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Bharatanatyam: A Reader

Bharatanatyam: A Reader
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Item Code: IHF072
Author: Davesh Soneji
Publisher: Oxford University Press, New Delhi
Edition: 2010
ISBN: 0198065396
Pages: 461 (33 B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 8.9" X 5.9"
From the Jacket

A dynamic, living cultural practice of modern South Asia. Bharatanatyam is widely recognized as one of the world’s fastest growing dance forms. This reader brings together some of the most important essays on Bharatanatyam written over the last two hundred years.

Drawing from history, dance studies. Anthropology, women’s studies, religious studies, and ethnomusicology, this volume shows how Bharatanatyam has generated complex social histories and varied aesthetic practices. From the earliest essay published in 1806 to pieces by legendary dancers, contemporary artists, and leading dance scholars, this collection captures the multiplicity of voices that constitute this diverse cultural practice. For the first time, this volume opens a window on the history, aesthetics, and personal journeys that have shaped this vital and ever-shifting art.

The comprehensive Introduction by Davesh Soneji provides a broad understanding of the historical, socio-political, and aesthetic issues in Bharatanatyam alongside a contextual mapping of the sources.

The comprehensive Introduction by Davesh Soneji provides a broad understanding of the historical, socio-political, and aesthetic issues in Bharatanatyam alongside a contextual mapping of the sources.

This volume will be invaluable to students and teachers of performing arts, dance studies, South Asian cultural studies, women’s studies, religious studies, and ethnomusicology.

Davesh Soneji is Assistant Professor, South Indian Religions, McGill University, Montreal, Canada. He is the editor (with Indira Viswanathan Peterson) of Performing Pasts: Reinventing the Arts in Modern South India (OUP 2007)

Contents

Davesh Soneji xi
Critical Steps
Thinking through Bharatanatyam in the Twenty-first Century
PART I
Devadasi Dance: History and Representation
Representations of dance in Colonial South India
P. RAGAVIAH CHARRY 3
A Short account of the Dancing Girls,
Treating Concisely on the general principles of Dancing and Singing,
with the translations of two Hindo Songs
JOEP BOR 13
Mamia, Ammani and other Bayaderes
Europe’s Portrayal of India’s Temple Dancers

Community, Repertoire, and Aesthetics
SASKIA C. KERSENBOOM 53
The Traditional Repertoire of
the Tiruttani Temple Dancers
HARI KRISHNAN 69
Inscribing Practice
Reconfigurations and Textualizations of Devadasi Repertoire
in Nineteenth and Early Twentieth-century South India
DAVESH SONEJI 87
Salon to Cinema
The Distinctly Modern Life of the Telugu Javali
Anti-Nautch Revisited
S. MUTHULAKSHMI REDDI 115
Why should the Devadasi Institution
in the Hindu Temples be Abolished?
MADRAS DEVADASIS ASSOCIATION 128
The Humble Memorial of
Devadasis of the Madras Presidency
AMRIT SRINIVASAN 139
Reform or Conformity?
Temple Prostitution’ and the Community
in the Madras Presidency
TERESA HUBEL 160
The High Cost of Dancing
When the Indian Women’s
Movement Went after the Devadasis
PART II
Reinventing Dance in South India
New Beginnings? Voices from Twentieth Century Madras
V. RAGHAVAN (BHAVA RAGA TALA) 185
Bharata Natya-Classic Indian Dance
The South Indian Sadir-Nautch
The Recent Controversy Over the Art
RUKMINI DEVI ARUNDALE 192
The Spiritual Background of Indian Dance
T. BALASARASWATI 197
Bharata Natyam
MATTHEW HARP ALLEN 205
Rewriting the Script for South Indian Dance
AVANTHI MEDURI 253
Bharatanatyam as World Historical Form
MATTHEW HARP ALLEN 205
Rewriting the Script for South Indian Dance
AVANTHI MEDURI 253
Bharatanatyam as World Historical Form
ANNE-MARIE GASTON 273
Dance and the Hindu Woman
Bharatanatyam Re-ritualized
PART III
Contemporary Extensions
JANET O’SHEA 297
At Home in the World?
The Bharatanatyam Dancer as Transnational Interpreter
ANDREE GRAU 311
Political Activism and South Asian dance
The Case of Mallika Sarabhai
ANITA KUMAR 325
What’s the Matter?
Shakti’s (Re)Collection of Race, Nationhood, and Gender
PART IV
Dancers Speak: Personal Journeys to and from Bharatanatyam
MRINALINI SARABHAI 361
Creations
SHOBANA JEYASINGH 367
Getting Off the Orient Express
CHANDRALEKHA 374
Reflections on New Directions in Indian Dance
ANANYA CHATTERJEA 383
Raga and Sloka
Troubling Femininity
Notes on Contributors 401
Acknowledgements 407

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