Indian classical dance, or Shastriya Nritya, is an umbrella term for different regionally-specific Indian classical dance traditions, rooted in predominantly Hindu musical theatre performance, the theory and practice of which can be traced to the Sanskrit text Natya Shastra. The number of Indian classical dance styles ranges from eight to twelve, or more, depending on the source and scholar; the main organisation for Indian arts preservation, the Sangeet Natak Academy (as well as India’s Ministry of Culture), recognizes eight – Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Kathakali, Sattriya, Manipuri and Mohiniyattam. Additionally, the Indian Ministry of Culture includes Chhau in its list, recognising nine total styles. Scholars such as Drid Williams add Chhau, Yakshagana and Bhagavata Mela to the list. Each dance tradition originates and comes from a different state and/or region of India; for example, Bharatanatyam is from Tamil Nadu in the south of India, Odissi is from the east coast state of Odisha, and Manipuri is from the northeastern state of Manipur. The music associated with these different dance performances consists many compositions in Hindi, Malayalam, Meitei (Manipuri), Sanskrit, Tamil, Odia, Telugu, and many other Indian-Subcontinent languages; they represent a unity of core ideas, and a diversity of styles, costumes and expression.
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