The impulse or urge to unite with God through dance has a long and involved history. It is found in the animism of primitive people, in the Gods of Egypt, Greece, Rome, India and finally in Christianity. Here, the Religion and Sacred Dance "becomes a sacrificial rite, a charm, a prayer and prophetic vision. It summons and dispels the forces of nature, heals the sick, links the dead to the chain of their descendants; it assures the fields and the tribe. It is Creator, Steward and Guardian. 1
The divine Origin of Dance in India: In India, dance, especially classical has always been a Religious expression and experience of God. There is a beautiful and thought provoking illustration given in Bharata's Natya Shastra, a treatise on the Science of Dramatology where the origin, purpose, mode, nature and goal of Natya or Art is explained in the Socio-Religious context of man. In other words in relation to man's relations to other men and God. Bharata's Natya Shastra writes : "When the World had become steeped in greed and desire, in jealousy and anger, in pleasure and pain, Brahma the Supreme One was asked by the people to create an amusement which could be seen and heard by all, for the Scriptures being learned and ambiguous, were not enjoyed by the masses. 2
Thus does Bharata's Natya Shastra explain the emergence of this divine art in his treatise on Indian dance. Brahma, the Supreme one, the essence of truth, meditated on the four Vedas (Scriptures) and drew up the fifth, Natya Veda - the Scripture of drama, presenting moral and spiritual truth. "The creator of the world, Brahma extracted recitation from Rig Veda, 'abhinaya' from Yajurveda, song from Samaveda and 'rasas' from Atharvaveda respectively, for fulfilling the high requirements of life, viz. Dharma or righteousness, Artha or Wealth, Kama or love and Moksha or liberation. Through these, fame self confidence, fortune and cleverness are acquired - Thus causing peace, patience, liberality, pleasure and wiping out misery, pain, sorrow and hatred. It exceeds the Ananda imparted by the knowledge of the Absolute, other wise how could this conquer the heart of sages like Narada ?" 3
Brahma tried to impart to the people the diversity and the all encompassing nature of this new creation and said the "This art is not purely for your pleasure but exhibits bhava (emotion) for all the three worlds. I have made this art following the movements of the world, whether in work or in profit, peace, laughter, battle or slaughter, yielding the fruit of righteousness to those who follow, moral law, a restraint for the unruly, a discipline for the followers of a rule, to create wisdom in the ignorant, learning in scholars, affording sport to kings and endurance to the sorrow-stricken, replete with diverse moods, informed with the varying passions oar the soul, linked to the deeds of all mankind, the best, the average and the low, affording excellent counsel, pastime and all else." 4
And thus, "Brahma gave the first lessons on Natya to Bharata. Thereafter Bharata demonstrated the three forms of dancing, namely, Natya, Nritya and Nritta before Lord Siva with the help if the Gandharvas and the Apsaras. Then Siva remembering his own violent style of dance asked Tandu to transmit its technique to Bharata with the help of his retinue and out of affection asked Parvati to demonstrate to his the lasya style. Then understanding the technique of Tandava, the saints transmitted its knowledge to others. Similarly Parvati taught the Lasya style to Usha, daughter of Bana. She transmitted it to the milk-maids of Dwarka and then from them it spread to women of other places. This is the order in which these dance styles spread in the world. 5
Dance holds a significant place in all important literature. The two great epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata are full of references to the religious significance of dance. There are several other 'puranas' such Koyil puranam, Unmai Vilakkan, Tiru-Arul Paya, etc. which speak of the use, meaning and purpose of spiritual identification and perfection. In the Vedic period people used dance for religious, social and ritual purposes. For example, during the horse sacrifice, weddings and many other important rituals. During the Buddhist, Gupta and Medieval periods dance played an important role in achieving the spiritual inspirations and identification of the people of that time. The existing temple sculptures, paintings and icons are compelling proof, shedding light on the past. Later, with the invasion of the Muslims, who considered it almost a scandal to use music and dance for divine worship, dance found its way into the courts and as a form of entertainment. Also, due to the apathy of people with regard to their religion, many in society used dance for erotic pleasure. Thus, with the Muslim rule, there came into existence a new class of people called 'Naach-wali". When the Europeans (for whom dance mainly was a social function) came to India, the degeneration of dance continued. With these developments, the aim, purpose and goal of dance apparently changed. It could be likened to a diamond which had lost its lustre. However, the middle of the 20th century saw a new rennaisance in Indian Dance. It was due to the dedication of professional artiste like Rukmini Devi, Krishna Iyer and others who strove to restore the lost dignity and spiritual sanctity of this divine art. Although today Indian classical dance has moved from the temple to the auditorium and stage, the dedication of its performers remains the same. "Art emerges from the womb of religion and from the mystery of magic" 6.
This is very true in India, where religion and philosophy are preached and God worshipped through dance forms. "The India mind has always submitted the fine arts from their mundane origin to the highest level of social and cultural life, inextricable interweaving them with religion". 7
This is why "Art in ancient India could perhaps be called temple are, not because it was necessarily part of the temple but because its aim was the perception of spiritual identification"8.
In India, the temple has been a place of communication between God and man. Different arts have sprung up from the temples and God was worshipped in music and dance. The driving thirst of man for union with the Almighty led him to establish "in every Natya Sabha or rangamantapa, where music and dance performance took place as part of religious ritual". Dancing was considered to be the highest form of worship. Vishnudharmottara Puranam tells us that "to worship God by Nritta (Dance) is to fulfill all desire and to him who dances the paths of salvation are unfolded. The dancer as his undergoes mystical experiences in the dance, communicates the same to the audience. In other words, dance becomes the expression of the experience of revelation and complete union with God, which leads us to believer that dance and all other fine arts have not only a utilitarian function but also a spiritual and cultural function in India." 10
SPIRITUALITY AND INDIAN CLASSICAL DANCE.
Indian classical dance is inseparably bound with spirituality in its inception, growth, development, existence, purpose and goal. It is not just a performance but a Sadhana, a Tapas and a Bhakti. It commands devotion and through it one hopes to realises the Divine in himself. Through dance the artist aims for a vision of the divine, to use Eastern Orthodox terminology, he attains the beatific vision, that is Ananda (Bliss). At this level, he or she forgets himself or herself and realises the Supreme. "The body, which in ecstasy is conquered and forgotten and which becomes merely a receptacle for the superhuman power of the soul, and the soul which achieves happiness and bliss in the accelerated movements of a body is freed of its own weight."11.
So, "in ecstasy of the dance, man bridges the chasms between this and the other world, to the realm of demons, spirits and God. Captivated and enhanced he bursts his earthly chains and trembling feels himself in tune with all the world. 12.
"Whosoever knoweth the power of the dance dwelleth in God", says Persian Poet Rumi. Curt Sachs points out that "dance is a sacred act and priestly office, not a pastime to be tolerated only but a very serious activity of the entire tribe" 13.
It is at this elevated stage that the dance becomes a sacrificial rite, a charm, a prayer and a prophetic vision, both for the artist and the appreciator, in relation to their realm of spiritual experiences. The creative activity of the artist gives expression to his spiritual experience in dance and the appreciation experiences the spiritual experience by evocation. SACRED DANCE IN THE WEST Commenting on the changing relationship of dance and Christian religion, Nancy Brooks Schmitz writes, "Western Civilisation's relationship with |Sacred Dance has changed with the evolving theology of Christianity and in interpretation of Biblical sources. The first five centuries of Christianity firmly established ritual Church dance as a way of expressing joy, a way of salvation, and a way of praise. The most common acceptable form of Sacred Dance was in imitation of the angels although other forms did exist. Early Christian dance served as a living experience of the mysteries of the faith and of the joy involved in its revelations. However, the period in the Church history between the sixth and fifteenth century was marked by ambivalent attitudes towards Sacred Dance and dance in general. This ambivalence survived in the religious traditions of modern times. It is only in the twentieth century that dance has once again begun to find an acceptable and welcome entry into religious worship".14.
DANCE IN THE EARLY CHURCH:
The Greco-Roman world, before it embraced Christianity, was rooted in religious rituals among which dance was one of the main forms of expression and experience. In the first century Christianity emerged in its simple form as a religion. However, it had strong inclinations towards the worship pattern of the Jews who had dance in their religious life. Hence, these factors influenced the early Church to include in their religious celebrations and worship. Christian tradition, rooted firmly in the Scriptures, adopted the use of Sacred Dance as heritage belonging to the holy people of God. In the second century, children's chorus played musical instruments, sang and danced as a part of the services and the people danced at the end of prayer as well as in connection with Baptism. 15
Historian Tertullian (2nd century) tells us that Christian congregation danced to the singing of hymns, Clement of Alexandria (+ around 215 AD) speaks of the dancing which accompanied prayer and explains its meaning : "Prayer is a dialogue with God. Even if we speak silently while murmuring or without opening our lips, we have prayed internally. God always listens to all internal conversations. That is why we raise our head and hands towards the heavens and move our feet to the last movement of prayer, accompanying the movement of our thought towards the intelligible essence. We endeavor, through that, to detach ourselves from our bodies with words, we raise our wingedsoul to heavens. 16.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, group dance (Xopos) was very much encouraged. A prominent theologian of the Eastern Orthodox Church Gregory Naxianzus (329-388 A.D.) who was the Bishop of Constantinople advised that performing triumphant ring dances was the proper way to celebrate Easter. Another doctor of the Eastern Church, Basil the great (3444-407A.D) urged his people to perform the ring dance (Xopox). John Chrysostom (345-407) Bishop of Constantinople, blessed the performance of the ring dances (Xopos). In the West, group dance (Chorea) continued to command respect and was understood in the most symbolic way. St. Ambrose (340-397) Bishop of Milan and his student St.Augustine praised bodily dance and encouraged the people to understand the dance of Psalms in a symbolic way. 17
Eusebius of Caesarea (+339 AD) writes how dance was performed by the Christians to honor God. "All was filled with light and it is with smiling faces, sparkling eyes that they regarded one another, scarcely lowering their eyes, with dancing choruses, hymns in the cities and country, they honored God, the sovereign king". 18
Many feasts were accompanied with religious dances. The feast of the martyrs was celebrated with dances as Gregory of Nazianzen (+390 AD) writes "We assemble, we hasten together. This is truly a solemn celebration, pleasing to Christ. We honor or we shall truly honor the martyrs; we truly dance some triumphant dances." 19 Gregory himself later calls martyrs as 'dancers of the Holy Spirit" 20
The treatise on virginity which is attributed to St.Athanasius calls virgins "dancers of Christ" 21 He then gives an interesting quotation "Whosoever knoweth the power of dance, knoweth the power of God. St Basil asked to St.Gregory (4th century), "What could be more blessed than to imitate on earth the rhythm of the angels?" In the 17th century, St.Isidore at the suggestion of the council of Toledo, composed sacred ritual dance for performing in the Cathedral. All these above references are compelling proof that dance in those vital first centuries of the Christian religion was used as the chief expression of ritual and worship.
CHURCH AND DANCE IN THE MIDDLE AGES:
Dance which was a part and parcel of the religious life of the early Christian was looked down upon the middle ages. This attitude prevailed almost till the 15th century. Many factors led to the decline of dance in the Church. During this period dance took new directions and developments. However, it continued to exist in the Church in an ambivalent form even during the above period. DECLINE OF SACRED DANCE IN THE CHURCH. The course of the history of theatre and dance from the 5th century onwards was shaped and coloured by the philosophy, laws and rituals of the church. Although many historians tend to recognise only the restrictive influence of the church on dance, a closer look at these secondary sources themselves, with support from primary sources, reveal that the Church actually enacted a context for new flowerings of social, theatre and religious dance. 24 The sanctions of the Church, attitude of the clergy, new spiritual outlook etc. were responsible for the decline and new developments in the Sacred Dance of the Church, both in its understanding and practice.
The influence of the Greek thought, especially the principle of duality; body and soul; good and evil championed by Aristotle and Plato which became part of the scholastic philosophy minimised the use of the body and senses and glorified the Spirit or the soul. This led to the emphasis on the abstract realities and suppression of all that was pleasurable and connected to the body. As a result of this new attitude and understanding, Sacred Dance lost its place and honor in the church.
DANCE IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH:
Old Testament aspersions on the dance, e.g. the legend of the Golden Calf and Isaih's condemnation of women mincing and tinkling their feet (Isaih 3:5) were echoed negatively in the New Testament stories as Salome's supposedly lewd dancing before Herod. St.Paul, a converted Jew gave a severe doctrine of the sins of the flesh, attempted to root out such sects as the Gnostics, who had an apocryphal text in which Christ leads his disciples in dance. 25 In the fifth century dance and theatre in Rome had degenerated to a spectacle of brutality and eroticism. Early Christians having suffered under these Roman excesses condemned the Roman way of life. Because dance was an integral part of Roman life, dance as a spectacular entertainment was condemned by the Church Fathers. 26 Besides, the over-stress on asceticism that crept into the Church during this period discouraged the use and practice of Sacred Dance in the Church.
CHURCH AUTHORITIES CONDEMN DANCE:
Many of the medieval theologians and church authorities condemned dancing as immoral. With the fall of Roman Empire in 470 AD, the political vacuum was filled in by the Church. Now, besides the spiritual leadership, the Church became a teacher and law giver, hence regulated all forms of activities of the people. This included legislation on dance. Doug Adams says that "the Catholic objection on popular participation in dance reveals a political dimension of dancing. The superior position which clergy in the Catholic Church maintained over their laity had required that dancing together be suppressed as too equalising and revolutionary 27 The prohibition was also intended to keep the Christians from the close contact of other social classes and non-Christians. The Church authorities considered dance as the work of the devil. They decried the fact that dancing took place on pilgrimage, in cemeteries, churches, taverns, castles and town squares.28 Prohibition of Sacred Dance was intensified from 5th century onwards. "While the Church hierarchy issued edicts against dance, the priests and monks were reluctant to enforce them. In most cases they continued to ignore the edicts. The existing peculiar situation in the middle ages gave rise to two different Sacred Dance traditions in the Church. (i) Sacred Dances tradition performed by the clergy as part of the service, (ii) Sacred Dance tradition performed by the faithful during Church ceremonies or festivals.
SACRED DANCES OF THE CLERGY:
The movements of the Sacred Dances performed by the clergy were ritualised. In most cased the dances were performed in conjunction with saints days, Christmas or Easter. These dances either followed a processional form or round dance form. The movements were symbolic of the theology of the Church. The congregation were merely spectators of a ritual act. During this particular period the Mass developed. 30
THE HOLY MASS:
Mass actually was a disciplined Sacred Dance. Although the Mass is a worship-centered rather than entertainment-centered ritual, it contains the seeds of dramatic elements, e.g. the singing of the Mass, the elevation and consecration of the host, procession the clergy to the Altar, antiphonal chanting resembling dialogue, the 'plot' or story of Sacred history, the often colourful costumes of the clergy, and Church's architecture which created a stage/audience separation.31 Mass is also described as a dance in slow motion.32. In the 4th century, Arius, an Alexandrian priest, proposed an overtly dramatic interpretation of the liturgy which included hymns, pantomime and dance. Though his work was condemned and suppressed by the Church authorities, gradually Holy Mass developed around this form of liturgy. The Easter week liturgical celebration was the first portion of Sacred history to receive theatrical form as early as the 7th century. The actual locations of Jerusalem were used for the dramatic presentation of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. 33 In 539 A.D. the third council of Toledo issued a warning forbidding dance in the Churches during the vigil of saints' days. In the next century the council forbade the Festival of Fools with its music and dancing. However, in the same century the council suggested that Archbishop Isidore present a ritual rich in Sacred Choreography. This ritual became part of the Mass known as Mozarabe. It was used in the seven churches in Toledo and in the Cathedral of Seville. The dance involved became known as Los Seises. Its practice continued into the present century despite all opposing edicts. In fact in the 15th century Pope Eugenius II ordered this dance to cease. However, the choristers or choir boys were brought to Rome where they performed before the Pope who remarked, "I see nothing in these children' dance which is offensive to God. Let them continue to dance before the high Altar".34 In the 11th and 12th century, Sacred Dance were performed by different groups of clergy. In Paris choir boys danced on Innocents' Day, the sub-deacons on Epiphany, the deacons on St.Stephen's day and priests on St.John's day.35 With the dawn of the 13th century complete prohibition of Scared Dance was ordered by the Church authorities with numerous editions. The council of Narbonne attacked Sacred Dances in the Church in the severest terms: "Since to the dishonor of the Christian name, and in contempt of Holy things, there are performed ring-dances, as well as other improprieties, the council desires to root them out entirely, so that henceforth nobody will dare to dance in the holy temple or a church yard during service." 36 The clergy eventually stopped expressive dances during the services and in the Churches, but the remnants of the Sacred Dance can be found in its suppressed form in the Holy Mass even to this day. (ii)
SACRED DANCE OF THE FAITHFUL
This second tradition of Sacred Dance was mostly performed in the processional form and at times in the ring dances. These dances took place not only in the churches but also in the Church yards and in the surrounding country side. They were performed during pilgrimage, processions, weddings, festivals, funerals and other fitting occasions.These dances were often vigorous and spontaneous. As already cited earlier, from the 6th century onwards the church tried to discourage, regulate and prohibit these dances. However, the Church did not succeed in controlling these dances as much as it regulated the Sacred Dances performed by the clergy. By the dawn of the 12th century there were extensive miracle plays mostly based on the lives of the saints. "These displayed a romantic, even sensationalist, slant and were performed in the vernacular outside the church building itself in an area established as a theatre in the round. More and more in the reading of these plays, directions for movements and emotional expression were included in the texts. English craft guilds, with Church support, presented the famous Corpus Christi cycle of plays from 1379 to the 16th century. Also called Mystery plays, these plays were performed two months after Easter and involved pageantry, Bible stories and legends and miracles. Actors were paid, minstrels were employed and elements of farce and comedy were included. The increasing independence of drama from Church liturgy and control was becoming clearly evident. In the late 14th century morality play developed, a theatrical genre wholly outside of the Church itself. These plays told the story of a single Christian in allegorical terms based on the conflict between good and evil. The devilish figures once again contributed humor, slapstick and satire with the Church itself often the butt of their mimicry." 37 The process of Sacred Dance becoming a social and entertainer were apparent in these gradual developments. With the starting of the reformation in 1517, the Sacred Dance receded further from the Church and its liturgy. The leaders of the Reformation were highly critical of the Sacred Dances in the Church. At this juncture the Church authorities were firmly emphatic regarding cessation of all dances. Therefore "dance barred from the Church and the Church-yard, began to manifest itself either as a theatrical entertainment or as a folk art. It was only in isolated areas that dance remained a part of religious worship of the people. Thus it was that the dances of "Los Seises" in the Cathedral of Seville or the Processional dance around the Altar at Echternach, Luxemburg which existed into the present century as remnants of medieval Christianity" 38 Dance which was a religious expression of faith became a source of light entertainment for the people. In the villages dance became a means of socialisation and unification in the form of folk-art. The increased industrialisation and urbanisation took the people further away from the spontaneous expression of one's faith. The religious celebrations deteriorated to a mere ritualised form which was anti-festive and joyless in spirit. As a result, dance became a means of entertainment for the urban people and it traveled from the Church and Church yard to the dancing-halls and ball-rooms. In the back-ground of this state of the society a movement called Shakers was started in the Church.
It is a common name given to the group which styled itself as "United Society of Believers in Christ's second appearing." These Christians used dance as a vehicle for greater spirituality. This group of the Christian community was started in New York in 1776 under the leadership of Ann Lee. "By 1823 the songs, music and dances used in Shakers worship were inseparable forms expressing praise, joy, need or union with God.... All the movements of the dance, the shaking, falling, rolling and whirling were a means to loosen the bodily ties, the sins, and the faults to cause a purification and simplification of the spirit." 39
By the 17th century Judaism, the parent religion of Christianity and Islam also had lost the use of dance in their worship and prayer. It was only in the beginning of 18th century a revivalist religious movement in Judaism led by Ball Shem Tov, called Hasidism stressed the use of dance and singing in their prayer and worship. This movement which was started in Poland spread throughout Eastern Europe, was in opposition to a very scholarly Judaism which preceded it. "40 "Hasidism shifted the emphasis from study to prayer, from head and thought to heart and emotion. As such it developed a technology and a psychology of devotion unparalled elsewhere in Judaism. Central to this methodology was the use of movement in prayer. 41 "The worship dances were led by the Rabbi of the congregation by way of gesture and voice modulation. The circle dancing or 'Mechol' which symbolised the circular relationship between man and God, did not always necessarily move counter clock-wise and there was no limit to its participants. When the circle became too crowded another circle would form on the inside; when there was no room for a massive circle dance, the movements would switch to a 'rikud', jumping up and down in the same place symbolic of ladder climbing, until the whole room would pulsate joyously". 42 This movement was very active in the 18th and 19th centuries and brought about important changes in the religious life and attitude of the jews.
SACRED DANCE IN THE 20th CENTURY
Analysing and explaining the state of Sacred Dance and its place in society at the beginning of the 20th century, Nancy Brooks Schmitz writes, Sacred Dance was nothing more than a relic of the past and a hesitant awaiting of the future. To most people dance was inconceivable as an expression of the holy. Elements of dance appeared in the Church preserved only as relics of the past. These elements were rituals devoid of real meaning. In fact, life itself, so fractionalised between the spirit, the mind and the body, was devoid of real meaning. With this disintegration of the personality, man had lost an important key to happiness-his humanity. The dualism of medieval Catholicism and the Reformation Churches had given impetus and energy to the development of a higher, more refined culture at the expense of the individual personality. Modern man, a hollow shell, his body, mind and spirit were no longer connected, he was dehumanized and isolated not only from others, but also from himself. Thus man of the 20th century strongly yearned for unity of life, for harmony. It was this search for unity which helped him rediscover the true essence of the dance as an expression of the spirit".43 With this background dance as religious expression failed to get its impetus and birth from any religious group. Contrary to the past, this time Sacred Dances received the impetus and rebirth as a way of escape from the existing theatre and classical ballet of the West. Isadora Duncan was the one who actively brought religion into her classical ballet dance and demonstrated that dance could be a 'Holy pursuit of the highest beauty' and a means to develop higher spirituality. She considered dance as the highest expression of religion".44 In the second and third decades of the 20th century Ruth St.Denis and Ted Shawn gave a fresh release of life to religious dance not only by bringing it on the concert stage but also into the churches. Already in 1917 Ted Shawn presented entire Church services in choreographic patterns. In 1947 a dance school, "Church of the Divine Dance" in Hollywood was founded for imparting training in Sacred Dance and for the promotion of it in the society. This new development also paved the way for the modern dance in which the dancers hold that dance is not only the expression of the religious life of man but total being of his. Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, Martha Graham, Jose Limon, etc. are a few of the many who have developed the above trend under the banner of 'Modern Dance'
The Mormon Church which was founded by Joseph Smith in 1839 is formally called the 'Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints'. Dance was so prominent in this group of Christians that a 'Time magazine reporter in 1959 called them the "dancingest denomination."45 They aim at the increasing of spiritual heritage of dance, art, music, literature, dramatics, etc. and experience and share the same with others. Brigham Young, the successor to Joseph Smith wrote, "If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, music, dancing and with prayer of praise and thanksgiving." There are many active groups from this denomination like Mutual Improvement Association (MIA) who started the dance festival in 1928 which is continued to the present, the Young Women's Mutual Improvement Association (YWMIA), the Brigham Young Academy of Dance, Provo Utah started in 1890 which became a University in 1913. Besides many performing groups like BYU International Folk Dancers started in 1956 by Mary Bee Jensen, "Ballroom Dance Team" in 1960, "The Theatre Ballet" in 1968, "Dancers Company" in 1976 under Dee Einterton and Pat Debenham have all originated from the "Brigham Young University". Sacred Dance of the Mormonism is related to the total man and not just on one aspect on area of his life, i.e. social psychological, religious etc. However, the stress is being laid on the religious life of man. At present this denomination of Christianity is still active in the United States of America. SACRED
DANCE IN THE CONTEMPORARY CHURCH:
As already cited earlier, Sacred Dances began to be accepted in the Christian circles from the beginning of the 20th century. The Protestant Church authorities indirectly accepted the use of dance in their worship and prayer by the very fact that it was tolerated, at times encouraged and even participated in by them. As early as 1925 these Churches began experiencing the return of dance in their worship. 46 The Catholic Church too with the Vatican II (1965) has thrown open the doors of Sacred Dance. Commenting along this line, the Pastoral Instruction on the Means of Social Communication points out that the "artistic expression both for its own excellence and for what it does for man should be highly appreciated. Of itself, beauty ennobles the mind that contemplates it. The work of the artist can also penetrate and illumine the deepest recesses of human spirit. It can make spiritual reality immediately by expressing it in a way that the senses can comprehend. And as a result of this expression it is a way that the senses can comprehend. And as a result of this expression, man comes to know himself better. This is not only a cultural benefit, but a moral and religious one as well." 47 The Catholic Bishops' Conference of America in 1978 had the following paragraph in one of the documents: "processions and interpretations through bodily movements (dance) can become meaningful parts of the liturgical celebrations if done by truly competent persons in the manner that benefits the total liturgical action." 48 With the direct or indirect approval and encouragement of the Church authorities and clergy, a new impetus and active involvement by the people in the worship, the need to express freely the religious experience of the faithful has led to the increasing use of dance in the Western, Australian, African, Asian and other Churches of the present day world.
C O N C L U S I O N:
The historical survey shows the development, growth, decline, use and misuse of Sacred Dance down the centuries both in the East (India) and in the West. There are many important similarities and differences. The original aim, purpose and goal of Sacred Dance in the East and West is Spiritual. Dance was centered around the Sacred places (i.e. temples in India and Churches in the West). The sanction, approval and disapproval of these authorities affected the practice of Sacred Dance in the Socio-Religious context. Though Scared Dance was mis-used in India Religious authorities wouldn't condemn or forbade it because of its structural context, whereas in the West this was done by the Church authorities which had the power and sanctioning authority. Whereas solo dance and prominence in the East, the West stressed on group dancing. This trend is in keeping with the theological understanding, that in Judaism and Christianity, God encountered his people in a congregation i.e. salvation is achieved in a congregation; worship is conducted in a congregation. Hence Sacred Dance tended to be exteriorised. Whereas in the East salvation is personal i.e. God encounter each devotee personally. As a result of this, Sacred dance in the East has become very personal and interiorised besides highly religious. Hence the East retained its dedication and religiosity inspite of the misuse and degradation and the West lost the same to a great extent. In India the different areas of human life, i.e. social, philosophical, spiritual etc. are closely knit, whereas in the West they are compartmentalised. This is another reason that the original vitality and spirit of Sacred Dance was lost. Sacred Dance in the West having the above characteristics tended to be more social and entertainment oriented. In the East though Dance was used at times for entertainment, due to its intrinsic qualities the dedication of the Dancer and the socio-religious context of Indian Society, it retained its sacredness. As pointed out earlier, in the 20th century there is a marked trend to look to the East in order to turn Sacred Dance into a more interiorised and religious experience. In other words, to have the oriental spirit and aura in and around it. Catherine Golouini Valerie Henry from the West have stressed this aspect of inferiority in their solo presentations. What is needed at present is not copying 'East or West, but to dance or sing what we have experienced. For experience what we believe, we believe what we live. ********* ********** ********* *********
DR.FRANCIS BARBOZA SVD DIRECTOR 'GYAN ASHRAM' MAHAKALI ROAD, ANDHERI (E) MUMBAI - 400 093, (INDIA) BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Sachs C.World History of the Dance New York. Wsd.Norton & Com. Inc. 1963. 2. Origin of Dance : Natya Shastra by Bharata Muni Ch.1: 1-23 3. Abhinaya Darpanam - By Nandikeshwara 7 - 10 4. Origin of Dance Natya Shastra by B.C.Ch.I 23t. 5. Abhinaya Darpanam 2 - 6. 6. R.Sathyanarayana, Studies on Indian Dance, Pub.Sri Varalakshmi Academies of Fine Arts, Mysore 1970 page 89. 7. Ibid page 7 8. Mrinaliai Sarabai, Understanding Bharata Natyam, Maharaja S.University of Baroda, 1975. 9. Ibid, page 20 10. R. Satyanarayana, Studies on Indian Dance, Pub. Sri Varalakshmi Academies of Fine Arts, Mysore 1970, page 7 11. Curt Sachs World History of Dance, W.W.Norton & Camp inc. N.York, 1963 12. Ibid Page 4 13. Ibid Page 5 14. Nancy Brooks Schmitz, The Changing Relationship of Dance & Religion. Ed.Dennis J.fallon & Mary Jane Wolbers, Focus on Dance, (AAHPERD< Virginia, U.S.A. 1982) 15. Ida F.Chadwick, Dance, an agent of 'Ekstasis' Ed.Dennis J.Fallon and Mary Jane, op.cit., p.6 16. Stromata 7,7; Patrologia Latina, Ed.J.P.Migue, 16,508 B.Eng. Trans Luchan Deiss & Gloria Weyman, Dance as Prayer (World Library Publications Inc. Chicago 1979) 17. For details refer Doug Adams op.cit.pp. 32-36 18. Eusebius Pamphili, Historic Ecclesiastique, X.XI.7. Also see G.Bardy in Eusebe de Cesaree. Historic Ecclesiastique, Coll.Sources Chretiennes, 55 (Paris:Le Cerf.1958) p 120 Eng. Trans.Lucian D & GLoria Weyman op.cit.p.15 19. Oratio 11, 5; Patrologia Graeca, Ed.J.P.Migue 35, 837 C.Eng Trans. Lucian D & Gloria W.op.cit.p.15 20. Oratia 35, 1, Patrologia Graeca, op.cit.36.257 B.Eng.Trans. Lucian D & Gloria W.Op.Cit.p.15 21. De Virginitate, 25, Patrologia Graeca op.cit.28,281A. 22. Curt Sach, World History of the Dance (W.W.Norton & Co.Inc. New York 1963) 23. Ted Shawn, Dance We Must (Dennis Dobson Ltd. London 1946) 24. Lynn Matluck Brooks, The Catholic Church and Dance in the Middle Ages, Ed.dennis J.Fallon & Mary Jane Wolbers, Focus on Dance X Religion & Dance (AAHPERD, vIRGINIA, USA,1982)p.9 25. Ibid p.8 26. Nancy Brooks Schmitz, Who dances Not Knows not the way of Life, the changing relationship of dance and Religion Op.cit.p.13. 27. Congregational Dancing in Christian Worship, op.cit.p.35 28. Lynn Mathluck Brooks, The Catholic Church and Dance in the Middle Ages, op.cit.,p.10. 29. Nancy Brooks Schmitz, Who Dances Not Knows Not the Way of Life op.cit.p.14 30. Ibid. p.13 31. Lynn Matluck Brooks, The Catholic Church and Dance in the Middle Ages Op.cit. p.10 32. D.Attwater, Ed.A Catholic Dictionary (New York 1962) 33. For details refer Kirstein L.A.Short History of Classical Theatrical Dancing, N.York, Dance Horizons, 1969. Also Bevington D.Medieval Drama, Boston Honghton Mifflin Co.1975. 34. Nancy Brooks Schmitz WHo Dances Not Knows Not the Way of Life the changing relationship of dance and religion op.cit.p.14 35. For details refer Backman E>Louis, Religious Dances in the Christian Church and Popular Medicine, London 1952, Allen & Unloin p.51. 36. Ibid 37. Lynn Matluck Brooks. The Catholic Church and Dance in the Middle Ages, op.cit. p.11 38. Nancy Brooks S. Who Dances Not Knows Not the Way of Life, op.cit.p.16 39.Ibid pp.16-17. ALso refer Andrews Edward Dening. The Gift to be Simple. (J.J.Augustin N.York 1940) 40.Milgrane, Abraham, Jewish Worship, Philadelphia : The Jewish Pubilcation Society of America, 1976, p.507 41.Clifford Trolin, Movement in Prayer in a Hassidic Mode, sharing Company, Texas, 1979 42. Laraine Catmul, Jewish Religious Dance, op.cit.p.42 Also Lapson D." The Hasidic Dance The Jewish Dance compiled by Fred Berk, N.York, Exposition Press 1965. 43. Nancy Brooks Schmitz, Who Dances Not Knows Not the Way of Life op.cit.p.18 44.For details refer Duncan Isadors "Dancing in Relation to Religion and Love, Theatre Art Monthly 11, August 1927 pp. 584 - 93 45. Dancingest Denomination "Time", 22, June 1959. Also for details refer Georganna Ballif Arrington, Dance in Mormonism, the Dancingest Denomination Ed. by Dennis J. Fallon and Mary Jane Wolbers Focus on Dance, Religion and Dance (AAHPERD) Virginia, 1982) pp.31-35. 46.Taylor Margaret. A Time to Dance, Philadelphis, United Church Press, 1967 47.Pastrol Instruction Communio et Progressio 1971 p.55 48."Environment and |Art in Catholic Worship", Washington D.C. American Conference of Catholic Bishops 1978.