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Embodying the Feminine in the Dances of the World’s Religions


Angela M. Yarber

Dances that embody the «feminine» teach the dancer and the observers inside and outside the faith tradition about women’s experiences, expressions, and understandings within their respective faith traditions. In Embodying the Feminine in the Dances of the World’s Religions, the author immerses herself in four dance traditions and explores what their dance teaches about women’s experiences in their faith tradition. Bharatanatyam is a classical Indian dance stemming from the devadasi system; kabuki onnagata are Japanese male enactors of «female-likeness»; the Mevlevi Order of America allows women to train as «whirling dervishes»; and Gurit Kadman created folk dances for Jewish women and men.


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Acknowledgments xi


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS or me, writing a book truly takes a village. For this reason, there are many people I must thank. Primarily, I owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to the dissertation committee who helped start this book, each of whom has gone above and beyond the call of duty in advising and mentoring me throughout my academic career. Foremost, is Dr. Ronald Nakasone, who took a chance in working with a dancing Baptist feminist. Thank you for fusing East and West in your approach to teaching, for helping me become a better scholar and person, and for living what it means to engage in interfaith dialogue. I am also profoundly grateful for Dr. Andrea Bieler who also took a chance by working with someone outside of her field; thank you for allowing me teach along side of you for four years and for endless encouragement and support. And I am deeply thankful for Dr. Diane Apostolos-Cappadona who provided guidance and support despite our distance and differing institutions. You have laid the groundwork for so much of this interdisciplinary field of Arts and Religion and I feel honored to have worked with you. In addition to these scholars, I must also acknowledge the founda- tional work, dedication, and inspiration of my late doctoral advisor, Dr. Doug Adams. He was the reason I began this research; Ron and Andrea are most of the reason I continued after his passing. I am grateful for the enthusiasm, support, and encouragement Doug offered me by...

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