Rabindranath Tagore and Eclecticism in Twentieth-Century Indian Dance
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Rabindranath Tagore’s plays, poetry and dance dramas, written and performed for twentieth-century theatre and non-theatre spaces and for audiences in Bengal, are today commonly considered to be a cultural repository and the hallmark of a Bengali school, style or tradition of performance. A number of different descriptive labels for Tagore’s dance — abindra Nritya, Rabindrik Nritya or ‘Tagorean’ dance — simultaneously point to the indelible presence of a clearly identifiable Bengali culture, embodied and performed through dancing bodies not only in West Bengal, India, but also in Bengali communities spread across the Indian subcontinent (including Bangladesh) as well as in the international Bengali diaspora. Tagore’s vast repertoire of writing in prose, poetry and drama continues to provide material for staged and outdoor performances for a significant global population of more than 250 million people. These performances range from local community shows, for instance the para (neighbourhood) performances held in numerous venues during several festive occasions across the Bengal region in India, to community events and formal proscenium arch performances viewed by audiences both nationally and globally.
KeywordsMusical Play Buddhist Monk Female Protagonist Dance Teacher Dance Form
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