In karate, as we know, kata is a series of codified movements and techniques executed against any number of imaginary adversaries. The kata, as performed, contain a myriad of karate techniques ranging from simple to highly complex. The theoretical application of these techniques is called bunkai. Often we are taught standard simple bunkai to accompany the various kata, and a karateka can thereby enhance his or her performance of the kata by "visualising" the bunkai while performing the kata.
Occasionally, in some dojos unfortunately, the study of the bunkai is overlooked when learning the kata. As a result, the performance of the kata becomes nothing more than a "dance" -- the kata in this case has no life or soul.