At Home in the World

Bharata Natayam on the Global Stage

JANET O'SHEA
WESYLAN UNIVERSITY PRESS; 2010

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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