Bharata Natyam on the Global Stage : At Home in the World

Bharata Natyam on the Global Stage : At Home in the World

Product ID: 25711

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Author: Janet O Shea
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass
Year: 2009
Language: English
Pages: 222
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9788120833623


One of the most popular and widely performed dance styles in India and around the world, Bharata Natyam has made the transition from its beginnings in the temples and courts of southern India to a highly respected international dance practice. In this study of a classical dance form, author Janet O'Shea tracks the choreographic transformations that accompanied the transfer of Bharata Natyam to the urban concert stage in the 1930s and 1940s.

At Home in the World situates these changes within the political debates of their time and ties the concerns of this period to present- day practice. The history of this dance is also a history of India itself, and readers can trace various national struggles over gender identity, regionalism, and globalize through O'Shea's narrative. With over 250 teachers in the United States alone, Bharata Natyam offers a remarkable case study of how a traditional art form moves into the world.


“Original, pioneering, and substantial, At Home in the World a clear and nuanced historical study of Bharata Natyam. It fills a long-standing gap in South Asian studies and dance history.”
—Indira Viswanathan Peterson, David B. Truman Professor of Asian Studies, Mount Holyoke College

“This remarkable book weaves the cultural politics of the twenty-first century through the shifting choreographies and histories of Bharata Natyam, always keeping the dance and its performers and transformers at the core.”
- Helen Thomas, University of the Arts, London.

“… an admirable book. It combines questions of national and regional history, transnational practice, choreographic investigation, and gendered and classed/caste performance in ways that are both commendable and rare.”
—Parama Roy, associate professor of English, University of California, Davis

“Widely performed in India and around the world Bharata Natyam underwent choreographic transformations as it moved to the urban concert stage in the 1930s and 40s. Examining these changes At Home in the World effectively traces the evolution of this beautiful art form.”
—Midwest book Review, 278, Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI53575

“O’Shea carefully untangles the complex associations of Bharatanatyam with other dance and art forms, and looks at contrasting positions taken by practitioners of the Bharatanatyam revival.”

“This book provides sorely needed information on the dance legacy of India, especially as its progenitors and various exogamous catalytic guests have shaped what actually does interpret the Indian people.”
—Bernadine Jennings, Attitude the Dancer’s Magazine



Introduction - Performing Politics in an Age of Globalization
1. Tradition and the Individual Dancer
2. Nation and Region
3. Women's Questions
4. The Production of Locality

Afterword - Toward a New Transnationalism?