Dance is everywhere in the arts of the Indian cultural world, from the sacred dance of a god bringing the world into being to the sensual dance of a courtly performer before a maharaja. A recent major exhibition at the Asian Art Museum in Seattle, “Beyond Bollywood: 2000 Years of Dance in Art,” highlighted the rich meanings and ideas that dance has conveyed over the last two millennia in Southern Asia. Dance has played—and continues to play—an especially significant part in religion, mythology, courtly life, and ceremonies.
Representing five possible answers to the question “What is dance accomplishing here?” the artworks—including historic and contemporary sculpture, painting, textiles, jewelry, and photographs— were grouped into five sections: Destruction and Creation; Devotion; Subjugation; Glorification; and Celebration. Through encounters with artworks from countries including India, Pakistan, Nepal, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Indonesia, “Beyond Bollywood” revealed the enduring capacity of dance to inspire a diverse range of artists and audiences alike.
Join exhibition co-curator Forrest McGill as he addresses how each of these thematic concepts has been embodied in artworks representing dance.
World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*
*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.