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Between Fame and Shame: Performing Women—Women Performers in India (review)

Between Fame and Shame: Performing Women—Women Performers in India (review) ity" (p. 75) and practiced by Hindu and Muslim women who incorporated North and South Indian styles as well as Western music, acrobatics, and stunts into their performances. Devadasis have long been objects of both fascination and fetishization by academics and nonacademics within India and outside, and Soneji relates their stories, often in their own words, with compassion as well as great respect and appreciation for their artistic achievements. He recognizes the importance of those achievements to their identities as performers and as women. They are objects of nostalgia and romanticization by the middle class, but their realities are much more ambiguous. He explores moral and religious discourses and arguments for and against abolition, but convincingly argues that these strategies were primarily used to mask economic and moral concerns. Many salon (or "nautch") dancers in South India were never dedicated or part of temple communities, so this refocusing of the devadasi narrative on secular dance and economics is both innovative and imperative. This is a landmark book that dispels myths and misnomers, adding the voices of real devadasi women who lived through the reform and revival period to the conversation. And Soneji not only listens to what they http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Asian Theatre Journal University of Hawai'I Press

Between Fame and Shame: Performing Women—Women Performers in India (review)

Asian Theatre Journal , Volume 30 (1) – Jun 6, 2013

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © The University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-2109
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Abstract

ity" (p. 75) and practiced by Hindu and Muslim women who incorporated North and South Indian styles as well as Western music, acrobatics, and stunts into their performances. Devadasis have long been objects of both fascination and fetishization by academics and nonacademics within India and outside, and Soneji relates their stories, often in their own words, with compassion as well as great respect and appreciation for their artistic achievements. He recognizes the importance of those achievements to their identities as performers and as women. They are objects of nostalgia and romanticization by the middle class, but their realities are much more ambiguous. He explores moral and religious discourses and arguments for and against abolition, but convincingly argues that these strategies were primarily used to mask economic and moral concerns. Many salon (or "nautch") dancers in South India were never dedicated or part of temple communities, so this refocusing of the devadasi narrative on secular dance and economics is both innovative and imperative. This is a landmark book that dispels myths and misnomers, adding the voices of real devadasi women who lived through the reform and revival period to the conversation. And Soneji not only listens to what they

Journal

Asian Theatre JournalUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jun 6, 2013

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