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Beyond Bollywood: 2000 Years of Dance in Art

November 11, 2022–February 5, 2023

Western & Southern Galleries (Galleries 232 and 233)
Friends of South Asian Art, Islamic Art and Antiquities


The exhibition Beyond Bollywood: 2000 Years of Dance in Art explores the representation of dance in the arts from South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Himalayan region from the first to the twenty-first century. Dance is omnipresent in the arts of this region and has long been a key element in the world’s image of India and nearby countries. Through religious, courtly, and everyday objects, the exhibition will illustrate how dance occupies a uniquely important place in the region. The dance of the gods can provide religious and ethical lessons and can also symbolize power and majesty. In daily life, people have long danced for worship, for festivals, for the entertainment of emperors and princes, and for their own enjoyment. Dance was–and is–not only for delight. This groundbreaking exhibition will empower museum audiences to consider the compelling visual language of dance through its many permutations. It will demonstrate the exceptional importance and power of dance in religious thought, literature, politics, and societal structures.

Through approximately 120 artworks drawn from US museums and private collections, the exhibition features sculptures of bronze, stone, ivory, and wood; paintings; jewelry; textiles; and contemporary works in new media. In addition to representations of dance from India, works from Pakistan, Nepal, Tibet, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Indonesia are included. Jointly organized by the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Asian Art Museum, the exhibition premieres in Cincinnati before travelling to San Francisco in 2023.

Beyond Bollywood: 2000 Years of Dance in Art is accompanied by an interdisciplinary, multi-author publication – available soon from the museum shop in person and online.

Check back frequently as new events and programs are added to the schedule of upcoming exhibition related programming.

If you need accessibility accommodations for this program or event, please email [email protected]. Please contact us at least two weeks in advance to ensure accommodations can be made.


Members Opening and Lecture

Thursday, November 10, 2022, 5–8 p.m.
Free for Members. Please RSVP.

Details and registration coming soon.


CAM Kids Day: Dance Party

Saturday, December 3, 2022, 11 a.m.—5 p.m.

Let’s boogie! We are celebrating our Beyond Bollywood Exhibition with a day filled with twisting and twirling for the whole family. Spend the morning in our galleries with hands-on preschool activities from 11 a.m.–12 p.m, then enjoy a family-friendly performance at 1:30 p.m. Don't miss out on the hands-on art-making in the Rosenthal Education Center or the My CAM custom scavenger hunts available all day.

Beyond Bollywood: 2000 Years of Dance in Art is accompanied by an interdisciplinary, multi-author publication, with new scholarship presented by dance and film historians, art historians, and scholars of religions. It is the first publication dedicated to exploring dance in the arts from the wider Indian cultural sphere. Contributions include thematic essays by Dr. Ainsley M. Cameron, Cincinnati Art Museum’s Curator of South Asian Art, Islamic Art, and Antiquities and Dr. Forrest McGill, Wattis Senior Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art, San Francisco, with additional essays by Dr. Laura Weinstein, Dr. Padma Kaimal, and Dr. Esha Niyogi De.


Major Support by:

National Endowment for the Arts

Presenting Sponsor:


Procter & Gamble