FUN FACTS: learn about Indian Classical Dance before you come see Encounter!
We are thrilled to be a part of the launch of Diwali in BC; on October 17 we will be kicking off their inaugural year with the opening of an amazing physical theatre piece Encounter from Navarasa Dance Theatre. Encounter explores dance forms from India we rarely ever get to see in Vancouver; it combines exhilarating physical theatre and dance with elements of Indian classical dance, yoga, martial arts, and folk dances.
You may be interested to know a little more about Indian classical dance (it’s fun stuff to know!), well here is a chance to sound like a pro when you bring your friends to the show.
There are 8 main classical dances generally acknowledged in India:
- Bharatanatyam, from Tamil Nadu
- Kathak, from Northern and Western India
- Kathakali, from Kerala
- Kuchipudi, from Andhra Pradesh
- Odissi, from Odisha
- Sattriya, from Assam
- Manipuri, from Manipur
- Mohiniyattam, from Kerala
Here is a little information about six of the main types of Indian classical dance; these beautiful dances are typically what we see in Vancouver:
Bharatanatyam– is a dance of Tamil Nadu in southern India. It traces its origins back to the Natyashastra, an ancient treatise on theatre written by the mythic priest Bharata. Originally a temple dance for women, bharatanatyam often is used to express Hindu religious stories and devotions.
Kathakali– Kathakali comes from southwestern India, around the state of Kerala. Like bharatanatyam, kathakali is a religious dance. It draws inspiration from the Ramayana and stories from Shaiva traditions. Kathakali is traditionally performed by boys and men, even for female roles
Kathak– A dance of northern India, Kathak is often a dance of love. It is performed by both men and women. The movements include intricate footwork accented by bells worn around the ankles and stylized gestures adapted from normal body language.
Manipuri- Manipuri comes from Manipur in northeastern India. It has its roots in that state’s folk traditions and rituals, and often depicts scenes from the life of the god Krishna. Unlike some of the other, more rhythmic dances, Manipuri is characterized by smooth and graceful movements.
By Matsukin – DSC00472, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4085211
Kuchipudi– Unlike the other styles mentioned, kuchipudi requires talent in both dancing and singing. This dance, from the state of Andhra Pradesh in southeastern India, is highly ritualized, with a formalized song-and-dance introduction, sprinkling of holy water, and burning of incense, along with invocations of goddesses.
Odissi– Is indigenous to Orissa in eastern India. It is predominantly a dance for women, with postures that replicate those found in temple sculptures. Based on archaeological findings, odissi is belived to be the oldest of the surviving Indian classical dances. Odissi is a very complex and expressive dance, with over fifty mudras (symbolic hand gestures) commonly used.
Come experience them!
Photo credit: Christopher Joseph
Encounter runs at the York Theatre Oct 17-22. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.