Dance is everywhere in the art and culture of the Indian cultural sphere, whether it is the sacred dance of a god bringing the world into being or the sensual performance of a courtly lady before a maharaja. More often than the divine beings of other cultures, the gods of Hinduism and Buddhism dance. They express their creative and destructive energies through fluid rhythmic movements, setting the pulse of the universe. In benign moods, they dance gracefully in sublime play. In stern moods, they dance with a force that, if fully unleashed, could destroy worlds.In daily life people have long danced for worship, for festivals, for the entertainment of kings and princes, and for their own enjoyment. All these sorts of dance, both sacred and secular, have been represented--or embodied--by artists over many centuries in superb sculptures and paintings, and in recent decades in film and new media. Lavishly illustrated with over 250 color illustrations and essays from renowned experts, this book tells the story of dance in the arts of South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Himalayan Region.