Indian classical is revered and celebrated throughout the world. However, the world of classical dance is selectively exclusionary. These practices seem insidious and deeply rooted in the history of Indian Classical dance. The dance world is haunted by the event of discarding the devdasi. Through this paper, we look at the impact on the psyche of the modern day dancer, whilst historically contextualising the caste based violence on devdasi practices. This paper demonstrates how classical dance in contemporary practices is rooted in a violent history of thievery and the obliteration of the devdasi. Using the psychoanalytic theory of abjection and disavowal, this work attempts to throw light on how these psychological processes maintain the power hierarchies in the world of Indian classical dance.
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Language is everywhere- we dance in a language that is unfathomable, stories that are un-relatable. Simply, the language is one I don’t know. For it to remain classical, in its hierarchical sense, it must remain slightly unapproachable. For me to experiment, I will need to break out of these rules. If I do, I will bear the consequences.
Tapasya comes from the word ‘tapas’ which means deep meditation. Tapasya conveys an essence of a long term process to make one seasoned and matured.
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Madan, A. Do I Dance a Stolen Dance? The Violence of the Indian Classical Dance World. Psychoanal Cult Soc (2023). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41282-023-00398-1