Almost all forms of Indian art have an inextricable and intimate bond with the land’s mythology and elements of spiritualism. The Indian classical dance is no exception. The very word dance brings images of an important depiction of Lord Shiva the Nataraja (the ‘king of dance’). Other dancing deities like Lord Ganesha and Srikrishna also denote the strong theological connections that dance has maintained. The various dance forms like the Bharatha Natyam
- Manipuri etc. are all derived from ‘Natyashastra’ an age-old treatise written by sage Bharata.
Further, the origins of a good number of these dances can be traced to folkdances that were used as effective instruments of narrating tales from a treasure trove comprising Kathopanishad, Panchatantra, Katha Sagara and the epics Ramayana & Mahabharata. In fact, some of these dances like the ‘Kathak’ and Kathakali have earned their very names from the ‘story-telling’ role assumed by them; ‘Katha’ in Sanskrit means story.