Within Bharatanatyam (and other Indian classical dance genres) nrtta denotes dance without any acting whereas nritya and abhinaya refer to expressive, mimetic dance, which involves acting.
('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 http://humanitieslab.stanford.edu/117/Home)

While we know that people danced in Europe long before the Renaissance, the first detailed dance manuals that survive today were written in 1450 and 1455 in Italy. These manuals, and later manuals from France, England, and other European countries, give us a peek at what was a very important social activity in the Renaissance.

The essential significance of Shiva's dance, according to art historian Ananda Coomaraswamy, is three-fold. His rhythmic play is the source of all movement within the cosmos. This is represented by the arch. The purpose of his dance is to release the countless souls of men from the snare of illusion. Chidambaram, the place of dance, the center of the Universe, is within the heart.

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