What is the Sikhi attitude to dancing?
Dancing is a mode of entertainment in western countries. Sikhism applies the general test mentioned in the Scripture to any entertainment, namly, “Avoid that which causes pain or harm to the body or produces evil thoughts in the mind.” (A.G.p 16) Dancing with partners of the opposite sex is likely to cause sensuous thoughts, for intimate bodily movement rouse the lower passions.
However, cultural dances like Bhangra, Gidda, Tiranjan etc. are not forbidden, but these should not be performed in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib. Such dances are meant for social occasions or festivals and have no religious significance. There are other religious dances which are done by the Hindus (as for example Ras-Lila), and also by Muslim Sufi mystics. Such dances are not permitted in Sikhism. What the Guru permitted was ‘the dance of the mind’, and not of the body. The Guru says:
“O my mind, dance before the Guru;
If you dance according to the will of the Guru
You will gain happiness, and the fear of death will vanish.”
This kind of dance is the result of spiritual ecstasy, and is free from physical jerking and gymnastics.