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Classical Indian Dance

Following a research project and proposal from Akademi, South Asian Dance in the UK, a new ISTD Faculty was set up in 1999 to examine in Bharatanatyam and Kathak, the two classical South Asian dance genres most frequently taught in the UK. Examining started in 2001 in various regions of the UK, with expansion into Europe, Canada and the US, along with enquiries being received from other parts of the world, including Australasia, India and Pakistan.

Bharatanatyam is the name given in the early twentieth century to the dances known as Dasi-attam and Sadir-attam, which evolved over centuries in the temples and royal courts of Southern India. It highlights the beauty of strong lines leading out from the dancer's body and is embellished with intricately expressive hand gestures and elaborate storytelling through exquisite facial expressions.

Kathak originated as a story telling art form in northern India. It developed in Hindu temples and later in Mughal courts. It is characterised by fluid body movements, complex patterns of footwork, fast turns and sudden stillness.

A precise interaction with classical Indian music from South and North India respectively characterises both these dance genres.

Download a history of the Classical Indian Dance Faculty. If you would like to find out more about ISTD history you can order your copy of 100 Years of Dance from our online shop.

Classical Indian Dance Primary Class Examination
Some minor changes have been made in terms of the length of the examination and candidates being required to perform a small section on their own. This has been included in the revised Bharatanatyam and Kathak syllabus outlines (effective for examinations since 1st September 2013).

ISTD Syllabus Outlines  

Download the Bharatanatyam syllabus outline from the theatre dance syllabus page.

Download the Kathak syllabus outline from the theatre dance syllabus page.

Download updated information on CD resources for Bharatanayam.

Download updated information on CD resources for Kathak.

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