Dance is the visual expression of a thought, emotion or event. While it may be performed without accompanying music, it is through the addition of sound, melody, and beat that we are fully engaged in the process of bringing something abstract into being. The body, with its flexibility and ability to interpret thoughts, patterns, and the endless variety of emotions which music can call forth, is a most engaging and beautiful instrument.
Dance in most Asian countries falls into three major categories: symbolic and/or stylized – with set styles of patterns, steps, and prescribed movements (usually, but not always, used in items related to religion), lyrical (in which the emotive quality drives the motion), and folk – where stories of everyday people are brought to life with empathy, humor, and candor. Interpretation, technique and artistic ability are what shape dance and make it an especially creative art form.
Costuming and makeup further enhance dance as an art. A dance can be totally transformed by the way a material sways with a movement; it can be more dramatic through the use of masks or other props; its raw excitement may be amplified by adding speed and technical difficulty; the emotional intensity can be controlled through facial expressions, hand gestures or mime.
Performed solo or in a group, dance is a language all its own, a form of communication which unites, entertains, and uplifts people and society as a whole.