Countries: Asia

Northern Classical Forms

India: Heritage of Dances

In Northern India, apart from Kathak and Manipuri, there are two important classical dances: Orissi and Chhau.

Orissi, like Bharata Natym, was intended to be performed in temples as a religious offering. It has intensely emotional and lyrical structure and themes of its songs concern Krishna.

Among the leading performers of Orissi are Sanjukta Panirgrahi, Indrani Rehman and Sonal Mansingh.
Orissi belongs to Eastern states of Orissa, where there are a number of institutions providing training in art, particularly in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar.

Chhau dance has three distinct traditions, of which Seraikella belongs to Bihar, Mayurhhanj to Orissa and Purulia to West Bengal.

Seraikella and Purulia versions  are performed with masks. Themes are mostly from mythology, but sometimes inspiration is taken from nature.

In all three regions, Chhau dances are performed principally only once every year, in mid-April, the time of Annual Spring Festival.





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