1st Edition

Western Texts on Indian Dance An Illustrated Guide from 1298 to 1930

By Donovan Roebert Copyright 2022
    558 Pages 23 Color & 44 B/W Illustrations
    by Jenny Stanford Publishing

    558 Pages 23 Color & 44 B/W Illustrations
    by Jenny Stanford Publishing

    This unique work is an annotated collection and collation of Western writing on Indian dance from the period of Marco Polo’s travels to India to the formulation of the anti-devadasi bill in 1930, and a little beyond. The book reproduces more than 250 extracts from important texts, which provide examples of how dance in India was perceived as an art, as well its position in the broader cultural, religious, social, and ethical environment. Though some excerpts from these texts are cited in other writings on Indian dance history, there is no other available work that reproduces such a large number of historical writings on Indian dance and places them in a fluid historical context.

    1. Prelude: 1298–1711

    2. Sightings, Viewings, Explications, and Opinions: 1770–1830

    3. Writings from the Bengal Presidency: 1813–1837

    4. The Decade of Encounter: 1830–1840

    5. The Beginnings of the Repetitive Narrative: 1840–1850

    6. Beautiful Bodies, Graceful Dances, Moral Dilemmas: 1855–1860

    7. Getting to Grips with the Bayadère: 1860–1870

    8. A Royal Performance and Other Perceptions: 1870–1880

    9. A Slowly Brewing Storm: 1880–1890

    10. A Detour to the Ethnic Exhibitions and Shows: 1880s–1920s

    11. Dancing in India in the Storm of Reform: 1890–1900

    12. Loathing, Examination, Analysis, and Appreciation: 1900–1910

    13. A Decade of Contradiction and Appropriation: 1910–1920

    14. The Beginning of the End: 1920–1930


    Donovan Roebert is an artist and writer whose artworks are sold internationally. He has published works on Buddhism, inter-religious dialogue, and Indian dance, as well as a play and four novels. Roebert is an independent researcher into pictorial and textual data for the history of dance in India. He has written articles for various journals and other print media and hosts the blog Aspects of Pictorial Indian Dance History, where he has published more than 50 essays on historical pictorial items relating to Indian dance.