Unboxed Writers App for Phone and Tablet

Here are more ways to stay at forefront of Unboxed Writers and stay informed and inspired! Download our app for Android Phones and Tablets. Click on the image to Download Now!


Like Us on Facebook

Follow Us on Twitter



Cattitude: Cause We Support


The Cattitude Trust is a Public Charitable Trust started to reach out to cats in distress, particularly in Chennai (India).

To know more about Cattitude, 'Like' them on Facebook.


Creative Commons License
All content displayed here by Unboxed Writers is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://unboxedwriters.com.

Excerpt, Don't Copy: You may not publish an entire post. You may republish an excerpt of not increasing 250 words.

Give Credit: You may not use any material from our site without giving due credit to the individual author and Unboxed Writers. You must hyperlink directly to the post.

Author: Author of the post retains all copyright, and reserves all rights not explicitly granted here.

Dance Of Creation

I am an architect and a Bharatnatyam dancer and am fascinated with the relationship between the arts and architecture. And I have been on a fabulous journey to explore the connection between a static and a performing art since both complete me.

The origin of this classical Indian dance form is rooted in a very interesting mythologyical story. It is said that the world was in a state of complete chaos and the the demi-gods and sages approached Brahma, the creator, to alleviate the dark misery. So Brahma, taking the essence of the four Vedas (knowledge of the world from Rig Veda, music from Sama Veda, expression from Yajur Veda and Rasa or enjoyment from Atharvana Veda) evolved a new system of visual education called Natya. He expounded this system to sage Bharata, who in-turn propagated this further. Thus came the dance form Bharatnatyam into being.
Architecture’s origin though is not mythical. It is an art form rooted in the science of building. It involves a number of disciplines like painting, sculpture, etc.  And it was interesting to see how dance and architecture connect at three levels, physical, emotional and spiritual.

Rhythm and movement

At the physical level, visual satisfaction is achieved in both dance and architecture. Words like rhythm, harmony, synchronisation, movement are not just used in dance but also relate to architecture.

Also all classical dances that exist in India today have a deep connection with  temple architecture since temples were also performing spaces.

Special architectural spaces have been designed over the centuries for various dance forms, such as, the early rangamandapas in Hindu temples, the highly ornate Mughal courts for kathak performances, Koothambalam in Kerala, and the majestic ballet theatres in Russia. As a dancer, I could boldly say that the physical space in which we perform directly affects our performance!

“I have a deep sense of my body’s architecture … the skeleton,”  says choreographer Trisha Brown in Her Prelude to the Royal Academy Forum which brought the worlds of dance and architecture together. She adds, “anatomy plays a significant role in both dance and architecture.The sheer movements of lines create a picture which delivers joy! The human body is the most important element of both dance and architecture.”

Lord Shiva’s Nataraja posture is the symbol of dance in Indian culture.

The shloka, “Angikam Bhuvanam Yasya Vachikam Sarva Vangmayam Aharyam Chandra Taradi Tam Namassatvikam Shivam, (I bow to the supreme Shiva whose body is the universe, whose speech is the sound, the stars and the moon his ornaments),” sums up the main aspects of dance, the four-fold abhinayas, Angika(expression through body), Vachika (expression through speech) Aharya (expression through ornaments) and Satvika(the refinement of the soul). Shiva is the embodiment of all these aspects. )

So dance is the imitation of our own inner and outer responses to emotional and physical stimuli, presented in sophisticated imagery and gestures drawn from body, mind and soul. At the emotional level,  the evolution of dance is universally based on two desires,  to mirror the stirrings in Nature and the catharsis of emotions. The same tendencies can be seen in the way we build. Architecture too is guided by seasons and emotions. We also copy natural forms in architecture.

There is also an element of spirituality in both. This shloka best  exemplifies this, “Yato hastaha, tato drushtihi. Yato drushtis, tato manaha. Yato manas, tato bhavo. Yato bhavas, tato rasaha.” (Where the hands,  there the eyes.  Where the eyes, there the mind.  Where the mind, there the feeling. Where the emotions, there is the essence of life or rasa.”

In 1996, choreographer Frédéric Flamand started reflecting on the relationship between dance and architecture as both arts structure space. For a project called  ‘Moving Target,’  he chose to work with New York architects Elisabeth Diller and Ricardo.  In 2000, Flamand created, ‘Metapolis’  in association with the Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, winner of the 2004 Pritzker Prize, the architectural equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

Just goes to show that everything we create and express comes from the same source. Whether we dance or build, we are paying tribute to the fundamental human need for self-expression.

(Photographs Courtsey : Jaisim Fountainhead, Bangalore)

Similar posts
  • Modern Indian Architecture At Its Best Contemporary Indian Houses publication InCITE’s +91 RESIDENCES exhibition on contemporary Indian architecture was first presented at Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, Bangalore in 2010. The exhibition showcased 91 architect-designed dwellings, 19 works-in progress and a model display of over 40 houses designed by over 75 architects in more than 25 cities and towns across India between the years [...]
  • The Woman Corbusier Envied Eileen Gray, was an Irish architect and furniture designer. Born in Ireland in 1878, Gray was from an aristocratic family; she became the nineteenth Baroness Gray in 1895. She attended the Slade School of Fine Art in London where she studied painting. In 1900 she went on her first visit to Paris and visited the Exposition Universelle, an international design [...]
  • 207 Feet Away from Ground Reality ”They said, for the sake of the country… But the country isn’t the earth beneath our feet, it is the people. Have any of you ever spared them a glance? Oppression for the sake of the country is oppression of the country. But you won’t understand. Travel as far on the road as you can [...]
  • Of Black Sheep Who Won’t Line Up For Slaughter Sometime back,  Aamir Khan was reviled because his wife was disturbed by what she read in the newspapers and for the sake of their son, wondered if they should settle in another country. Khan said loud and clear that it shocked and devastated him that his wife could feel that level of fear. In the [...]
  • Mother Dairy- Milk with a Dash of Misogyny   I am taking up yet another commercial rife with regressive clichés about Indian women and their “place”. This one, a part of Mother Dairy’s “Ma Jaisi Koi Nahin” campaign almost made me barf harder than a glass of sour milk. Watch the ad here (and try not to cringe, I dare you). It begins with [...]


  1. March 8, 2011    

    wow! Beautifully expressed! Have always felt an instinctive connection between the structure of classical music/dance with maths and geometry …by connecting them with Architecture you have brought it alive for me … really enjoyed reading this and have saved it.

  2. Mukta Mukta
    March 8, 2011    

    Good writing Amisha!Liked the text and the pics:)

    • March 8, 2011    

      Thanks Parul and Mukta! It is a connection I have felt and wanted to share for a long time…..

  3. March 11, 2011    

    I am a senior finance professional based in mumbai. I sometimes write and make films espicially documentaries.
    Can i write in your e magazine… ?

  4. October 7, 2011    

    a fascinating journey into and with the built environemnt

  5. Avinash Pallegar Avinash Pallegar
    February 26, 2014    

    A comment from one of the Gurus of Architecture Sri.Jaisim Krishna, your article has been appreciated well, good work, fit to be shared with many of the younger generations of Architects, who only dream of structures and miss out on adding the texture of culture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Authors

Be the first to read the latest on Unboxed Writers!

Subscribe for FREE and get the latest in your Inbox! You can unsubscribe at any time.
Email *


Editor & Founder:
Reema Moudgil
Design Director & Founder:
Vani Bahl
Media Consultant:
Poonam Goel

Mission Statement

Who are we? We are writers. And here, in this space, we put pride and passion back into writing. We give ourselves and each other creative freedom and respect.

* We create an environment where content generation does not entail degeneration of inspiration and spirit.
* We create content that we believe in and identify with.
* We recognise that to create is always of more value than to berate.
*We critique without malice and arrogance.

This site is about us writers, what we stand for but more importantly, about creating something valuable, inclusive, thought-provoking. In this space, we do not just stand for ourselves but for all those who listen to a compelling inner voice that tells them, "Create!"

Unboxed Writers Share

Join the other awesome people who get the new posts right away by email!
Be the first to read the latest on Unboxed Writers.
Enter your email and stay on top of things!