Difference between Classical and Folk Dances

What is a Classical Dance ?

Classical dances are various styles of dance forms which are performed gracefully in sacred/divine and spiritual way. Classical dances are generally story based, on concept of good and evil, based on the instances of epics and Hindu mythology specially Ramayan or Mahabharat etc. In general there are 8 classical dances of India. The classical dances are associated with grace, elegance, facial expressions, specialized dance sequences, swiftness and agility and unique costumes and unique musical instruments. The Indian classical dance forms and its techniques draws its traces from the book “Natyashastra” written by sage Bharat Muni in ancient times.

What is a Folk Dance ?

Folk dances can be also called as Tribal dances. These dances are generally performed on the occasion of harvest season or local festivals. Folk dances are also organised to pray for rains and for recreation purposes. Each regions of country has special folk or tribal dance representing the individual identity and culture and practices of that region. For example Rajasthan has its Ghumar and Khayal, Gujarat has Garba, Punjab has Bhangra, Giddha.

Difference between Classical and Folk Dances

  1. Classical dances are associated with an aura of spirituality. These spiritual sentiments are generally not available in Folk dances as  they are generally meant for recreational reasons and symbolises enjoyment.
  2. Folk dances are generally performed to celebrate harvest season while classical dances are performed to seek eternal  divine bliss and to arouse a keen sense of spirituality.
  3. Folk dances can be performed in a wide variety of platforms say fields, theaters etc but classical dances originally were performed in temples only.
  4. There are only 8 recognized forms of classical dances in India while there innumerable folk dances as per different regions, tribe, community etc.