Discursive Sites of Production and Opposition: Post World War I Popular Music Scene in Britain

Samraghni Bonnerjee, Independent Researcher, Kolkata, India

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The post World War I British music scene was varied, spanning several genres, from croon, swoon, jazz, blues, to swing – with influences both home-grown as well as imported. New dances, jazz music, and cocktail parties were continuously being imported from America, aided by the popularity of American cinema, which shaped the form of leisure activities of Britain throughout the Twenties and Thirties. However, the conservative response to these forms of music was strict, and post War society was involved with means of trespassing the restrictions and legislations. This paper intends to look at the genres of popular music and their spatial sites of performance – dance halls and ball rooms in England as well as the English colonies – as discursive sites of production and resistance.

Practice, Performance and the Performer : Analyzing the role of ‘Preparation’ in Kathak Dance

Shruti Ghosh, Macquarie University, Sydney

 Yatohastostatodrishtiryato, Drishtitatomana

Yatomanatatobhava, Yatobhavatato rasa

Tatradwabhnayaseba, Pradhaanmitikathyake

(Where the hand goes  the eyes follow, where the eyes go the mind follows, where the mind goes there is feeling, where there is feeling there is emotion)


 This is one of those popular slokas from Natya Sastra [ii] that is oft repeated by the teachers, students and practitioners of Indian classical dance. It is one of those quintessential imperatives that are drilled into the minds of the performers in course of their training. Interrogating the instant reception and popularity of the sloka, I notice its efficacy perhaps lies in its prescriptive tone through which it spells out certain ‘know how s’ about Nritya or acting in dance and indicates how to prepare oneself for acting. Our understanding of the nuances of the sloka would be limited if we consider only the component of acting. I shall therefore also include in my discussion, the other aspect i.e. Nritta, which refers to the abstract dance movements.  How do I prepare myself as a Kathak dancer is the question I have often asked. What do I prepare and for whom? In an attempt to address these questions, this paper analyses the role of ‘preparation’ in a dance practice. There are two crucial components which form part of preparation – ‘dancer’s individual preparation’ and ‘audience reception’. I note further that, an interrogation of the concept of ‘preparation’ also yields varying understanding of ‘Performance’.

Black Feminist Discourse of Power in For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide

Lamia Khalil Hammad, Yarmouk University, Jordan

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This paper discusses black feminist discourse of power in Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem For Colored Girls Who have considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. The work depicts the struggle of black women through a rainbow of experiences. At the end, the girls arrive at ‘selfhood’ by finding God in themselves. This paper focuses on how the patriarchal discourse lead to their suffereing and how they were able to claim back their identities as black females who only need to be loved and appreciated.

Cooking as Performance: Negotiating Art and Authenticity in Ratatouille

Poushali Chakraborty, Rabindra Bharati University, India

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 Be it quotidian or haute cuisine, ‘Caviar’ or ‘Quesadillas’, cooking has always been a performance, in its experimentation to create an “appetite appeal” (Carafoli 146). This paper, through an analysis of Brad Bird and Jan Pinkava’s directed, Disney animation Ratatouille, explores the engaging analogies and correlations between the processes in cooking and performance. The stage is being replaced by a single performative site – the kitchen, which becomes the theatre of action, producing the ultimate ‘orgy of olfaction’ (Kirshenblatt-Gimblett 7). A direct communication is shown to be re-established between the spectator and the spectacle, between the actor and the spectator, from the fact that the spectator is invited to share the secret of the kitchen, and ultimately, is, not only affected by the sight, feel, taste, or smell of the final performative outcome – the food, but also impacted upon by the identity of the performer – Remy, the ‘tiny chef’ – nothing but a provincial rat.

Aestheticizing without Agenda: A Counter-Reading of the Western Approach to Chhau Dance

Indranil Acharya, Indranil Acharya, Vidyasagar University, West Bengal, India

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The Argument

In an article titled “A Crisis of Culture” published in The Hindu (May 07, 2006), T. M. Krishna observes:

We are in a modern world, don’t we need to modernise everything? What’s modernisation? Have the arts not always moved with the times? Do we sing or dance the way it was done 200 years ago? Don’t we experiment with all our artistic traditions? Don’t we address contemporary issues through dance? Don’t we package our music differently today? (2)1

 The crux of this paper is to raise similar issues with regard to the popular folk dance form of Eastern India- Chhau. The Chhau of Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand has been included in the UNESCO list of Intangible Heritage. The western perception on this essentially folk art form has been quite problematic. There is a constant attempt by the western researchers to categorize Chhau as a classical dance form and the ostensible reason behind it has been the royal involvement in terms of performance and choreography particularly in Seraikella and Mayurbhanj. However, the purely folk origin of the Purulia Chhau of West Bengal is left out of the ambit of discussion. But it has not been taken into consideration that after the independence and the abolition of monarchy in various Indian states, this paradigm of nobility controlling the art form of Chhau has been done away with. Instead, various state governments and their agencies have undertaken a string of democratic measures to preserve and promote this rich indigenous art form. This paper attempts to confront and counter the traditional readings of the western scholars with regard to this folk dance form. The recalcitrant approach to search for a “pure” form as Chhau is incorrectly projected as a classical dance form. There is a sardonic reaction at any deviation from the so-called “purity” of form as sheer exhibitionism with regard to the western audience and a downright rejection of political patronage as an ignoble way of promoting tourism industry. Such misconceived criticisms are taken up for discussion in this paper. With first-hand knowledge of the ground reality and close interaction with the folk artistes, the paper aims to correct the western approach to standardize an essentially fluid and vibrant art form that imbibes the best of western influences and blends it impeccably with the indigenous tradition to produce an organic unity of impression. The paper begins with an outline of this dance form.

Modern Rendition of Ancient Arts: Negotiating Values in Traditional Odissi Dance

Shreelina Ghosh, Dakota State University

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Recent innovations in remediating performances allow dancers to perform, collaborate, teach, learn and forge new inter-body relationships that substitute the traditional Guru-Shishya or master-disciple relationship. The divide between technologized and traditional practices in dance creates a productive space that can help scholars understand how digital and networked technologies are transforming embodied cultural memory. Tradition-technology encounters and formations of a deviant discourse challenge the dominant (traditional) norms of embodied cultural memory. My qualitative study of the field reveals that innovation has been encouraged by the most members of the dance community. However, if mediated dance compromises values associated with the dance, like its sacredness, the importance of the body, and the importance of the Guru, it can be potentially subversive to the traditional practice. The main points of conflict between traditional dance and technologically mediated practices indicate moments of compromise in the traditional values.

Performing “Fine Arts”: Dance as a Source of Inspiration in Impressionism

Johannis Tsoumas,  Hellenic Open University, Athens

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The proposed article aims to highlight the importance of the most significant performing art which, according to the author’s opinion, is dance, in influencing one of the most magnificent movements in world art history: Impressionism. Through an diachronic and deep cut in time, namely, the last decades of the nineteenth century France, a period commonly known as fin de siècle, this article attempts to illuminate the unseen sides of this magical “physical ceremony” which was meant to affect dramatically not only art, but also the social status of the country. The process of human movements, especially female ones, through the interaction of body and music was ultimately the cornerstone of the configuration of not only the aesthetics, but the overall ideology of some of the most prominent representatives of Impressionism, but also Post-Impressionism, as in many cases it determined their own lives. The imposing and much debated waltz, the classical ballet as well as the charming can-can and, its ancestor, the playful quadrille, were harmonically blended with the enchanting tools and materials of the Impressionist artists and the result was some of the most astonishing works of art in the world art history.

The Therapeutic Value of Indian Classical, Folk and Innovative Dance Forms

Arpita Chatterjee, Barasat College, West Bengal State University, India

Dance provides an active, non-competitive form of exercise that has potential positive effects for physical health as well as mental and emotional wellbeing. Dance therapy is based on the idea that body and mind are co-relational. The therapeutic approaches with various forms of Indian dances are a new entrant to dance literature. Ayurveda held dance as a power of healing (therapy) and inner awareness (psychology). Indian philosophy also supports the facts of Sangeet (song, dance and music) for benefit of human health physically as well as mentally. The powerful dance form of Bhangra (Punjab), Karagam (Tamilnadu), Chou, Rayabese, Dhali (West Bengal) gives good health and strength. The fast footwork of Kathak dance helps to release anger and tension. Manipuri dancers make rounded movements and avoid any jerks, sharp edges or straight lines. It gives them undulating and soft appearance, proper body control and peace of mind. All these body movements, body balancing, expression, muscle movement, muscle constriction and relaxation have a strong effect on therapeutic movements. In India today the dance therapists are conscious about this matter and in therapeutic sessions they actually improvise different dance movements according to the need.

Signifying The Self: Intersections of Class, Caste and Gender in Rabindranath Tagore’s Dance Drama Chandalika (1938)

Sutapa Chaudhuri, Dr. Kanailal Bhattacharyya College, Howrah, India

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Much has been said about the way Tagore views his women in his poems, essays, novels and drama. Yet it is the dance dramas of Tagore, a genre quite unique in his time and milieu, which portray the radical nature of Tagore’s conception of women and the maturation of their selfhood. The dance dramas illustrate Tagore’s bold and perceptive experimentation with various literary forms and techniques and the radical nature of his ideological orientation. Among the dance dramas of Tagore, Chandalika has a special place as it foregrounds the theme of female desire in an untouchable girl, a tabooed subject in his times, indeed even now in Bengali writings. This paper tries to show how Tagore uses the nuances of the dance form to showcase the intersections of caste, class and gender as well as the evolution of selfhood in Prakriti, the Chandal girl.