Tag Archives: dance


Karana is a Sanskrit term that can be translated to mean “doing” in English. Karana is a key transition of an Indian dance, outlined and defined in “Natya Shastra,” the Indian study of performing arts. Natya Shastra describes 108 karanas and it states that one who performs them will be liberated from all sins. The karanas listed and explained in “Natya Shastra” refer to the Hindu god, Shiva, doing them on Kailasa. Each karana subsists of three elements: sthana (pose of the body), nrttahasta (arm movement) and caari (leg movement).


Mohiniyattam also named Mohiniattam is a classical Indian dance said to have started as early as 16th century C.E. in the city of Kerala as a dance meant for the temples. This dance is traditionally performed by women since it was said to come from Mohini, a character that Lord Vishnu embodied to seduce his enemies. The dance form is considered to be feminine expression of love (maternal and devotional), with elaborate costuming, soft facial expressions and feminine hand mudras that emote a story through dance. The accompanying song is a mix of Malayalam language and Sanskrit, which can be sung by a vocalist or by the dancer.


Kuchipudi is a classical Indian dance known for its dramatic nature and distinctive for its use of speech and singing. It is named after the village, Kuchelapuram, in the Krishna district in South India. According to legend, the dance was founded by an orphan called Siddhendra Yogi.

A typical Kuchipudi dance combines music, dancing and acting to present a scene from a Hindu scripture, myth or legend. It includes worship rituals and invocations of the gods and goddesses, devotion being the key element in the choreography of the dance. The purpose of Kuchipudi is to emphasize bhakti, which is the worship and devotion toward the Hindu gods, and to connect devotees and deities through dance.


Kathakali is an ancient form of theater that originated in the state of Kerala in India. This Sanskrit word literally means “story play.” It is one of the oldest theater forms in the world and is distinguished by the elaborate makeup and costumes that the performers wear, as well as the symbolic gestures and dance movements.

The kathakali themes are based in Hinduism and yogic philosophy. The stories typically come from ancient narratives, like the “Mahabarata” and the “Ramayana,” and the scriptures called the Puranas.