India's Kathak Dance, Past Present, Future

India's Kathak Dance, Past Present, Future

India's Kathak Dance, Past Present, Future

India's Kathak Dance, Past Present, Future

Excerpt

Man is not alone in wanting to dance. Many birds and animals appear to dance at some time or other: the peacock and the lyre-bird for instance are famous for it. Like them, man also has probably danced from the earliest stages of evolution. He experiences pleasure as well as satisfaction in rhythmical movement, since this exercises his body and, at the same time, releases inner tensions. Moreover, it can induce hypnotic trances. This may have led to the belief that dance has magical powers, and so it came to be used in early cults and rites for propitiating the gods and driving away evil spirits. By dancing man expressed himself in a way which he conceived as the most powerful and eloquent of the means at his disposal. He celebrated by dancing, he gained courage by dancing and often, like the birds and animals around him, he courted with the help of dance.

Dance is found among all men whether in primitive or advanced societies. Its functions vary in these societies from religion to pure entertainment. So in all probability, dance goes back as far as man himself but its styles and forms are many — some very new, or at least seemingly so, and others of great antiquity.

Indian dancing, even in its classical styles, is one of the most ancient forms still surviving. It has of course altered, but its basic elements would appear to be much as they were over two thousand years ago.

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