Event Type: Dance
CELEBRATING WOMEN'S MARCH 2019 Dance Talk: Kalavanthula Lifeworlds: Dance,Social History and Identity This talk focuses on social history and dance performance in the Telugu-speaking kalvantula-courtesan community of South India. The presentation features archival material about the community, and also the live performance of courtly dance and music repertoire by Yashoda Thakore, herself a member of this community. The presentation considers how nationalism, caste politics, and other forces had a major role to play in what is called “devadasi reform” and that women and their own voices were largely left outside this debate. Yashoda Thakore is a practitioner of both Kuchipudi and the traditional repertoire of the hereditary women dancers (kalavantulu) of coastal Andhra Pradesh. She works relentlessly with women from the kalavantula community on the social, historical, and aesthetic aspects of their art, for she herself belongs to this community. She has performed and presented the kalavantula dance in academic contexts extensively throughout India, many parts of the USA, France, and Russia. Her doctoral research focused on the philosophical relationship between the bodily practices of dance and yoga, and this was published as the book Kaivalya: Joy in Yoga and Dance in 2014. She has recently completed the first full critical edition and translation of the thirteenth-century South Indian Sanskrit text Nrttaratnavali, which is being published by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. She is now faculty at the University of Silicon Andhra in California, where she teaches dance history, theory, and practice to graduate students. She was conferred the Bangalore Nagaratnamma Award in 2017 by the Samskruti Organization, Guntur, and the Ugadi Puraskaram in the same year by the Government of Andhra Pradesh.