History of the Dance
Meaning of the Dance Moves
Examples of Indian Dance in America
One Woman’s Story
In the last few years, the traditions of India’s music and
dance have been making a presence in American life.
There have been dance schools with added classes to
teach the youth the traditional dance.
Ice skaters dancing to Indian Music.
Presentations of the dance and music.
Even featured a Dance Troupe on Good Morning
These are just a few of the ways that America is
accepting the music of India into our society.
The next few slides represent Indian traditional music
and dance presence in America.
“The dancer must communicate with the audience on
a narrative level, as well as, as Rasika says, appeal to
some aesthetic on the level of “abstraction.”
Each move the dancer makes, helps tell the story
The dancer could be a man or a woman or group of
dancers, depending upon the dance.
The stories are based on love, mythology, and poetry.
This dance style is characterized by a linear form of the
body without any pronounced movement of the upper
body and linear spatial patterns, which make the
dance form extremely dynamic and powerful.
It also makes it very difficult to learn.
It was designed for royalty and has been preserved
with its professionalism though strict tradition.
Sadir Natyam – a solo dance performed for royal
Bhagavata Melam – a group form of dance drama
from Tamil Nadu, with all roles performed by men,
themes based on mythology
Kuravanji – a group dance by women, interpreting
literary or poetic compositions typically on the theme
Kuchipudi – a group form of dance drama from
Andhra Pradesh, with all roles performed by men, and
themes based on mythology
“This dance is the oldest
of the classical dance
forms, and its origin can
be traced to Bharatha`s
Basic dance moves are
taught with specific
syllables. The syllables
feed off of each other
keeping pace with the
This is the first dance step. It is asking permission from
Mother Earth to stamp on her. Then at the end of the
same is repeated to ask permission again. All dances
begin and end this way.
Through the movements
stories are told.
Passing of the torch .
“A female Bharatanatyam costume consists of a number of
pieces, designed to look like the dancer is wearing a sari in a
special way. Typically, there is a single piece from the waist down,
which could be in the form of a skirt or a dhoti. There is a blouse
piece for the torso, and a wrap that covers the blouse. Then there
are optional decorative pieces, such as back pieces, fans, and
In addition to the clothing, there is specific jewellery for
Bharatanatyam, called temple jewellery. It consists of the
headset, earset, necklaces, and waist belt, some of which can
have many individual pieces. Bangles and anklets with bells
complete the ensemble. For men, the jewellery does not include
the headset. The earset is simple, usually just stud earrings, and
the necklaces are also less ornate.” rangashree.org
“In India, traditional knowledge was passed from
teachers to disciples using a system called the gurukul.
The literal meaning of gurukul is "the guru's family".”
“In India Bharatanatyam students train daily for four
years to be qualified as dancers, and some continue
with post graduate studies, usually for two more
Bharatanatyam students in the U.S. typically have a
one hour class each week. This means it usually takes
about ten years to mature into a performing artist.
Since American students also work, have school and
Excerpts from Abhinaya's concerts:
1. Rivers - a mystical journey - choreography by Rasika
Kumar; performed by the Company.
2. Nritya Sangati - Progressions - choreography by
Rasika Kumar; performed by the Company.
Dance performance by the US national dance
champions Meryl Davies and Charlie White to Indian
American competitors use an Indian mix of dance
music to skate to.
The NDM Bollywood Dance troupe perform a
Bollywood dance to "Jai Ho" from Slumdog
Millionaire, on Good Morning America, under the
choreography of Nakul Dev Mahajan.
This group was featured on Good Morning America.
It is a modern mix of Indian and Hip Hop.
They dance to the song “Jai Ho” by The Pussy Cat Dolls
August 15, 2009, the Indian community in Madison
,Wisconsin, led by the Association of Indians in
America-Wisconsin chapter (AIA), celebrated India
Day to commemorate India's Independence Day. The
celebration featured several performances
highlighting Indian dance, songs, and music, as well as
Indian food offered by a number of local restaurants.
“Mythili Kumar began teaching informal
bharatanatyam classes to a group of young girls and it
blossomed into a Company.
She created the Abhinaya Dance Company of San Jose
Mythili taught her daughters the dance. Her husband
also perfoms and helps with the music.
This is the Dance Company’s slide show of pictures
that represent different dance moves.
It also gives a good representation of traditional attire
Abhinaya Dance Company was started by Mythili
In June, the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival
awarded Mythili Kumar the 2010 Malonga
Casquelourd Lifetime Achievement Award.
The San Jose Mercury News estimates that over 1,000
students have passed through Abhinaya’s doors.”