Paper on the background of the cultural dance in India

Essay by mirandalynne93College, UndergraduateA, November 2012

download word file, 13 pages 0.0

Indian Dance

In considering the topic of dance, three terms comes to mind: culture, gender, and, of course, dance. Therefore before one can explore and discuss the idea and expression of and through dancing, one must first define these terms. Culture, when approached not from a class-based view which presupposes that only those members of the educated élite but rather from an anthropological mindset, encompasses, as Polhemus states, "everything which the members of a social group […] have in common - everything which they share and which contributes to and generates their sense of 'we-ness'" (quoted in Thomas). Aside from the obvious importance of verbal language which some attribute as the cornerstone or totality of a culture (a view shared particularly by North America), there also exists the great significance of social and artistic expression within a particular culture. This expression can come from personal appearance such as the clothes worn by a people, hairstyles, and body modifications, music, paintings, drawings, or sculptures, and dancing.

Many cultures use dance both as a type of physical culture where they might use it in religious celebrations, special rituals, social gatherings, educational purposes, or as a form of expressing talent, and as a non-verbal communicative system. For example, many dances serve the purpose of telling a story.

The next term, gender, is a basal and insurmountable existential bisection "which must inevitably define cultural experience and the perception of reality" (quoted in Thomas). Since culture ultimately exists in the mind's eye of particular individuals, all cultures must be multiplied by two: the male culture and female culture. Due to this fact, one is then forced to modify his or her understanding of the associations between culture and dance. Even though I previously stated that culture embodies everything which members of a given society share...