The karanas such as sakatasyam, cakramandalam and gangavataranam which are highly acrobatic in nature are meant as exercise for the body to keep the dancer trim. It might also be due to the merging of acrobatics and the art of dance which has been natural during the course of history of dance in any part of the world.
(‘Bharatha Natyam - Classical Dance of the Ancient Tamils: The Role of Dance Sculptures in Tamilnad’ by Padma Subrahmanyam).

Chapter 4 of the Natyasastra deals specifically with dance, here separated from acting, although in the text the dancing and the acting body are conceived as one, for the natya actor is also a dancer. The chapter describes the 108 dance units or karanas of the tandava dance of Siva and their combinations, short dance phrases named angaharas (NS 4, vv.1-245).
(‘Dancing ancient texts and temple sculptures’ by Alessandra Lopez y Royo - ebook: ReConstructing and RePresenting dance: exploring the dance/archaeology conjunction, Metamedia Collaborative, Stanford University, 2007

There is ample reference to dancing in all the Vedas. In fact, the gods are supposed to be accomplished dancers. They are visualized as semi-human beings having human traits and dancing is one of their accomplishments. The Rigveda abounds in references to the beautiful apsaras dancing, bewitching, exhilarating.
(‘Dance’ chapter in “Mohiniattam: The Lyrical Dance” by Kanak Rele).

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