Discuss the importance of dance and music in India.

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that the question can be applied to nearly any culture.  However, in Indian culture, dance and music have so much importance to religious worship and spirituality.  From the most ancient of scriptures, one can see that Lord Shiva has his imprint on the concepts of dance and music.  Being Lord Nataraja of dance and Omkara, the god of the first sound of "OM" from which all music and sounds emanate, Lord Shiva holds particular importance in dance and music.  From this, one can see how the importance of both expressions is embedded in religious worship.  In aspects of Hindu worship, the presence of dance as a way of reenacting spirituality and songs as a way of reverence to the holy power of Hindu divinity are essential to the worshipper of Hinduism.  It is an extension of this belief where one sees the importance of dance and music in secular arenas, as well.  Bollywood films are rooted in dance and music as vitally important to Indian identity and an intrinsic part of the expression of "Indianness."

tstawson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Music and dance have been used in India for thousands of years as a form of worship for their many gods and to tell stories and pass down cultural identity. Recently, with the popularity of Bollywood, it has also become a commercial venture.  Each region has its own distinct variations, but there are some common themes that unite all traditional Indian music and dance.

All traditional dance is based on the nine emotions of  anger, disgust, sorrow, fear, courage, compassion, happiness, serenity, and wonder.  The body is used as an instrument to express these feelings and to tell stories that are passed down through generations.  Indian music is based on these nine emotions as well and is also used for worship, to pass down stories, and for celebration.

Since India is comprised of many different religions and regions, there is tremendous diversity in the expression of dance and music. 

Wiggin42 | Student

Dance and Music is not just for entertainment in an ancient India. It is a part of life. Music is made to praise the lord and god. The worship is in the form of Music and Dance. Any festivals begins with Music and ends with Music.Indian’s  primary work is Agriculture,where in the hot sun while they work they sing songs to entertain themselves so they don’t get exhausted.  Music and Dance was a way of life and so many music generations are proving that every day.

krishna-agrawala | Student

Dance and music is a very important part of Indian culture. People in India engage in dancing and singing very frequently on a variety of occasions like religious festivals, social occasions, and cultural programs conducted by big institutions like schools, and clubs.

Indian like and enjoy a very wide variety of dance and music, which is roughly divided in the three groups - classical, folk, and popular. The classical music and dance popular in India is not restricted to the classical Indian traditions. they appreciate and enjoy classical, as well as folk music from across the world. In this way the popular Indian music and dance, primarily based on the music and dancing used in movies, has a very wide and rich variety. A sign of popularity of music and dance in India can be judged from the fact that it is rare that any movie made here, among the hundreds made every year, is without any dance or songs.

Dance dance and music has a special religious significance in India. These are are considered to be both gifts of god as well as a way of worshipping the gods. People who are serious practitioners of Indian classical dance and music consider their profession a service to the gods. It is interesting to note that this association of music and dance with the feeling of worship of god is so strong that performers from different religions, particularly from Hindu and Muslim, community have no problem in accepting their art as their common religion.