At Home in the World: Bharata Natyam on the Global Stage
One of the most popular and widely performed dance styles in India and around the world, bharata natyam has made the transition from its beginnings in the temples and courts of southern India to a highly respected international phenomenon. In this study of a classical dance form, author Janet O’Shea tracks the choreographic transformations that accompanied the transfer of bharata natyam to the urban concert stage in the 1930s and 1940s. At Home in the World situates these changes within the political debates of their time, and further ties the concerns of this period to present-day practice. The history of this dance is also a history of India itself, and readers can trace various national struggles over gender identity, regionalism, and globalism through O’Shea’s narrative. With over 250 teachers in the United States alone, bharata natyam offers a remarkable case study of how a traditional art form moves into the world.
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activists aesthetic theory affiliations alarippu aligned allegiance anti-nautch movement arangetram argues articulated artistic arts audience Balasaraswati bhakti bharata nat bharata natyam dancers bharata natyam revival Brahman Carnatic music celebration Chatterjee Chennai choreographic classical dance classical Indian dance colonial communities concert contrast creativity cultural dance dramas dance form dance milieu dance practice deployed devadasi Devi's discourses divergent Dravidianist elite expression female feminine foregrounding form's Gaston gender global Hindu identity Indian dance Jeyasingh Kalakshetra Krishna Iyer Krishnan Lakshmi late-twentieth-century Madras Madras Music Academy middle-class Music Academy nationalist Natyasastra Orientalist pan-Indian past performance piece political position practitioners Ramaswamy 1997 Ramnarayan rata natyam refiguration reform regional regionalist repertoire revivalist role Roop Kanwar Rukmini Devi sadir Sanskrit sati sexual social solo South Asian South Indian sringara Srinivasan 1983 stage status strategies suggest Tamil Tamil Nadu Telugu temple Thanjavur Thanjavur Quartet tion tradition twentieth century Uday Shankar upper-caste urban viewers