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Dance styles

Indian classical dance contains different dance styles, which are more or less based on the book Nāṭyaśāstra, which was written by Bharata Muni between 200 BC and 100 AD. The book consists 6000 shlokas (Old Indian poetic stanzas). The Nāṭyaśāstra tells about theatre art: dance, theatre and music. In the Nāṭyaśāstra we can find acting techniques, but also how to build up and organize a stage, and how to make optimal use of make-up and jewelry. The Nāṭyaśāstra even tells of ways to convey specific emotions to the audience.


Three aspects are distinguished in all Indian classical dance styles, namely: 

  •  Nritta: Abstract dancemovements;

  •  Nritya: The depiction of a story using handgestures;

  •  Abhinaya: Mime, expression of the emotions through facial expressions.


At Dance Academy Natraj you can learn the Indian classical temple dance styles Odissi and Kathak.




Odissi is characterized by the fluid movements of the upper body (like the waves of the ocean on the shores of Puri) and the grace in handgestures (mudras) and wristwork (waving of the palms), alternating with firm footwork (symbolizing the heartbeat of Mother Earth).


Kathak is one of the eight classical dance styles from India and originates from the North of the country.

 Kathak is derived from the word kathá which means 'story' in Hindi. Thus, Kathak is a narrative dance style that made it possible for Kathakars (storytellers), to tell religious and mythological stories in the temples.

Other dance styles

In addition to Odissi and Kathak dance lessons, Dance Academy Natgraj also offers Bollywood and Indian folkdance lessons. For more information about this please contact us.

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