Dance, like music and singing, is one of the forms of expression that in the culture of India are considered not only artistic forms but refined spiritual languages too. The word ‘dance’ mirrors the complex Indian dance reality, in which the western dichotomy between theatre and dance is greatly reduced.
In India all forms of art have sacred origins. In fact, in the scriptures we read that dance was born directly from Shiva Nataraja, the Lord of dancers. Through his dance, he creates the whole universe. References to dance can be found starting from ancient times both in literature and in figurative art.
Dance has played a central role in much of classical Vedic and Sanskrit literature, as well as in epics and puranas.
When a dancer dances, a distinct literary and religious tradition comes to life: it expresses through body movements what a writer tries to describe through words.
Over the centuries some dances became part of religion and acquired a rigid codification, thus sowing the seeds of the following styles of Indian classical dance: Bharatanatyam, Kathakali, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Manipuri.