Gender and Caste Dynamics in Indian Classical Dances

19.05.2017 15:15 - 16:45

Shovana Narayan | Padmashri & Sangeet Natak Akademi Awardee


The Indian classical dance scenario can be taken to be a mirror of Indian cultural practices. Issues as to whether gender and caste played any significant role in changing paradigms in the context of Indian classical dances have presented enigmas and a complex canvas of psychological behaviour. Indian society is complex and has been a society of extremes. A profusion of stone sculptures in dance poses adorn the walls and niches of temples. The woman dancer reflects and to some extent unites the extremes and complexities in both performance and life. She not only performs and enacts dramas and stories derived from mythology on stage, but she also lives them in her daily life. Was she a victim to circumstances in a society with a strong androcentric bias? What was the position of male dancers and the psychological impact of Tantrism, sensuality and the emergence of the concept Shakti?

Institut für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde
Seminarraum 1, nstitut für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde, AAKH, Spitalgasse 2, Hof 2.7, 1090 Wien