is a composite art form. It is enriched with drama, music, poetry,
colour and rhythm. The antiquity of Gaudiya Nritya is also based
on literature, sculpture and historical evidences. Besides its roots
in Natyashastra, its evolution and growth can be traced to the traditions
of dance and some of dance forms existing in Gauda Banga. Gaudiya
Nritya is an art that is meant primarily for spiritual expression
and it was obviously a temple art at the outset. The tradition of
Devadasis existed in Bengal from ancient time in temples, till now
as the relic of the past we could see Vaishnavite Sevadasis and
Nachnis of western part of Bengal.
supporting the existence of dance forms in ancient Bengal are to
be found also in literature. In the story on Behula, given in the
Manasa Mangal Kavya, we come across an instance of a housewife of
the soil of Bengal dancing in the court of Lord Indra, the king
of the Gods. In Vijaya Gupta's Manasa Mangal there is a description
of Ananda-Tandava dance of Shiva.
During the time of the Pala dynasty
we could know from Ramcharita Kavya about the devadasi dancers of
Gauda Banga. The Gita-Govinda of Jayadeva, court poet of king Laxmansena
(12th century A.D.) and the legendary dancer Padmavati, Jayadeva's
wife, are well known to us. After 12th century the main resource books
are available on songs and dance of this region. These are Sangita-Damodara,
Srihastamuktavali, Govinda Lilamritam, Sri Sri Bhaktiratnakara etc.
The visual grandeur,
which could not be captured in words, was immortalized by sculptures
in metal, stone, wood and clay. The unabashed beauty of this glorious
dance tradition is conveyed through several sculptural representations
found in many of the temples and preserved in the museums of Bengal.
However, the temple sculptures and literature have remained a mute,
yet irrefutable proof of dance in this part of India, though clay
and mud do not stand a test of time usually.
So Gaudiya Nritya
included among the manifold expressions of dance, drama, sculpture,
painting and all the other fine-art-forms, It is a classical art but
this genre of dancing, curiously endures in the villages, in the temples,
in the guru-parampara dance tradition, group dancing, dance-drama.
However, researches through history, archaeology, literature and music
of ancient Bengal have led us to get the conclusion that Bengal too
had a rich and prolific, disciplined and codified dance form i.e.