Indian classical dance is an umbrella term for various codified art forms rooted in Natya and sacred Hindu musical theatre styles whose theory can be traced back to the Natya Shastra of Bharata Muni
Dances performed inside the sanctum of the temple according to the rituals were called Agama Nartanam. Natya Shastra classifies this type of dance form as margi, or the soul-liberating dance.
Dances performed in royal courts to the accompaniment of classical music were called Karnatakam. In the most essential sense, a Hindu deity is a revered royal guest in his temple/abode, to be offered the “sixteen hospitality” – among which are music and dance, pleasing to the senses. This was an intellectual art form.
Bharata Natyam is a classical Indian dance form that is popular and nurtured in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. This dance form denotes various 19th- and 20th-century reconstructions of Sadir, the art of temple dancers called Devadasis. Sadir in turn, is derived from ancient dance in the treatise Natya Shastra by Bharata of fourth or third century BCE, known for its grace, purity, tenderness, and sculpturesque poses.Lord Shiva is considered the God of this dance form.
Kuchipudi is a Classical Indian dance from Andhra Pradesh, India. It is also popular all over South India. Kuchipudi is the name of a village in the Divi Taluka of Krishna district that borders the Bay of Bengal and with resident Brahmins practicing this traditional dance form, it acquired the present name.
Mohiniyattam also spelled Mohiniattam, is a classical dance form from Kerala, India. Believed to have originated in 16th century CE, it is one of the eight Indian classical dance forms recognised by the Sangeet Natak Akademi. It is considered a very graceful form of dance meant to be performed as solo recitals by women.
Mohiniyattam was popularised as a popular dance form in the nineteenth century by Swathi Thirunal, the Maharaja of the state of Travancore (Southern Kerala), and Vadivelu, one of the Thanjavur Quartet. Swathi Thirunal promoted the study of Mohiniyattam during his reign, and is credited with the composition of many music arrangements and vocal accompaniments that provide musical background for modern Mohiniyattam dancers. The noted Malayalam poet Vallathol, who established the Kerala Kalamandalam dance school in 1930, played an important role in popularizing Mohiniattam in the 20th century.