Wesleyan University Press has recently published two important works on the dance form Bharata Natyam that use ethnography along with other methodologies to make critical interventions in the field of dance studies. The history of this South Indian classical dance form has been much discussed in scholarship that considers its religious roots, its embattled legal status, its role in Indian nation building, its shift from a hereditary community of female dancers to a middle-class Brahmin one, and the changes in repertoire and movement practice that went along with that reform movement. Hari Krishnan and Ahalya Satkunaratnam build on this substantial body of work in two previously understudied directions: the role of popular Tamil film in the creation of the modern dance and the signification of Bharata Natyam as a simultaneously national, global, and ethnically marked dance in Colombo, Sri Lanka. While there is overlap in the background history presented in...

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