Its format consists of Alarippu (invocation), Jathi Swaram (note combination), Shabdam (notes and lyrics), Varnam (a combination of pure dance and abhinaya), lighter items like Padams and Javalis (all erotic) and finally the thillana (pure dance). Noted Bharatanatyam dancers include Bala Saraswati (died: 1984), Rukmini Devi Arundale, Yamini Krishnamurthy, Komala Varadan, Vyjayantimala. 2. Odissi: Odissi also had its origin in the Natya Shastra. In the 17th century it was popularised by a class of boys known as Gotipuas, who danced in the Orissan temples, dressed as girls.
The format consists of Bhumi Pranam, Batu, Pallavi and lighter items like Ashtapadi ending in Moksha. Some renowned exponents of Odissi past & present are: Kelucharan Mahapatra, Samyukta Panigrahi, Mayadhar Raut and Sonal Man Singh. 3. Kuchipudi:It is also derived from the Natya Shastra and is the dance-drama of Andhra Pradesh.
It shares many similarities with Bharatanatyam, except that the emphasis of Kuchipudi is more on animation. Leading Kuchipudi artists are Vedantham Satyanarayana, Vembhathi Chinnasatyam, Raja Reddy and Radha Reddy. 4. Manipuri:It was influenced by the spread of Vaishnavism in Manipur during the 15th-18th centuries. A highly ritualistic dance, this dance-drama form is primarily based on legend and mythology. Drums play an important role and Poonang Cholom item is a must in any performance. The leading names in Manipuri dance were the Zhaveri sisters. Guru Sanghajit and Charu Mathur.
5. Kathakali: This dance-drama of Kerala is a highly stylised form in which the dancer does not speak, but expresses himself through highly complicated and scientifically ordained mudras and steps and facial gestures in synchronization with closely following the text being sung from the background of the stage. It is known for the gorgeous costumes, ornaments and facial make-up of the dancer which transforms him into a type rather than a character. 6. Kathak: A north Indian dance, it goes through a regular format mostly concentrating on rhythm, variously called Tatkar, Paltas, Thoras, Amad and Parans. Bindadin Maharaj, late Gopi Krishna, Birju Maharaj, Sitara Devi and Uma Sharma are a few maestros of this dance form.