Manjusri Chaki Sircar and Feminist New Dance

  • Prarthana Purkayastha
Part of the New World Choreographies book series (NWC)


If IPTA prepared the ground for women’s agency to be staged in the newly imagined nation-state that was India, then Manjusri Chaki Sircar (1934–2000) openly waged her resistance to patriarchal nationalism and aesthetic Eurocentrism through her fiercely political feminist choreography. Chaki Sircar’s was a significant voice in the choric dissension of Indian feminist choreographers against what they believed to be the representation of women as meek, submissive and dolled-up bodies on the Indian classical dance stage. Some other vociferous dance-makers, such as Chandralekha (1928–2006) and Mallika Sarabhai, have been the subjects of a number of in-depth scholarly studies; Bharucha (1995) and Chatterjea (2004a) have offered excellent analyses of Chandralekha’s resistive choreographies; while Chatterjea (2004b) and Grau (2007) have each focused their attention on the activism of Mallika Sarabhai’s dance. Curiously, apart from Kothari (2003) important narratives on modern and contemporary dance from India, including that of Ketu Katrak (2011), have left out Chaki Sircar’s choreographic works.1 This chapter considers possible reasons for this neglect and discusses how Chaki Sircar’s dance repertoire might offer performance scholars an invaluable source of knowledge on embodied feminism of South Asian origin.


Feminist Scholar Refugee Woman Classical Dance South Asian Origin Dance Performance 
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Copyright information

© Prarthana Purkayastha 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Prarthana Purkayastha
    • 1
  1. 1.Plymouth UniversityUK

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