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Theorizing the LocalMusic, Practice, and Experience in South Asia and Beyond$
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Richard Wolf

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195331370

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195331370.001.0001

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Women and Kandyan Dance

Women and Kandyan Dance

Negotiating Gender and Tradition in Sri Lanka

(p.29) Chapter 2 Women and Kandyan Dance
Theorizing the Local

Susan A. Reed

Oxford University Press

Women and girl dancers are ubiquitous in Sri Lanka, performing in a variety of sites, from school concerts and government ceremonials to religious processions and Buddhist temples. This chapter examines how the ideal of Sinhala feminine respectability, which emphasizes modesty and domesticity, has shaped women's Kandyan dance practices. Because Kandyan dance derives from the Kohomba kankariya, an all-male religious ritual, dancers and choreographers have been challenged to feminize the dance while retaining its aesthetic integrity. In the process, transmission practices and the aesthetic concepts of lasya and tandava, employed throughout South Asia, have been altered and redefined. The chapter concludes by exploring new directions in women and girls' dancing, such as the sexualization of dance, and the use of dance for fitness and the marriage market.

Keywords:   Kandyan, dance, women, lasya, tandava, Sri Lanka, Sinhala, kankariya

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