The book is a comprehensive critical history of women performers in Indian theatre and dance of the colonial and postcolonial periods. Its underlying premise is that one cannot evaluate performance in the Indian context without looking at dance and theatre together, unlike the course taken by traditional scholarship. Issues of sexuality and colonialism, and culture and society come together in this study to provide a holistic account of women performers in India.

New information and insights have been provided in the discourse by a close reading of archival materials, field surveys, and extensive interviews, which are the distinguishing features of this book. The book is divided into two sections. The first one is on the Actress, while the second is on the Danseuse in the Indian context. Although linked by the common trajectory of having been part of the same history, society, and culture, they emerge as having evolved in different ways as they encountered some common but many unique situations.

In trying to balance a historical narrative with emphasis on crucial individual topics, the book explores the theme of identity and body politics. It demands a pluralistic approach combining history, economics, cultural studies, popular culture, anthropology, ethnography, and feminist criticism. It will be a rich resource for professionals, scholars, and students specializing in performing arts, cultural studies, gender studies, and history. Archival photographs – some of which have never been published before – make this book a collector's item.

Locating a New Space and Identity: Coming of the Indian Actresses (1872–1910)

Locating a New Space and Identity: Coming of the Indian Actresses (1872–1910)

Locating a new space and identity: Coming of the Indian actresses (1872–1910)

Three actress photographs, the public in India in the late nineteenth century are familiar with are: Madame Vestris, Viola Tree1 and the Indian actress Teenkori.2 Viola Tree's (see Photograph 2.1) and Teenkori Dasi's photographs are featured in the new theatre journal Natyamandir, yet Madame Vestris does not find space in the Indian theatre journals. The English theatre, regarded as a model for the new Bengali theatre which comes up in 1871, had fashioned itself around the Madame Vestris’ genre of the popular musical traditions, particularly the burlesque. Yet she is conspicuous by her absence. Amidst a great number of photographs of English ...

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