Professor Pallabi Chakravorty to Lecture at UCLA Arts
Pallabi Chakravorty is a leading scholar of South Asian performance and has recently published her second monograph, This Is How We Dance Now, an ethnography about the media industry, competition shows, and reality TV dance in India. It’s the first contemporary ethnography of screendance in India and an important contribution to the fields of visual and performance studies. She will present a lecture related to this book and her ongoing research in the area, which includes addressing gender and class representations and stratifications.
What can the embodied aesthetics of dance performance tell us about the contemporary cultures we inhabit? Drawing on ethnographic research among Reality Show dancers and Bollywood back-up dancers in India, I show how a new generation of dancers and choreographers are performing the spectacle of consumerist modernity in India. While the nationalist project of dance pedagogy instituted through the system of “guru shisya parampara” is being broken down by the growth of media, migration, and participatory democracy, new identities of femininity and masculinity are being forged through song and dances called “item numbers”. “Remix” signifies the new practice of transmission of bodily knowledge through dance that includes the aspirational emotions associated with celebrity culture, new media, and hybrid cosmopolitan subjects.
More about Pallabi Chakravorty
Pallabi Chakravorty is the Director of Dance and Associate Professor in the Department of Music and Dance at Swarthmore College, where she teaches interdisciplinary theory courses on performance and studio courses in Kathak dance and dance making. Her ethnographic research in India has resulted in several publications and choreographies. The interdisciplinary publications are spread through journals of Dance, Anthropology, History, and Literary studies. Her books include Bells of Change: Kathak Dance, Women and Modernity in India (Seagull/University of Chicago, 2008), This is How We Dance Now: Performance in the Age of Bollywood and Reality Shows (Oxford University Press, 2017); Three co-edited books Performing Ecstasy: The Poetics and Politics of Religion in India, 2009, Dance Matters: Performing India on Local and Global Stages, 2010, and Dance Matters Too: Markets, Memories, Identities, 2017, and one edited proceedings (Dance in South Asia). She is currently working on a new research project on Yoga, Performance, and Health. Pallabi is the founder and artistic director of Courtyard Dancers, a non-profit dance company based in Philadelphia and Kolkata (www.courtyarddancers.org).