||It is said that the gods
created dance as a device for entertainment. Later, in order to please the gods,
human beings enacted the tale and glory of the gods. Thus began a cycle of celebration
manifested in the joyous abandon of movement and music. Over a period of two millennia,
dance in India acquired a set grammar, which led to a certain codification of
technique. Thus were sown the seeds for Bharata Muni's celebrated treatise on
dance, the NATYA SHASTRA. Bharata's Natya Shastra (believed to be penned
between second century B.C. and second century A.D.) is the earliest available
treatise on dramaturgy. All forms of Indian classical dances owe allegiance to
Natya Shastra, regarded as the fifth Veda.
The fascination for Indian dance all over the world is indicative of the deep-felt
needs to use the human body to express and celebrate the great universal truths.
Indian dance does just that in a heightened, reverential form. Also, since dance
is physical and visual, it illuminates India's culture in a direct manner, playing
on the sensibilities of the onlooker. Thus, those who are attracted to India will
find the idiom of dance the best introduction to India's rich ethos and traditions.