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When Men DanceChoreographing Masculinities Across Borders$
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Jennifer Fisher and Anthony Shay

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195386691

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195386691.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 November 2021

From Gynemimesis to Hypermasculinity

From Gynemimesis to Hypermasculinity

The Shifting Orientations of Male Performers of South Indian Court Dance

(p.378) 12 From Gynemimesis to Hypermasculinity
When Men Dance

Hari Krishnan

Oxford University Press

Although the history of the South Indian classical form bharata natyam is most often associated with female performers called devadasis, Hari Krishnan shows that men were also involved, not only as teachers but also as performers. He describes and analyzes the shifting gender expectations and roles of male dancers of South Indian court dance, especially as they relate to colonial modernity and Indian nationalism. Under British rule, the Asian male was categorized as “effeminate,” a perception perhaps enhanced by the practice of gynemimesis (female impersonation) by 19th‐century male dancers of sadir kaceri, the form that was reinvented as bharata natyam. Krishnan demonstrates that an important aspect of reinventing bharata natyam was not only to make it suitable for upper‐class women to perform but to invent a new, hypermasculine style for male performers to allay any anxiety over Indian masculinity.

Keywords:   bharata natyam, devadasis, South Indian classical dance, gynemimesis, sadir kaceri, hypermasculine, Indian masculinity

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