Pallabi Chakravorty is Associate Professor and Director of the Dance Program, in the department of Music and Dance. She teaches interdisciplinary theory courses on performance and ethnography, and studio courses in Kathak dance, choreography, and composition. Pallabi has a Ph.D. in Visual Anthropology and years of training in Indian dance, primarily Kathak, and she is a practicing dancer and choreographer. This unusual combination allows her to integrate theory and practice in her research, teaching, and artistic works. Pallabi is the founder and artistic director of Courtyard Dancers, a non-profit community-centered arts organization based in Philadelphia and Kolkata (www.courtyarddancers.org). She regularly teaches and choreographs for the company’s artistic productions. Courtyard Dancers launched the first dance and music festival devoted to the South Asian diaspora in Philadelphia titled Facing East in 2015.
Her ethnographic research in India has resulted in several interdisciplinary publications. The publications include:
- The influential book Bells of Change: Kathak Dance, Women, and Modernity in India (Seagull/University of Chicago, 2008), which is the first critical history and in-depth ethnographic account of Kathak dance and its practitioners;
- Two co-edited books Performing Ecstasy: The Poetics and Politics of Religion in India, 2009, and Dance Matters: Performing India on Local and Global Stages, 2010 and one edited proceedings Dance in South Asia.
- Her two most recent books, one single authored on Dance Reality Shows titled This is How We Dance Now: Performance in the Age of Bollywood and the other co-edited with the working title Dance Matters Too: Markets and Messages are under review.
- More than twenty journal articles and book chapters in leading international journals and books such as Dance Research Journal, Visual Anthropology, South Asia, South Asia Research, Dance Chronicle, and A Companion to the Anthropology of India, The Oxford Handbook of Screen Dance Studies.