By Ketu H. Katrak (auth.)
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Extra resources for Contemporary Indian Dance: New Creative Choreography in India and the Diaspora
5 Together, these observations resonate with my personal journey that has led, through my own bodily learning of bharatanatyam, and my later attempts to conceptualize and theorize that bodily knowledge to this book on Contemporary Indian Dance. Even as I propose theoretical frames for this study of selected Contemporary Indian Dancers, I give primary attention to their creative work, engaging with their choreographic processes, and analyzing the overall product. Rather than analyzing the creative work via one or other theory, I expand the boundaries of what is strictly accepted as “theory” by deriving theoretical insights from the creative works and from other cultural productions such as dance company brochures, publicity materials, interviews, newspaper reviews and websites.
38 This resonates with my training in reading literary texts and critical theory, using hermeneutic tools of interpretation and discovery that also informs my analysis of Contemporary Indian Dance. ” He moves away from a visual to a “discursive paradigm,” away from the “observing eye and toward expressive speech” (and gesture). He further identifies a crucial problem for a discursive ethnography, namely, how “‘to achieve by written means what speech creates, and to do it without simply imitating speech’” (quoting Tyler, 12).
I take Kothari’s formative work in delineating “new directions in Indian Dance” further by making distinctions among dancers who extend the traditional dance forms by adding new themes, others who retain a base in traditional form and innovate adding new music and costume, and finally, dancers who create a hybrid form with traditional Indian dance and other movement vocabularies as well as presenting cutting-edge themes of gender and sexuality. In the last group, Indian traditional vocabulary may echo even as it is being deliberately played with, distorted and presented in unfamiliar ways, often disrupted from its symmetry.