The Natyasastra and the body in performance: essays on Indian theories of dance and drama

Nair, Sreenath (2015) The Natyasastra and the body in performance: essays on Indian theories of dance and drama. McFarland, Jefferson, North Carolina, USA. ISBN 9780786471782

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Abstract

The Natyasastra is a deep repository for Indian Performance studies. Attributed to Sage Bharatha, the authorship of the text is, arguably, dated back between BC 200 and AD 200. Written in Sanskrit, the text contains 6000 verse stanzas integrated in 36 Chapters discussing a wide range of issues in theatre arts including dramatic composition; construction of the playhouse; detailed analysis of the musical scales; body movements; various types of acting; directing; division of stage space; costumes; make-up; properties and musical instruments and so on. The aesthetic theory of rasa is central to the Natyasastra. The term is widely used in recent debates in aesthetics, philosophy, neuroscience and performance practice as a performative mode generating multiple layers of meaning and artistic experience. In the past several decades, in the theatre scholarship and practice in the West, we see the influence of the Natyasastra and rasa theory formulating several important intercultural theories and training methods. I must emphasise at this point that the anthology as a whole is an attempt to bring out the contemporary relevance of what the Natyasastra stands for and how this cultural specific ‘code of practice’ is equally flexible for redefinitions and reinterpretations for the demands and sake of aesthetic theories and artistic practice in recent times. The Natyasastra is millennia old, but the application of its discourse is ‘universal’ in many ways. According to Kapila Vatsyayan, the Natyasastra “in its very nature is a residual record (Shastra) of a deeper richer experience and wider oral discourse [of theatre practice which]… has an inbuilt fluidity that gives scope for multiple interpretations” (2008:77) and understanding of a specific cultural discourse on bodily practice.

Keywords:Natyasastra, Performance Studies, Neuroscience
Subjects:T Eastern, Asiatic, African, American and Australasian Languages, Literature and related subjects > T300 South Asian studies
W Creative Arts and Design > W510 Choreography
W Creative Arts and Design > W410 Acting
W Creative Arts and Design > W400 Drama
W Creative Arts and Design > W500 Dance
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
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Relation typeTarget identifier
http://purl.org/dc/terms/hasParthttp://eprints.lincoln.ac.uk/6217/
http://purl.org/dc/terms/hasParthttp://eprints.lincoln.ac.uk/16489/
http://purl.org/dc/terms/hasParthttp://eprints.lincoln.ac.uk/7370/
ID Code:6218
Deposited On:06 Feb 2013 13:30

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