Shakti Mohan, in a modern take on Indian dance costume. Shakti is a contemporary dancer from India. She was the winner of Zee TV's dance reality show Dance India Dance's season 2. Photographer: Pravin Talan.
Dance in India has an unbroken tradition of over 2,000 years. Its themes are derived from mythology, legends and classical literature, two main divisions being classical and folk. Classical dance forms are based on ancient dance discipline and have rigid rules of presentation. Important among them are Bharat Natyam, Khathakali, Kathak, Manipur, Kuchipudi and Odissi.
Odissi, a classical dance from Orissa, is known for its grace, fluid movements and beautiful poses. A striking feature of the Odissi dance is that it has found extensive representation in the ornamental temple structure of Orissa. The dance form is made up of its own vocabulary of foot positions, head movements, eye movements, body positions, hand gestures, rhythmic foot work, jumps, turns and spins. All these combine to make one of the most expressive and lyrical of all classical dances.