Ranjabati Sircar and the Politics of Identity in Indian Dance

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


If Manjusri Chaki Sircar, situated in post-Independence Bengal as an artist-academic, introduced her version of a feminist enquiry into the representation of women on the Indian dance stage, then her daughter Ranjabati Sircar (1963–99) went a step further and confronted the Indian classical dance establishment head on with her radical rebuttal of not only the form but the pedagogical methods of Indian classical dance. Also, as co-director of the Dancers’ Guild, Ranjabati Sircar’s input into the Guild’s choreographic works and the formulation of the new dance methodology of Navanritya was instrumental. The paucity of studies on Sircar’s works, therefore, certainly needs to be recompensed. With a few important exceptions — Alessandra Lopez y Royo’s article (2003), which initiated a much-needed scholarly analysis of Sircar’s work, a brief account of Sircar’s choreographies in Gayatri Chattopadhyay’s book in Bengali (2001: 157–Aishika Chakraborry’s excellent (2008) edition of the dancer’s writings — there is remarkably little written critical analysis of Sircar’s dance repertoire. Sircar’s choreographic works deserve extensive analysis along with a much-needed review of her career trajectory, which traversed several continents and cultural spaces during her brief lifetime. The contours and lines of Sircar’s fluid body moved beyond the territorial essentialisms of embodied cultures and consciously sought out intercultural dialogues through the dancing body.


Female Body Classical Dance Movement Phrase Intercultural Dialogue Female Protagonist 
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Copyright information

© Prarthana Purkayastha 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Prarthana Purkayastha
    • 1
  1. 1.Plymouth UniversityUK

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