Art & Culture

Indian Folk Dance – Interesting historical Facts to Know

Ankia Nat – Folk Dance of Assam

assam-Ankia Naa-drama
Picture of Artists performing Ankia Nat

Indian Folk dance , Ankia Naats are a group of one act plays performed in North eastern part of India at Assam, A scenic nature state sitauted along the eastern Himalayas along with Brahmaputra and Barak Prominent river valleys. Ankia Naat Act indian folk dance was recognized by Srimanta Sankarveda .The Plays are mostly centered on Lord Krishna and it was written in an Indo Aryan language Asamiya and Maithili Mixed language called Brajavali (A literary Languague used by Medival Reformer – Srimanta Sankarveda around 1449 – 1568) . The Act was played in the Village hall and in Open field .

Bhavai – Folk Dance of Rajasthan & Gujarat

bhavai dance
Picture of Artists Bhavai

Greatest Art form dedicated to the “Mother of Universe” also known as Amba. It was performed every  year 1st day of Great Indian Festival Navaratra, in Lord Shiva temple starts with Bhavai. It has its own classical theme having greater influence of Kathak, besides the indian folk dance of Rass & Garba is mostly seen. Bhavai’s travel from one place to another – especially village to village for their plays . Indian folk dance , bhavai is a Series of Play strung together. This Mythological performance is famous in the Western part of India – Rajasthan & Gujarat.

Bhand Pather – Folk Dance of Kashmir

Bhand Pather
Picture of Artists performing Bhand Pather

Bhand Pather is the Traditional Indian Folk dance performed in the Valley (Kashmir).The folk art combines the most important three aspects namely Dance, Acting and Music.  Laughter is a part of this theatre which generated through Parody, Wit and Satire. Bhand Pather is a social drama including Mythological legends and social satire. The Bhands are trained by their troupe leader called Magun , he trains the Bhands in various elements including acting, musician, acrobat .

Khyal – Folk Dance of Rajasthan

Picture of Artists performing Khyal

Khyal also known as Rajasthan’s varieties of Dance Drama. One of the oldest form of art since 400 years old , includes singing with distinctive techniques using Instrumental Music with two songs namely Badh Khyal and Great Khyal. The Khyal indian folk dance have been powerful medium of Entertainment as well as Cultural and social education aspects. Khyal songs are also called as Bandish which means Melodic composition in Instrumental Music. The Languague used in Khyal is Hindi or Urudu.

Kudiyattam – Folk Dance of Kerala

Picture of Artists performing Kudiyattam

Members of Chakyar and Nangiyar Communities traditionally enact the drama together. While male Cast were performed by Chakyar and Female cast were performed by Nangiyar.  The Kudiyattam drama event took place inside the temple premises over 6 to 20 days period. The Indian Folk Dance Kudiyattam involves the rich gestures and indeed every word in the play is practically interrupted by theatrical gestures. The theme of the Kudiyattam drama is mostly consists of the ancient mythological theme. Even still today anyone can visit the koodalmanikyam temple at Irinjalakkuda and the Vadakkumnatha temple at Thrissur in Kerala to witness the great ancient performance of the Kudiyattam drama. The Act was played in Malayalam Languague to explain the Sanskrit passages to the masses. Kudiyattam Art influenced the development of Rama attam and  Krishna attam later form a classical dance called Kathakali.

Macha – Folk Dance of Madhya Pradesh

Picture of Artists performing Macha

200 Year Old dance drama born in Ujjain District of Madhyapradesh in India. Macha is performed during Holi , the harvest season. This Indian Folk Dance play is based on the Mythological stories, folk tales of romance, valour and historical episodes. Macha uses plentiful folk tunes as well as classical ragas and some themes are from contemporary social life as well.

Nautanki – Folk Dance of Uttar Pradesh

Picture of Artists performing Nautanki

The greatest love stories in the few centuries namely Laila Majnu, Amarsinhi Rathore and Heer Ranja are most prominent theatre play of Indian Folk Dance Nautanki in Uttar Pradesh state. The name of this Folk theatre Nautanki is derived from the name of the heroine in the play “Shahjjadi Nautanki”. The Dialogues of the Nautanki are delivered in a high pitch to the accompaniment of a percussion instrument called the “Nakkara”. The meters used in this play are doha,chaubola,chhappai and behar-e-tabeel. Indian stage performer Gulab bhai of Kanpur is credited a new dimension to this theatre form.

Prahallada Nataka – Folk Dance of Odisha

Prahallada Nataka
Picture of Artists performing Prahallada Nataka

Theatre form dance drama belonging to Ganjam District – Southern part of Odisha state in India. Each performance in the Indian Folk Dance Prahallada Nataka lasts around 12 hours and often took  3 to 7 nights to complete the performance . All female characters are portrayed by male actors throughout the play. It performed in the open-air atmosphere and uses seven stepped platform called Mancha. Notable a Chair is fitted at top of the platform acts as a Throne. Prahallada Nataka is in the Languague mix of Sanskrit and Odia. The act includes dance, mime and stylished gestures. Notable persons received awards from Sangeet Natak Academy in India are Raghunath Satpathy, Simanchal Patto, Krishna Chandra Sahu  as Akademi Awardees and Brundaban Jena , Pramod Kumar Nahak as Yuva Puraskar Awardees .

Ram leela – Folk Dance of Uttar Pradesh

Ram leela
Picture of Artists performing Ram Leela

At Kashi , Ram leela Goswami Tulsidas started the play (dance drama) based on the Life events of Lord Rama. The Episodes of Ramayana is conducted in different days of Dussehra (A major Hindu festival celebrated at end of the Navaratri) at different places. Ram nagar – The Indian Folk dance Ram leela is famous in tradition for which people travelling all the way to Ram nagar to see the event. Most prominent characters in the Ram leela , the Ravana and Hanuman wear striking masks and delivers the dialogue in elegant manner. Even nowadays any one can watch this event in Ayodhya(Uttar Pradesh) Ramnagar(Uttar Pradesh)  and Benares also know an Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Vrindavan(Uttar Pradesh), Almora(Uttarakhand), Satna(Madhya Pradesh) and Madhubani(Bihar).

Saang – Folk Dance of Haryana

Picture of Artists performing Saang

Saang also know as Swang has its root back to 16th Century Old Traditional Indian Folk dance in Haryana. The Play always starts with the Song of Goodness of Knowledge- Lord Bhawani. Swang means imitating or disguising. The players perform in this folk theatre Sings, Mimics and expresses the love ,sacrifice, humor and lot more interest of human emotions dealing with . The Play performed in the open field atmosphere by 12 or more actors, Musicians, Singers etc. Both Men and women performed in Swang. The Other examples of open field folk theatre performance are Ram leela, Prahallada Nataka, Bhand Pather etc. There are prompters for each personality who do their job brilliantly, inaudible to the audience. A number of musical Equipments  like the ektara, kharta(Ancient instrument), dholak(two headed drum), Sarangi (short necked string instrument)and harmonium(keyboard instrument) are included to bring about the flavor into the dialogues.  There are two styles of swang namely Rohtak Style’s Haryanvi and Haathras Style Brajbhasa. Kishan Lala bhat who is responsible for the foundation of Contemporary Folk Theatre in Haryana. Dip Chand Bahman alias Shakespeare of Kalidas of Haryana was a Popular artist of Haryana who hails from Khandaa Village of Sonipat District.

Theru koothu – Folk Dance of Tamilnadu

Theru koothu
Image of Artists performing Theru Koothu

Theru koothu is a Legendary street theatre performance in the form of rural entertainment & communications in Tamilnadu. The Indian Folk Dance, Theru Koothu involves Music, Drama and Dance together in it . Every player in the Theru koothu is brilliantly talented as they often to compose poems and sing in tune and talas. The topics from day to day activities, issues, social messages and old epics are performed in this street theatre performance . A notable act in Theru koothu is female characters are portrayed by males . Theru koothu took place in the village festivals around Tamil months Panguni and Aadi.

Yakshagana Bayalata – Folk Dance of Karnataka

Yakshagana Bayalata
Picture of Artists performing Yakshagana Bayalata

The Indian Folk theatre form in Karnataka from the ancient Bhagavatara Ata. The troupes in the play are maintained by temples. The players in this Yakshagana Bayalata uses elaborate make up, colorful dresses and huge head dress while performance. The topics enacted in this Yakshagana Bayalata are drawn from ancient epics and Dasavatar Lord Vishu. Two temples namely Udipi & Mookambika are said to been home of Yakshagana Bayalata.  The act was performed  in open air auditorium.

Karyala – Folk Dance of Himachal Pradesh

Picture of Artists performing Karyala

The famous Indian folk dance drama of Himachal Pradesh is named after a Local flower Kachnaar/Karyal i,e. Famous Blossom. Karyala is mostly performed at dusk time around the great indian festival Deepavali. Only Males are performed in Karyala. The performance took place in any place and established direct communication with audience due to its local language play. It is enjoyed by all groups of people. The artists who performs this folk theatre event is known as Karyalchies and talented using Flutes,drums,harmoniums etc… Karyala always starts with the Dance of Chandravali (Worship God).


what is the folk dance of karnataka ?

Yakshagana Bayalata.

what is the folk dance of odisha ?

Prahallada Nataka

what is the folk dance of andhra pradesh


What is the folk dance of uttar pradesh ?

Ram leela, Nautanki.

What is the folk dance of madhya pradesh ?

Macha, Ram leela.

What is the famous folk dance of tamil nadu ?

Theru koothu.

what are the important folk dances of india ?

Ankia Nat, Bhavai, Bhand Pather, Khyal, Kudiyattam, Macha, Nautanki , Prahallada Nataka, Ram leela, Saang, Theru koothu, Yakshagana Bayalata, Karyala.

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