The Language of Gesture in South Indian Performance

11/07/2017 - 3:00pm to 6:00pm
Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society

All major South Indian performance genres depend largely on expressive gestures--stylized movements of hands, arms, feet, and face (especially eyes). In the classical theater of Kudiyattam, almost every word sung or spoken is presented or enacted as gesture. Carnatic music (the classical music of South India) is unthinkable, and perhaps close to inaudible, without the dramatic movements of the singer's hands and arms, often of the entire body. Live recitation of classical poetic texts, in ritual or secular contexts, is also regularly accompanied by gestures. Indeed, it is likely that the corporeal gesture precedes and in some sense shapes such verbal and musical expressions. This workshop, following the Kudiyattam performance of the Nepathya troupe at the Logan Center on November 6, will explore this world of gesture, abhinaya, in several art forms.

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