Events like fashion shows are frowned upon by some Islamic practitioners in LahoreCity authorities in the capital of Pakistan's Punjab region, Lahore, have imposed an indefinite ban on what they describe as "obscene dancing" in theatres.
The ban, which has been put in place with immediate effect, follows Tuesday's police raids on half-a-dozen theatres in the town, which authorities said were promoting "vulgarity".
The decision to ban stage dances was taken at a meeting presided over by Mr Khalid Sultan, a senior civil servant heading the city administration, and attended by theatre owners and senior stage artists.
It was on Mr Sultan's orders, on Tuesday, that police invoked a law on stage entertainment to stop performances in five theatres, all belonging to the private sector.
If the order was to be interpreted to imply a blanket ban on all stage dancing, artists would protest and resist the move
Their reason: operating without a license and showing "vulgar dances".
All the theatres included under Tuesday's ban have been allowed to resume their performances on condition that they will not allow "obscene dances" by professional stage dancers or use of "vulgar language" in their dialogue.
The owners, who had mostly converted their cinemas into theatres - when film shows gradually lost popularity to VCRs - have also been asked to obtain operating licenses.
Morality or taste?
Outside Pakistan, steps announced by Lahore's city administration are likely to be seen as part of a pattern to rid society of un-Islamic ingredients.
There have been demonstrations against pictures of female models on billboards and demands to alter the university curriculum.
However, whether religion or issues of taste are the real motive behind the latest ban is not yet clear.
Pakistani theatre generally thrives on practically unscripted plays without storyline, and interspersed with songs and dances.
Audiences are often treated to impromptu humour on the part of the cast - usually with sexual overtones.
Speaking to the BBC after the meeting on Wednesday, the District Co-ordination Officer, Mr Sultan, said the aim of the ban was to restore the status of theatre as "a means of genuine entertainment".
"For this reason, the ban will extend only to obscene dances and vulgar use of language," he said.
But a senior playwright and director, Naheed Khanum, has reservations.
"Of course, everybody should appreciate official efforts to curb vulgarity on stage. But if the order was to be interpreted to imply a blanket ban on all stage dancing, artists would protest and resist the move," she said.
The city authorities have not defined what constitutes "vulgar dialogue" or "obscene dancing".
In the absence of an objective test, the power to interpret the new directions will naturally fall into the hands of the police.