In a variety of ways. On stage, in the streets, at weddings, for funerals, fun or fashion. It has
    always danced through the 5000 years of its long and often colorful history .While its villagers
    sway to the rhythms provided by nature - at harvest or sowing seasons - its urban folks dance
    too to the beat of disco, pop or rock music. What makes it tick?
    For centuries, the temples were the preserve and the epi-center of all social activity. The
    temples were patronized by local rulers or important kings and looked after by them. In
    addition to the priests, a special class of dancers called the deva (god) dasi (servant) were
    dedicated to the temples. These were women of great learning, scholarship and grooming.
      With the coming and subsequent domination by colonial powers (16th-20th century), patronage
      to the temples declined and most art forms suffered a slow death. Not exposed to higher
      learning, these foreigners dubbed all dance as Nautch, a derogatory term often associated with
      prostitution. Overnight, these elegant women of great learning were reduced to Nautch-girls.
True, the long colonial rule had been preceded by a longer Muslim or    
Mughal rule but that did not alter the indigenous arts. At best it led    
to a fusion as manifested in architecture, painting, and dance forms    
like Kathak, which partook of court culture. Most kings encouraged    
poets, artists, musicians and dancers in their courts. Why, one    
Muslim king, the Nawab of Oudh (present day Lucknow) Wajid Ali    
Shah, went so far as to compose poems in honor of the blue-god    
Krishna, and often dressed up and danced as one in his court. This    
was reason enough and good excuse for General Outram to dismiss    
him and annex his kingdom! Satyajit Ray, the great film-maker has    
immortalised this story in his classic The Chess Players   
  prologue         (Shatranj Ke Khilari).
  contents         It must be something in the Indian nature to survive and be resilient! Despite all the
  subject moderators         invasions, onslaughts and upheavals, classical dance-forms survived and within a short
  history         span, got revived to its pristine glory. Folk dancers danced all along anyway without
  sexuality         much interruption as their dance was not dependent on patronage, royal or colonial.
  social landscapes            
  pot pourri      
    In the fifty years since independence, lots has happened in the world of Indian dance. The first
    two decades saw the revival and resurrection of various forms like Orissi and Mohinattam.  The
    next two decades saw its platforming like never before and the last two have seen it  flowering
    and branching off to interesting arenas and allied arts. Indian dance has caught the imagination
    of not only the nation but the world. It is indeed amazing that dance forms lost to  an alien
    rule now rule world cultures! Madonna and Michael Jackson use it in their songs, composers
    and choreographers create works based on it. From confusion to fusion and from  nothingness
    to everything The Story of Indian Dance is as deep as it is deafening.
          Who were these people who helped revive Indian dance forms? What is classical, ritual, tribal,
          folk, martial and modern dance? Who were the stars and who the victims? Who were the
          pioneers? What did they create and how? Where do they stand today? What is contemporary in
          a tradition 2000 years old?
          All these and more will be platformed here on these pages for you to savor, see and discuss.
          India has always danced, continues to dance and will dance. Join in. Let our dance begin!
Love, Ashish                  

                     Background Readings