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  • Author or Editor: Sara Azzarelli x
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Gender dynamics play an essential role within the Indian classic dance Bharatanatyam. In the narrative component of this choreutic form, the Abhinaya, dancers are demanded to enact both male and female roles, using codified series of bodily attitudes and gestures. These acts of impersonation can sometimes become a mean for them to go beyond their “actual” gender and explore different attitudes and feelings. My research investigates what this process could mean for those social actors who place themselves out of the mainstream dichotomy male man/female woman. Assuming the Constructivist and anti-Essentialist perspective, according to which gender and sexuality are not naturally fixed qualities, but changeable and unstable cultural constructs, I attempt to explore the place Abhinaya could have in this process of self-shaping for homosexual, bisexual and transgender dancers. This essay, basing on the ethnographic fieldwork I conducted during summer 2013 in Chennai (Tamil Nadu, India) with a LGBT group of dancers, explores individual modalities of crossing gender boundaries through Bharatanatyam.

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