Dance is a physical and visual art form, which has an immediate and massive impact on the spectator. The various Indian forms act like a window to India's rich cultural reservoir. Dance is the form of art, wherein the body is used as a medium of communication. Indian dances have played an influential role in many other realms of art including poetry, sculpture, architecture, literature, music and theatre.
The earliest archaeological evidence of Indian dance, which dates back
to 6000 BC, depicts a beautiful statuette of a dancing girl. Bharata's
Natya Shastra (which was written between the 2nd century B.C. and 2nd
century A.D) is the earliest available thesis on dramaturgy. All forms
of Indian classical dances owe allegiance to Natya Shastra, which is
believed to be the 'fifth Veda' of the Indian culture.
According to a popular belief, Brahma, the Creator of the World,
combined literature from the Rig Veda, songs from the Sama Veda,
abhinaya (expression) from the Yajur Veda and rasa (aesthetic
experience) from the Atharva Veda, to form natya (what we today call
dance). It explains the nuances of dance, giving stress on mudras (hand
formations) and their meanings, the kind of emotions and their
Apart from the abhinaya and the performance of rasa, the audience is
amused by the attire and ornaments of the artist. The majority of Indian
classical dance forms are focused on the depiction of the nine rasas
(Navarasas or the emotions), which includes Hasya (happiness), Krodha
(anger), Bhibasta (disgust), Bhaya (fear), Shoka (sorrow), Viram
(courage), Karuna (compassion), Adbhuta (wonder) and Shanta (serenity).