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Top 5 Best Academies to learn Indian Classical Dance Forms 

Indian Classical Dance Academies: India is known for its rich culture and the legacy we have built in the World.

By Pallav Jain
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Indian Classical Dance Academies

Indian Classical Dance Academies: India is known for its rich culture and the legacy we have built in the World. Performing arts like classical dance and music are integral parts of this rich culture and legacy from ancient times. In the 21st century, we still continue to celebrate, embrace, teach and learn the vast intangible heritage of India's diverse culture expressed in the forms of music, dance, and drama. 

In terms of dance forms, many of them are originated in temples. Although every dance form evolved from different regions, their roots are the same. The origin of dance in India, in fact, can be traced back to 200 BC. Over the years, classical dance forms in India have survived the onslaught of time and cultural shifts while also scaling new heights. The popularity of Indian dance forms can be gauged from the fact that not just Indians, but many western artists, too, have, over the years, travelled to India to train in them. 

Taking the Indian classical dance forms one step closer to the Gen-Z population, Academies in India are playing a major role, leveraging technology to take Indian classical dance forms to a worldwide audience.

Here we list down the top 5 best academies for Indian classical dance forms :

1. Kafqa Academy


Founded by Ex-amazon director Shariq Plasticwala in April 2021, Kafqa Academy is an online performing arts academy based in Bengaluru. The Academy aims to reimagine performing arts learning & serve artists by increasing their earnings & experiences. 

In the post-Covid era, access to good-quality classes has been a problem, but with Kafqa Academy, you no longer need to venture out too far to locate a 'Guru,' as the Academy allows you to learn Bharatanatyam from anywhere and at any time. The Academy aims to conserve our country's old cultural legacy and to pique the curiosity of our country's busy youth. Kafqa Academy offers online classes in 8 art forms mixed of both classical and modern dance and vocal art like Bharatanatyam, Hip-hop, Bollywood, amongst others, with a structured performance-oriented curriculum leveraging technology to create simple trial, payment & credit experiences, offering revision & practice tools and digital performances.

The Academy enables students to learn from handpicked classical dance experts with over 15-20 years of experience, starting from almost 2 years for beginners course till Vidwath level (senior-most) at the comfort of their home. 

2. Kalakshetra Foundation


The Kalakshetra Foundation (Rukmini Devi College Of Fine Arts) is a very well-known institute in the southern part of India. Known for its adherence to classicism, students of the Institution learn the nuances of Bharatanatyam, Carnatic music (both vocal and instrumental), and Visual arts with exacting standards in theoretical study and practice. 

It was founded by Rukmani Devi in 1936, initially known as International Centre for Arts. she headed the Institution with the active support of Dr Arundale (her Husband) and their mentor Dr. Annie Besant. 

Kalakshetra Foundation, as it is known today, was recognised by the Government of India as an Institute of National Importance by an Act of Parliament in 1993 and is now an autonomous body under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

3. Akhil Bhartiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Mandal


Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Mandal works for the promotion and propagation of Indian Classical Music and Dances with its main Sangeet Vidyalaya in Vashi, Navi Mumbai and has nearly 1200 affiliated institutions and nearly 800 Exam Centres all over the country from Assam to deep South Kerala and more than One Lakh students take examinations every year from Prarambhik (Beginners level) to Sangeet Acharya (PhD level).

It also offers in-depth courses in classical dance and instrument forms.

4. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan


Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar established the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya in 1901 at Lahore. Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Mandal is a virtual continuation of this Gandharva Mahavidyalaya. 

The Bangalore center of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan came into existence in 1965 and enjoys an enviable reputation in the service of arts, education, and culture as envisioned by its founder, Kulpati Dr Kanhaiyalal Maneklal Munshiji. He set up Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (Mumbai) in 1938 with the blessings of Mahatma Gandhi. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan offers various courses in classical dance forms such as Bharatnatyam and Kathak, instruments that include Tabla, Veena, Flute, etc., and vocal music both Carnatic and Hindustani. 

The cultural wing of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (Kala Bharati) gives systematic training to aspiring students in visual and performing arts. It has also planned to open faculties in more classical dance forms like Odissi, Kathakali.

5. Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya


Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya was established in the year 1973 by the famous dancer academician Padmabhushan Dr. (Smt.) Kanak Rele. The college is permanently affiliated with the University of Mumbai, and to date, the Institution is the only Institution of Indian Classical Dance Under the University of Mumbai where degrees are awarded to students at the Bachelors, Masters & PhD levels. It offers various courses in Classical dance forms such as Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Kathak, and others. The Institution has always been conscious of its role as a constructive and responsible part of the larger society. 

Over the years, Nalanda has created an array of exceptionally well-trained, highly qualified, and scholarly generations of dancers who are not only proficient performers but also excellent theoreticians, analysers, and teachers.

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