It is not allowed in the West: THE SPIRIT OF THE LITURGY, by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Cardinal Ratzinger concludes with some valuable reflections on specific liturgical gestures and postures: that most ancient, primordial Christian gesture, the Sign of the Cross; the indispensable role of kneeling, presented with its abundant biblical foundations; the appropriateness of standing and sitting at different moments, and the inappropriateness of “liturgical dance” in any shape or form! Here too (p. 198), Ratzinger is again very blunt, warning against any tendency to turn the liturgy into a form of entertainment wherein attention is self-consciously drawn to merely human attractiveness or achievement:
Dancing is not a form of expression for the Christian liturgy. In about the third century, there was an attempt in certain Gnostic-Docetic circles to introduce it into the liturgy. For these people, the Crucifixion was only an appearance. . . . Dancing could take the place of the liturgy of the Cross, because, after all, the Cross was only an appearance. The cultic dances of the different religions have different purposes - incantation, imitative magic, mystical ecstasy - none of which is compatible with the essential purpose of the liturgy as the “reasonable sacrifice”. It is totally absurd to try to make the liturgy “attractive” by introducing dancing pantomimes (wherever possible performed by professional dance troupes), which frequently (and rightly, from the professionals’ point of view) end with applause. Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. Such attraction fades quickly - it cannot compete in the market of leisure pursuits, incorporating as it increasingly does various forms of religious titillation.
Interestingly, however, Ratzinger sees no incompatibility between this unequivocal judgement against ‘liturgical dance’ and approval for those forms of ‘inculturation’ which the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship has allowed (since its Instruction of 1995) for certain African liturgies. He says (p. 199):
None of the Christian rites include dancing. What people call dancing in the Ethiopian rite or the Zairean [Congolese] form of the Roman liturgy is in fact a rhythmically ordered procession, very much in keeping with the dignity of the occasion. It provides an inner discipline and order for the various stages of the liturgy, bestowing on them beauty and, above all, making them worthy of God.