By Priya Srinivasan
A groundbreaking publication that seeks to appreciate dance as hard work, Sweating Saris examines dancers not only as aesthetic our bodies yet as transnational migrant staff and salary earners who negotiate citizenship and gender matters.
Srinivasan merges ethnography, historical past, serious race conception, functionality and post-colonial reviews between different disciplines to enquire the embodied event of Indian dance. The dancers’ sweat stained and soaked saris, the aching limbs are emblematic of world circulations of work, our bodies, capital, and commercial items. therefore the sweating sari of the dancer stands in for her unrecognized labor.
Srinivasan shifts clear of the standard emphasis on Indian ladies dancers as tradition bearers of the Indian state. She asks us to reframe the activities of overdue 19th century transnational Nautch Indian dancers to the foremother of contemporary dance Ruth St. Denis within the early 20th century to modern teenage dancers in Southern California, offering a transformative idea of dance, gendered-labor, and citizenship that's far-reaching.
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Extra info for Sweating Saris: Indian Dance As Transnational Labor
141). I pursue these real-life tensions by narrating experiences from the dancer’s point of view—a perspective that changes dramatically from era to era. At the center of my research and writing is the interdisciplinary approach of performance ethnography. Despite the epistemological and philosophical critiques of its anthropological methods, performance ethnography is used as a methodology because of its engagement with material bodies and bodily experience. As a researcher, I put my body on the line while training with and otherwise engaging other dancers.
But that week her body learned to walk with grace, and she began to use her mudras in nuanced ways. Like other dancers who reach this stage, she realized the open-handed mudra, the alapadma, can be an elegant lotus flower one minute and the next it can be the bright sun, the roundness of a face, a beautiful body, the ripples on a river; it can describe birth, express ecstasy, and even show enlightenment. But the mudra means nothing without the emotions on the face and the bodily gestures to give it texture and context.
I felt good about myself when I danced. I felt strong, beautiful, and powerful. I could become anything I wanted for a few hours in class. Of course, the characters I could take on were always within the realm of Hindu mythology, and I respected the limits of the form. I could not for example become Jay-Z the rapper, a taxicab driver, a worker in a garment factory, an engineer, or an academic. But I could become Kali, the powerful black goddess with a large red tongue, who is the embodiment of life, death, and time itself, or Durga, the tiger-riding, demon-killing goddess with her long hair waving in the wind.