chapter  5
21 Pages

Why I Am Committed to a Contemporary South Asian Aesthetic: Arguments about the Value of ‘Difference’ from the Perspective of Practice: Ananya Chatterjea

But the power of dancing to signify and move also raises questions about the politics of cultural production, particularly in the wake of globalization: How does the phenomenon of the global touring circuits rehearse another iteration of older projects of intercultural work? Do they, in fact, repeat the violence of racial, gendered, colonial, and other inequities that disfi gured the projects of western modernity? Do they escalate such violence through the untheorized celebration of access? Are there, in fact, any spaces where heterogeneous bodies, genres and forms can encounter each other and engage in a multi-rhythmic, multi-aesthetic choreography of ‘difference’? Specifi cally, as the phenomenon of ‘contemporary’ choreography unravels and gains popularity across South Asia, might a new kind of cultural imperative be taking hold? What happens when dance artists from South Asia are commandeered to stand in for ‘tradition’, bodies poised as the carefully arranged simulacra in the inevitable march of global modernity? I am anxious that dancing, in an unfortunate twist on the old commitment to beauty and the agenda of entertainment, often comes to be used lately to gloss over the inequities that are rampant in the global advance of capital, resulting in the attrition of difference.1