The Most Popular Indian Dance: Exploring the Vibrant World of Indian Dance Forms

Choose the dance you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Feb 15, 2024 06:13
Step into the vibrant world of Indian dance and join us at StrawPoll as we embark on a rhythmic journey to discover the most popular Indian dance! With thousands of polls and rankings on various topics, we now invite you to cast your vote for your favorite Indian dance form or even suggest a missing option. From the graceful elegance of Bharatanatyam to the energetic beats of Bhangra, the mesmerizing swirls of Kathak to the expressive storytelling of Odissi - the choice is yours! Unleash your inner dance enthusiast and help us rank these beautiful art forms that have captured the hearts and souls of millions across the globe. So, put on your dancing shoes and let your vote be the judge in this enchanting quest to unveil India's most popular dance. Don't miss out on the opportunity to have your say and influence the outcome - every vote counts!

What Is the Most Popular Indian Dance?

  1. 1
    Bharatanatyam - is one of the oldest and most traditional forms of Indian classical dance that originated in Tamil Nadu. It is known for its grace, fluidity, and intricate footwork.
    Bharatanatyam is a popular classical dance form that originated in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is characterized by intricate footwork, graceful movements, expressive hand gestures, elaborate costumes, and captivating storytelling. The dance form is steeped in rich mythology, religious themes, and depicts various emotions and narratives.
    • Origin: Tamil Nadu, India
    • Age: Over 2,000 years old
    • Style: Classical Indian dance
    • Music: Carnatic music
    • Dress: Colorful traditional attire, including saree for women
  2. 2
    Kathak is is a North Indian classical dance form that originated in the Mughal era. It is characterized by its fast footwork, spins, and storytelling through facial expressions and hand gestures.
    Kathak is a beautiful and expressive classical Indian dance form that originated in northern India. It is known for its intricate footwork, graceful movements, storytelling, and rhythmic patterns. The word 'Kathak' is derived from the Sanskrit word 'katha,' which means story, and the dancers of Kathak use hand gestures, facial expressions, and body movements to convey various narratives and emotions. The dance form has evolved over centuries, blending elements of Persian and Mughal culture with the traditional Indian dance styles.
    • Footwork: Kathak is characterized by intricate and fast footwork, known as tatkar, where the dancer creates rhythmic patterns with their feet on the stage.
    • Hand Gestures: Kathak dancers use a wide range of hand gestures, known as mudras, to convey different emotions, characters, and stories.
    • Facial Expressions: Facial expressions play a crucial role in Kathak, as dancers express a vast array of emotions and convey various moods through their face.
    • Spins and Turns: Kathak is known for its mesmerizing spins and turns, where dancers rotate rapidly on one foot while maintaining balance and control.
    • Costumes: Kathak costumes are traditionally adorned with intricate embroidery and embellishments, including the use of bells on anklets, known as ghungroos.
  3. 3
    Bollywood is is a fusion dance style that blends traditional Indian dance forms with Western styles such as jazz, hip hop, and contemporary dance. It is popularized by the Indian film industry and is known for its high energy and colorful costumes.
    Bollywood is the informal term used to refer to the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. It is the largest film industry in India and one of the largest in the world. Bollywood movies are known for their colorful and extravagant song and dance sequences, melodramatic plots, and elaborate sets. The term 'Bollywood' is a portmanteau of 'Bombay' (the former name for Mumbai) and 'Hollywood'.
    • Language: Primarily Hindi-language films, but also includes movies in other Indian languages.
    • Genres: A wide range of genres including romance, comedy, action, drama, musicals, and historical epics.
    • Song and Dance Sequences: Extravagant musical numbers are a prominent feature in most Bollywood movies.
    • Melodramatic Plots: Bollywood movies often have emotionally charged and dramatic storylines.
    • Global Reach: Bollywood movies have a significant following worldwide, especially in countries with large Indian diaspora.
  4. 4
    Garba is is a traditional folk dance from the state of Gujarat, India. It is performed during the festival of Navratri and involves circular movements and clapping of hands to the beat of the music.
    Garba is a popular street food in the Ivory Coast that is a fried dough ball made from cornmeal. It is typically served with a spicy tomato-based sauce and often topped with spicy grilled meat or fish. Garba is a delectable and filling snack that is enjoyed by people of all ages.
    • Origin: Ivory Coast
    • Main Ingredients: Cornmeal, spices
    • Texture: Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside
    • Shape: Rounded dough balls
    • Serving Style: Served with tomato-based sauce and toppings
  5. 5
    Bhangra is is a lively Punjabi folk dance that originated in the Punjab region of India and Pakistan. It is known for its upbeat music and energetic movements, including jumps and kicks.
    Bhangra is a lively and vibrant folk dance from the Punjab region of India and Pakistan. It is known for its energetic and joyous movements, accompanied by traditional Punjabi music.
    • Origin: Punjab region of India and Pakistan
    • Music: Traditional Punjabi music
    • Energy Level: High
    • Costumes: Colorful and vibrant traditional attire
    • Footwork: Energetic and rhythmic steps
  6. 6
    Odissi is is a classical dance form from the eastern state of Odisha, India. It is known for its graceful movements and intricate hand gestures, and is usually performed in temples as a form of worship.
    Odissi is one of the most popular classical Indian dance forms, originating from the state of Odisha. It is characterized by its delicate and graceful movements, intricate footwork, expressive gestures, and storytelling aspects. Odissi is known for its emphasis on portraying emotions, mythological stories, and spiritual concepts through dance.
    • Origin: Odisha, India
    • Style: Classical Indian dance
    • Mudras: Hand gestures to portray various emotions and concepts
    • Postures: Distinct body positions, known as 'tribhangi' (three bends), with emphasis on graceful movements
    • Music: Accompanied by traditional Odissi music, characterized by melodic patterns and rhythmic beats
  7. 7
    Kuchipudi is is a classical dance form that originated in Andhra Pradesh, India. It is known for its fluid, graceful movements and intricate footwork, and often tells stories from Hindu mythology.
    Kuchipudi is a classical Indian dance form that originated in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh. It combines elements of dance, music, and acting to portray stories and express emotions. Kuchipudi is marked by its graceful movements, intricate footwork, and vibrant costumes.
    • Region: Andhra Pradesh, India
    • Style: Classical Indian dance
    • Tradition: Natya Shastra traditions
    • Instruments: Mridangam, cymbals, violin, flute, veena, tambura
    • Costumes: Colorful sarees for women, traditional dhoti and turban for men
  8. 8
    Manipuri is is a classical dance form from the northeastern state of Manipur, India. It is known for its slow, graceful movements and use of colorful costumes and props such as fans and swords.
    Manipuri is a traditional Indian classical dance form that originated in the state of Manipur. It is known for its graceful and lyrical movements, rhythmic footwork, and elaborate costumes.
    • Origin: Manipur, India
    • Purpose: Devotional and spiritual expression
    • Music: Accompanied by live traditional Manipuri music
    • Instruments: Pung (Manipuri drum), Kartal (cymbals), flute, pena (string instrument)
    • Costumes: Elaborate traditional attires in bright colors and intricate designs
  9. 9
    Mohiniyattam is is a classical dance form from the southern state of Kerala, India. It is known for its gentle, swaying movements and use of facial expressions to convey emotions.
    Mohiniyattam is a classical Indian dance form originating from the state of Kerala. It is known for its graceful movements, expressive storytelling, and delicate footwork. The dance primarily narrates mythological stories and devotional themes through its intricate gestures and facial expressions. Mohiniyattam is characterized by its fluid and curvilinear movements, emphasizing the concept of lasya (elegance) over tandava (vigorous) aspects. The dance form combines elements of dance, music, and drama to create a captivating performance.
    • Origin: Kerala, India
    • Date of Origin: 18th century
    • Style: Classical
    • Costume: White and gold pleated sari, adorned with traditional jewelry
    • Music: Carnatic music
  10. 10
    Sattriya is is a classical dance form from the northeastern state of Assam, India. It is known for its energetic movements and use of hand gestures and facial expressions to convey stories from Hindu mythology.
    Sattriya is a classical Indian dance form that originates from the state of Assam in northeastern India. It is known for its unique blend of devotional elements, graceful movements, and intricate footwork.
    • Origin: Assam, India
    • Year of creation: 15th century
    • Inspired by: Vaishnavism, Sankaradeva's teachings
    • Purpose: Devotional expression, storytelling, ritualistic performances
    • Music: Traditional Assamese music

Missing your favorite dance?


Ranking factors for popular dance

  1. Cultural significance
    Consider the importance of the dance form in Indian culture, traditions, and rituals. This includes its historical background, social and religious contexts, and regional prominence.
  2. Popularity and audience reach
    Evaluate the popularity of the dance form based on the number of practitioners, performances, and audience engagement. This can be determined through online searches, ticket sales, and media coverage.
  3. Recognition and awards
    Check if the dance form has been recognized by national or international organizations, or if it has received any awards for its contribution to the arts and culture.
  4. Government support and promotion
    Look at the government's role in promoting the dance form on both national and international platforms. This could include funding, organization of festivals and events, and efforts to preserve the dance form.
  5. Diversity and inclusiveness
    Assess the dance's appeal and accessibility to various age groups, genders, and communities within India and beyond. Consider the representation and contribution of different social and ethnic groups to the dance form.
  6. Innovation and modernity
    Examine the extent to which the dance form adapts to contemporary trends and incorporates new ideas and techniques while preserving its essence and cultural significance.
  7. Educational and training opportunities
    Look at the availability of training programs, workshops, and academies that teach the dance form to aspiring students, as well as the role of these institutions in promoting and preserving the dance.
  8. Impact on other art forms
    Assess the dance's influence on other art forms, such as music, drama, and visual art, and its contribution to the overall cultural landscape of India.
  9. Preservation and documentation
    Evaluate the efforts made to preserve and document the dance form. This includes archival material, research, and publications focusing on the dance.
  10. Collaboration and exchange
    Examine the dance form's role in fostering cultural exchange, both within and outside India, and its ability to engage with international audiences through collaborations and performances.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular Indian dance. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or dance is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 180 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Movers & Shakers

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each dance once every 24 hours. The rank of each dance is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular indian dance

Indian dance is a vibrant and colorful art form that has been passed down through generations. It is one of the most popular dance forms in the world, with a rich history and diverse range of styles. Indian dance is often associated with spirituality and devotion, and is used in religious ceremonies and festivals. The most popular Indian dance styles include Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Manipuri, and Mohiniyattam. Each style has its own unique features, movements and costumes, and is often accompanied by traditional music and singing. Indian dance has gained global recognition and popularity, with many dancers and choreographers taking the art form to new heights.

Share this article