What is South Asian dance?

South Asian dance encompasses classical, folk and popular dance forms originating from the South Asian countries (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Afghanistan).

Indian Classical Dance

Indian Classical Dance are specialised and structured art dances and are known to have their inception in the ancient or medieval times. Although all of them have a regional origin, they are regarded as national, ‘classical’ or ‘south Asian’ dances. They include Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, Manipuri, Mohiniyattam and Sattriya.

Folk Dance

Folk dance is a term broadly used to describe all forms of folk and tribal dances across India. While Indian classical dance was traditionally performed in courts, temples and on special occasions, folk dance forms were practiced in groups in rural areas as an expression of their daily work and rituals. They are performed on religious or seasonal festivals. Some of the popular folk dances that are performed across villages and cities are Bhangra, Garba, Kalbelia and Bihu.

Popular Dance Forms

Other popular South Asian dance forms include Bollywood (or Filmi dance), and dance forms influenced by martial art including Kalaripayattu (or Kalari) and Chhau.

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