Bharatanatyam Dance Shape Tamil Cultural Cultural Studies Essay

Bharatantyam has been embedded in the Tamil civilization for centuries, transmitted from coevals to coevals and germinating over clip to continue its sacredness and its representation of the province ‘s traditional individuality. Today Bharatanaytam has spread worldwide, performed and practiced across states and accepted by both traditional and modern multitudes. However it was merely after its metempsychosis in 1930, when the Devadasi Act was passed, and due to E. Krishna Iyer ‘s reworking of the dance ‘s motion vocabulary into a ‘socially accepted dance signifier ‘ ( On, 2011 ) , that Bharatanatyam gained its respectable societal position and hence is why today it plays a important function in portraying India ‘s cultural and traditional individuality.

This portraiture may be seen as what Bourdieu would name a ‘habitus ‘ , which is ‘created through a societal, instead an single procedure taking to forms that are digesting and movable from one context to another ‘ ( Powercube, 2012 ) . More exactly, Bharatanatyam is a societal step used to keep and advance a certain habitus, specifying the civilization ‘s values which are transferred both through clip and across the states, whilst besides moving as a usher for the Tamil coevalss today.

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This essay analyses, based well on Bourdieu ‘s habitus theory, to what extent Bharatanatyam shapes Tamil cultural individuality, particularly abroad.

Art signifiers in general, particularly when practiced over centuries, have proven to be ‘central to any articulation of cultural individuality ‘ ( Hyder, cited in David, 2009 ) and this is even more true when a population lives outside of its ‘home ‘ state. There were, and still are, a important sum of Tamilians that immigrate from India and Sri Lanka to the United Kingdom, particularly during and after the British colonialism period. For many Tamilians in London, particularly the older coevals, Bharatanatyam is the component that contains within it all of their cultural and spiritual individuality: it represents an idealism that they must seek to integrate and continue. Bharatnayam acts as what Foster would see an ‘ideal organic structure ‘ , something that the ‘material organic structure ‘ looks up to and attempts to accomplish. This ideal cultural representation in Bharatanaym has been transmitted over the old ages to future coevalss and to this twenty-four hours immature Tamilians explicate how ‘Bharatanatyam is portion of [ their ] civilization… and prevents the civilization and faith [ from ] being forgotten, particularly in the West ‘ ( David, 2009 ) . Two pupils, Maya and Mahumita, reinforce this statement by corroborating that analyzing Bharatanatyam is their manner of larning about their cultural heritage whilst populating abroad. For illustration, most of Bharatanatyam ‘s bodily motions and facial looks bear a outstanding representation of Tamil muliebrity. This can be seen in little gestures such as the application of the kumkum on the brow ( in representation of the 3rd oculus ) , the plaiting of the hair or the folding of the saree, all typifying ‘a feminized societal organic structure ‘ ( David, 2009 ) , depicting how a adult female should look and act in this cultural context. Another more specific illustration would be that of the heroine character, known as the nayika, and how she uses conventionalized gestures to fix herself to run into the hero, the nayaka. Through these gestures the dance transmits an thought of muliebrity and grace which acts as an ideal for all Tamil adult females to seek populate up to and look up to. This besides links to Bourdieu ‘s construct of ‘doxa ‘ , which is formed through a combination of mute norms and beliefs that are ‘taken-for-granted premises or “ common sense ” behind the differentiations we make ‘ ( Powercube, 2012 ) , which in this instance is the portraiture of how adult females are expected to act. These features that Tamil adult females need to lay eyes on are portion of an unexpressed behavior that is reinforced through the dance ‘s motions and storytelling, invariably reminding the Tamil population, and adult females in peculiar, what their function in society is. As writer Ann R. David explains, ‘for the Tamil in-between category, Bharatanatyam promises reputability and a traditional muliebrity and is, hence, a prized bearer of tradition ‘ ( David, 2009 ) . As a consequence, pureness of Tamil tradition, their rites and faith, their linguistic communication and their societal behavior ( such as the importance of adult females ‘s celibacy in the Tamil civilisation ) is upheld well through Bharatanatyam – it is considered an influential tool used to craft societal position and behavior, unifying Tamil cultural individuality across the universe.

However, first-generation Tamil immigrants, and particularly Tamil Hindu groups, are concerned that the external force per unit areas of the West may overpower the younger coevalss and do them to lose sight of their national individuality as Tamilians. In order to continue this sense of cultural individuality, several schools have been built abroad to promote and indulge the young person in their Tamil civilization, guaranting that their roots are non forgotten. These categories would, harmonizing to Ann R. David, ‘allow the transmittal of traditional civilization and aid immigrants in keeping Tamil individuality in local diasporic scenes… where the acquisition of Tamil societal, cultural, and spiritual values does non needfully take topographic point ‘ ( David, 2009 ) . Most Sri Lankan Tamil temples and Tamil weekend categories in London are led by Tamil environmentalists who try to remain true to their cultural individuality by detering their dance students to go to international public presentations to maintain them from any ‘outside ‘ influences. In add-on, most of the course of study is written and taught in Tamil, despite the fact that the 2nd coevalss are likely to hold grown up with English as their first linguistic communication given their educational and societal context. This compulsion to guarantee that Bharatanatyam is practised and incorporated in the lives of immigrated Tamilians means that, as a consequence, the dance now bears ‘more rites and ceremonials attached to it today than it had during the period of its resurgence ‘ ( David, 2009 ) . For illustration, the offering of flowers on phase, known as pushpanjali, and the dedication of bells on the phase are common rites now that were non required antecedently in Bharatanatyam. As portion of their cultural essentialism, none of the instructors in the London Tamil temples have introduced any originative or somewhat unconventional stuff to their pupils, guaranting that the history of the dance is untouched in order to reassign a pure construct of their Tamil cultural individuality. This may be considered as what Bourdieu refers to as ‘misrecognition ‘ , similar to Marx ‘s construct of ‘false consciousness ‘ , which is the witting use of a certain group or single. In this instance, the environmentalists use Bharatanatyam to promote certain societal force per unit areas that have been accepted without oppugning – such every bit, as antecedently discussed, the function of obedient adult females in the Tamil society.

But is this force per unit area of continuing Tamil traditions through Bharatanatyam holding the contrary consequence and forcing off the younger coevalss from researching their cultural individuality? Some may reason yes, as certain instructors and practicians, largely in other states in Europe and in North America, support Tamil patriotism through alteration and development. Aided and supported by the LTTE ( Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam ) , Tamil Sri Lankan patriotism in peculiar is encouraged to germinate through more originative Bharatanatyam stage dancings. For illustration, a Bharatanatyam piece was choreographed narrating the narrative of a military adult female who sacrifices her male relations to be a portion of the Sri Lankan war. These types of narratives are unconventional compared to any of the traditional Bharatanatyam narratives which normally involve Supreme beings and their relationship with world. Another illustration would be the Akademi Centre today whose end is to ‘enlarge received aesthetic definitions of the “ traditional ” and “ classical ” through strategic Acts of the Apostless of cultural interlingual rendition and situate Indian dance on the multicultural map of Great Britain ‘ ( Meduri, 2004 ) . Therefore, this ‘modernising ‘ of Bharatanatyam and the usage of its representative symbolic motions to show modern-day concerns is traveling against the work of the preservationists. This modern-day development of Bharatanayam can be seen as making a new, more current and possibly planetary cultural individuality.

This sense of ‘global individuality ‘ seems to be turning, even in Britain, particularly amongst the 2nd coevals as they have no strong, direct ties to their fatherland. They therefore tend to see themselves more as British, British Asian or British Hindu citizens who are made up of both civilizations, yet belong strongly to neither. These immature Tamilians are portion of a ‘global young person civilization ‘ ( Saldanha, cited in David, 2009 ) which means they hold a planetary individuality, unlike their senior relations who struggle to keep their traditional cultural individuality whilst life in a different state amidst a wholly different set of values. In the late twentieth century all Indian dance signifiers were put under the label of ‘South Asiatic dance ‘ , despite the fact that South Asia obviously consists of many more states than merely India, therefore non merely making a instead obscure class for these Indian dances, but besides unifying internationalism with patriotism. The specific classical dance ‘Bharatantyam ‘ being thrown amidst legion other Indian dances and renamed as a portion of a ‘South Asiatic ‘ dance was a immense turning point as it ‘enlarged the Indian label and made seeable the diverse dance, public presentation, and theatre patterns of the Indian/Asian diaspora ‘ ( Meduri, 2004 ) . But some Bharatanatyam terpsichoreans and instructors, such as Mira Kaushik, encouraged this resettlement of Bharatanatyam dance within the broader class of South Asiatic dance. Kaushik claimed that ‘although Indian dance might look Indian, it is South Asiatic dance in the United Kingdom because it is performed non merely by immigrant terpsichoreans from India but by “ 100s of South Asiatic terpsichoreans ” belonging to the different states of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, and Africa ‘ ( Meduri, 2004 ) . One may reason that Kaushik challenges the thought that Bharatanatyam is specially ‘reserved ‘ for Tamilians as their beginning of cultural individuality ; she brings a whole new construct to Bharatanatyam by proposing that it can appeal, be understood and performed by many other nationalities. This reform therefore alters and reshapes the cardinal tool – Bharatanatyam – that traditionally promotes the estalished Tamil habitus. By reintegrating Bharatanaytam with a more futuristic and modern-day facet, it challenges the civilization ‘s original habitus and its centuries of undisputed imposts.

Therefore Bharatnatyam may really be seen as a beginning of creativeness and as a accelerator for a new planetary individuality, instead than a beginning of tradition and saving of a strictly Tamil individuality. Bharatnayam has been adopted and reworked since the really beginning of the 1900s by the West, particularly in the United States to get down with. For illustration, in 1906 Ruth St. Denis, the co-founder of the dance company ‘Denishawn ‘ , was enormously inspired by South Asiatic dance and she immersed herself in Indian Hagiographas and civilization. She used these resources to later on choreograph dance pieces, such as ‘Incense ‘ , ‘The Legend of the Peacock ‘ , ‘Radha ‘ and further on group productions such as ‘The Flute of Krishna ‘ in the 1920s. Another distinguishable dance innovator, La Meri, even created a rendering of ‘Swan Lake ‘ through Bharatanatyam vocabulary. Particularly since the 1930s, Bharatnayam has opened up, as work forces now feel comfy to construe feminine functions, whilst besides many terpsichoreans from outside of the Tamil nationality have began practising Bharatanatyam, even to a professional degree.

But does this globalization of Bharatanatyam needfully affect the saving and the influence it has on the Tamil population and their cultural individuality? Rather on the contrary, although Bharatantyam has been progressively globalised since the early 1900s, the dance itself to this twenty-four hours remains associated with tradition and symbolism. Both in local Indian communities and abroad, Bharatanatyam is an art that globally and continually promotes the habitus of the Tamil community and its values: whether a non-Tamilian dances it, whether a modern-day narrative is being told or whether a adult male dances a adult female ‘s character – the motion vocabulary and the constructs behind the dance remains the same – for illustration, even the reading of ‘Swan Lake ‘ by Le Meri through Bharatanaym basically needs to utilize the dance ‘s symbolized codifications to state the narrative. Bharatanatyam is based elaborately on traditional significances, and hence whatever context it may be placed in, it will remain true to its Tamil beginning. Particularly in states such as Britain and Indonesia where the Tamil population is important, Bharatanatyam remains a cardinal tract to non merely place themselves with their distant Tamil imposts and embody their civilization ‘s habitus, but to distribute it worldwide.

Word count: 2,005

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