PANEL DISCUSSION ON GENDERED CULTURES IN CLASSICAL INDIAN DANCE

Co-concieved and moderated by Gita Chaddha

In the last one year, the #MeToo movement has flooded our worlds. The methods and means of the movement have been questioned at several levels by critics from within and outside the women’s movement. Yet, #MeToo has become a platform for sharing experiential accounts of sexual harassment that uncover the misogynistic cultures that we live in. It has become a moment of reckoning for several of us, a way of holding up mirrors to ourselves.

The Panel Discussion organised by the beej garage and moderated by Gita Chadha on Gendered Cultures in Classical Indian Dance: Responding to the #Metoo Movement is an attempt to initiate and carry forth conversations on the gendered nature of the form and content, of the performative space and of the pedagogy of classical dance. Sneha Gole, feminist scholar, looks at the histories of the dance forms and critically examines them from caste and class locations. Sanjukta Wagh, kathak dancer, shares her experiences and critical reflections on the performative space, the gendered body and its relationships to sexual harassment. Parul Shah, dance academic, dwells on how the secularisation and democratisation of these forms as they travel into university spaces reproduce the traditional pedagogies and practices. Savitri Medhatul, documentary filmmaker, critically looks at the domain of classical dance from the space of non-classical forms of dance, thus dismantling these binaries.

Most importantly, through this exercise we hope to provide narrative evidence of sexual harassment and articulate the misogyny that pervades the world of classical dance.

Review in Mumbai Mirror