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International Dance Day : From UPSC Perspective

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    29th Apr, 2021

If we define Dance then it is the movement of the body in a rhythmic way, usually to music and within a given space, for the purpose of expressing an idea or emotion, releasing energy, or simply taking delight in the movement itself. Dance is often seen as a powerful impulse, but the art of dance is that impulse channeled by skillful performers into something that becomes intensely expressive and that may delight spectators who feel no wish to dance themselves. If we look at the history the Natyashastra by Bharat Muni is perhaps the only source where we find the exclusive mention of dance forms. The Natyashastra mentions two different dance styles. They are lasya and tandavaTandava is related to the powerful creative and destructive cosmic dance of God Shiva, while lasya is said to have been created by Shiva’s spouse, Goddess Parvati.

Traditionally these terms are used to indicate the style of dance, i.e. lasya is a soft and graceful style, while tandava is strong, even aggressive, in style. Both styles can be performed by either male or female dancers. Lasya also indicates a performance style in which a solo performer enacts a text sung by a singer by means of gestures and mime.

To commemorate the dance performances across the world International Dance Day is celebrated on April 29 every year. The motive behind the celebration is to encourage participation and education in dance. Several dance events and festivals held on this date all over the globe. The theme for The International Dance Day 2021 is: ‘Purpose of dance’.


International Dance Day was created by the Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute ITI, the main partner for the performing arts of UNESCO. Since its creation in 1982, the International Dance Committee and the International Theatre Institute ITI select an outstanding dance personality to write a message for International Dance Day each year. This day is a celebration day for those who can see the value and importance of the art form “dance”, and acts as a wake-up-call for governments, politicians and institutions which have not yet recognised its value to the people and to the individual and have not yet realised its potential for economic growth.


Dance Forms : From UPSC Perspective

 Indian culture is a vital part of UPSC Syllabus. Though it is considered as part of History but it has developed itself as a different subject over the course of time. Every year 2-3 questions are asked in UPSC Prelims while at least one question remains present in UPSC Mains Exam. As far as the dance forms are conecerned they are of two types one are classical dance forms and another is Folk Dance Forms. Only few dance forms in India have been accorded the status of Classical Dance Forms but plenty of folk dance forms exist in India. Folk dances include tribal and rural dance forms also.Classical status has been accorded to few dance forms only such as Kathakali, Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi,Odishi, Mnaipuri, kathak,  Mohiniattam etc. While folk dances are plenty in numbers as different states have different folk dance. These folk dances are performed during celebration of particular events, rituals or fairs. Famous folk dances are Garba, Kalbelia, Bhavai, Chau, Satriya and many more.

As far as the questions in UPSC are concerned the questions on dance forms and their states of origin are asked. Some times these questions are asked regarding exclusive gestures or way of performing these dance like mudras etc. These questions are based upon the famous exponents who often perform these dance forms. To prepare these questions it is advisable to follow GS Score Prelims Sampoorna Fact File on Dances in India that has been covered with a list and description of dance forms in India.



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