Dance, Pleasure And Indian Women As Multisensorial Subjects

Pallabi Chakravorty, Swarthmore College

Abstract

This article uses an experiential approach to analyze the embodied aesthetics of classical Indian dance. This approach is fundamentally different from the dominant Western epistemologies of visual analysis of cognition and perception. I look at the body in riaz (dance practice) to analyze the integration of mind and body through emotion or pleasure as explained in the Indian theory of rasa. I show how cultural memory is evoked through bodily practices which, in the context of Kathak (a classical dance in north and east India), is intimately linked to the Hindu narrative of Krishna lila. This article also explains how this embodied experience molds gendered cultural identity through riaz and rasa.