Two: Contemporary Entry Points 11
2 CONTEMPORARY ENTRY POINTS: FORMAL ANALYSIS OF FOUR DANCES THAT EMBODY THE FEMININE s a way of entering into the discussion of how particular dances can embody the feminine within four cultural and faith traditions, we begin with a formal analysis of four different dance experiences. Rather than beginning with historical origins, ideological underpinnings, or critical analysis, starting with actual events and the dances of real people makes understanding the dances more accessible. To this end, I offer a traditional formal analysis of Bharatanatyam, the kabuki onnagata, whirling dervishes, and Israeli folk dance. While the same methods are employed for every analysis, each dance is unique because of its tradition, location, and the particular people dancing the dances. First, there is a description of a performance by one Indian woman dancing at a Theological Aesthetics Conference at a Jesuit chapel in Berkeley, California. Far from an ancient Indian Hindu temple, the dancer brings Bharatanatyam across cultural and religious boundaries in 2008. And the kabuki onnagata, Nakamura Kyozo embodies the Sagi Musume (The Heron Maiden) dance at San Francisco State University’s hosting of “Backstage to Hanamichi: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Color, Magic and Drama of Kabuki.” This performance, lecture, and demonstration offered the Western and primarily non-Japanese audience a glimpse into the inner work- ings of kabuki. The analysis of the whirling dervishes occurs, not in a Turkish tekke, but at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, Califor- A Embodying the Feminine in the Dances of the World’s...
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