Contents: Critical steps/Davesh Soneji. I. Devadasi dance: i. History and representation: representations of dance in colonial South India: 1. A short account of the dancing girls, treating concisely on the general principles of dancing and singing, with the translations of two Hindo songs/P. Ragaviah Charry. 2. Mamia, Ammani and other Bayaderes: Europe's portrayal of India's temple dancers/Joep Bor. ii. Community, repertoire, and aesthetics: 3. The traditional repertoire of the Tiruttani Temple dancers/Saskia C. Kersenboom. 4. Inscribing practice: Reconfigurations and textualizations of Devadasi repertoire in nineteenth and early twentieth-century South India/Hari Krishnan. 5. Salon to cinema: the distinctly modern life of the Telugu Javali/Davesh Soneji. iii. Anti-Nautch revisited: 6. Why should the Devadasi institution in the Hindu temples be abolished?/S. Muthulakshmi Reddi. 7. The Humble Memorial of Devadasis of the Madras Presidency. 8. Reform or conformity? Temple prostitution and the community in the Madras Presidency/Amrit Srinivasan. 9. The high cost of dancing: When the Indian women's Movement went after the Devadasis/Teresa Hubel. II. Reinventing dance in South India: New beginnings? Voices from Twentieth century Madras: 10. Bharata Natya--classic Indian dance: the South Indian Sadir-Nautch; The recent controversy over the art/V. Raghavan. 11. The spiritual background of Indian dance/Rukmini Devi Arundale. 12. Bharata Natyam/T. Balasaraswati. 13. Rewriting the script for South Indian dance/Matthew Harp Allen. 14. Bharatanatyam as world historical form/Avanthi Meduri. 15. Dance and the Hindu woman: Bharatanatyam re-ritualized/Anne Marie Gaston. III. Contemporary extensions: 16. At home in the world? The Bharatanatyam dancer as transnational interpreter/Janet O'Shea. 17. Political activism and South Asian dance: the case of Mallika Sarabhai/Andree Grau. 18. What's the matter? Shakti's (Re)collection of race, nationhood, and gender/Anita Kumar. IV. Dancers speak: personal journeys to and from Bharatanatyam: 19. Creations/Mrinalini Sarabhai. 20. Getting off the orient express/Shobana Jeyasingh. 21. Reflections on new directions in Indian dance/Chandralekha. 22. Raga and Sloka: troubling feminity/Ananya Chatterjea. Notes on contributors. Acknowledgments.
"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.
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." (jacket)