Nautch dancer in Calcutta, ca. 1900
A Raja awaits the arrival of Nautch dancers.

In North India, Nautch (English pronunciation: /ˈnɔːtʃ/) is one of several styles of popular dance, performed by girls known as "Nautch girls". The word Nautch is an anglicized version of नाच (nāc), a word found in Hindi and Urdu (where it is spelled ناچ), and several other languages of North India, derived from the Sanskrit, Nritya, via the Prakrit, Nachcha. A simple and literal translation of Nautch is "dance" or "dancing".

The culture of the performing art of Nautch rose to prominence during the later period of Mughal Empire, and the Company Rule. Over time, the Nautch traveled outside the confines of the Imperial courts of the Mughals, the palaces of the Nawabs and the Princely states, and the higher echelons of the officials of the British Raj, to the places of smaller Zamindars, and other places.

Some references use the terms Nautch and Nautch girls to describe Devadasis who used to perform ritual and religious dances in the Hindu temples of India. However, there is not much commonality between the Devadasis and the Nautch girls. The former performed dances, mostly Indian classical dances, including the ritual dances, in the precincts of the Hindu temples to please the temple deities, whereas the Nautch girls performed (generally with very little clothes on) Nautches for the pleasure of human beings.

See also


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Nautch — Nautch, n. [Hind. n[=a]ch, fr. Skr. n[.r]tya dance.] An entertainment consisting chiefly of dancing by professional dancing (or Nautch) girls. [India] Syn: nauch. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • nautch — [nôch] n. [Hindi nāc < Prakrit nacca < Sans nṛtya, dancing < nṛt, to dance] in India, a performance by professional dancing girls (nautch girls) …   English World dictionary

  • nautch — /nawch/, n. 1. (in India) an exhibition of dancing by professional dancing girls. 2. Also called nautch dance. a sinuous dance of the Orient, resembling the cooch. [1800 10; < Hindi nach < Prakrit nachcha dancing] * * * …   Universalium

  • nautch — noun /nɔːtʃ/ A dance in South Asia, performed by professional dancing girls. one expected Wrangleresses on the legendary order of Phillippa Fawcett [...] but certainly not this nautch girl extravagence of looks and self possession that Yashmeen… …   Wiktionary

  • nautch —    (nawch) [Hindi: dance] In India, an entertainment or exhibition of dances performed by professional dancing girls, called nautch girls …   Dictionary of foreign words and phrases

  • nautch — /nɔtʃ/ (say nawch) noun (in India) a dance performance by professional female dancers (nautch girls). {Hindi nāc} …   Australian-English dictionary

  • nautch — n. a performance of professional Indian dancing girls. Phrases and idioms: nautch girl a professional Indian dancing girl. Etymology: Urdu (Hindi) nach f. Prakrit nachcha f. Skr. nritja dancing …   Useful english dictionary

  • nautch — noun Etymology: Hindi nāc & Urdu nāch, from Sanskrit nṛtya, from nṛtyati he dances Date: 1809 an entertainment in India consisting chiefly of dancing by professional dancing girls …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • nautch — n. professional performance in India of dancing girls …   English contemporary dictionary

  • nautch — [nɔ:tʃ] noun (in the Indian subcontinent) a traditional dance performed by professional dancing girls. Origin from Hindi nāc, from Prakrit nachcha, from Sanskrit nṛtya dancing …   English new terms dictionary

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