India has a rich cultural heritage and the varied dance forms that we get to see here serve as a reflection of its diverse cultural traditions. When it comes to classical dancing, the country has an amazing variety to present. Some of these dances are religious in nature, while others are performed primarily for the purpose of entertainment, during the happy festive occasions. All the classical dance forms of India revolve around the nine 'Rasa' or emotions, namely happiness, anger, fear, courage, peace, kindness, agony, surprise and disgust. Most of them even have a religious significance and convey devotion and thanks towards the divinity.
As the popularity of the classical dance forms in India increased,
dance festivals came to be organized in a few temples, with the aim of
bringing the religious dances and temples close to each other. Amongst
the most notable examples in this context is the Khajuraho Dance
Festival, which was first held some 20 years ago, amidst the backdrop of
erotic sculptures. It proved to be one of the exclusive festivals of the
modern times and enjoys immense popularity till date. With time, several
other dance festivals also came to be organized across India.
The dance festivals of India provide a common platform to the artistes
(to display their talent) and the dance connoisseurs (to see and
appreciate the performing arts by masters as well as novices). These
festivals prove to be a lavish feast for the eyes and ears of the
classical dance lovers, on one hand. On the other, performing in these
dance festivals presents a lifetime experience to the artistes. To know
more about the dance festivals held in India, go through the information
given in this section.
Indian Dance Festival
Dover Lane Festival
Dover Lane Music Festival is held every year, between the months of December and January, for more than the past 50 years and is considered, as one of the most prominent cultural events in the City of Joy, Kolkata. A registered society under West Bengal Societies Act 1961, it is engaged in the promotion and propagation of Indian classical music.
Hampi Dance Utsav
Organized during the month of October and November, Hampi festival is one of the major tourist attractions of Karnataka, a southern state of India. The festival, which features an scintillating performances of dance, drama and music, is organized amidst the rocks and ruins that date back to hundreds of years.
Khajuraho Dance Festival is a weeklong dance festival and is held during the months of February and March in Khajuraho. This cultural extravaganza is organized by the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Department and is promoted as one of the major cultural event in Khajuraho. This cultural event takes place at an open-air auditorium in front of the Chitragupta Temple.
Konark Dance Festival
India is a country of rich cultural heritage. The religion, arts and crafts in the Indian culture are so well intermingled with each other that it is almost impossible to segregate them. There are also so many varied forms of music and dances that each region has a special music and dance form of its own which has originated from the deep rooted cultural and religious practices of that specified region.
Apart from its temples that represent the architectural beauty of the ancient India, Mahabalipuram, a small city in Tamil Nadu, is also famous for its vibrant Mamallapuram Dance Festival. Indian classical dances including Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Mohiniattam, Odissi and Kathakali are performed in this festival, which is held annually, during the months of January and February.
Nishagandhi Dance Festival popularly known as Nishagandhi Nritya Utsav is celebrated twice a year, once in the month of October-November and then in the month of March-April in the Nishagandhi Theatre, in Kanakunnu palace compound, in the city of Trivandrum or Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. This festival is about a week long and witnesses participation from artisans all over the country.
Devotion and Dance are very much intermingled in the Indian Culture. Unlike West, the Indian Culture relates the art of dance more to religion and dedication than relaxation and fun. Several dance forms in India have even emerged from the deep rooted religious practices of any particular sect or region. In fact, one of the three most respected Gods of the Hindu Religion,
Taj Mahotsav is one of the most cherished cultural festivals of India, admired by the foreigners and locals alike. Held every year, between February and March, it is a ten day feast of classical dances, folk art and light music. This grand carnival takes place in Shilpgram, a place located very close to the Taj Mahal, Agra. Taj Mahotsav is an ode to the rich cultural heritage of Uttar Pradesh.
Madhya Pradesh, fondly called the heart of India, has gained a prominent position in the history of Indian music. One of the most prestigious festivals of the place that has gained national as well as international recognition is the Tansen Music Festival, which is also called Tansen Sangeet Samelan or The Tansen Utsav.