Classical dance from Manipur
- Mohiniaattam - Classical dance from Kerala
- Odissi - Classical dance from Orissa
- Sattriya - Classical dance from
Watch this YouTube video briefly demonstrating the power of Mudras (Expressions and Gestures) to portray different elements in dance.