chapter  10
20 Pages

The Altered Space: Community Dances from Everyday to the Proscenium: Debanjali Biswas and Anirban Ghosh

When a movement is performed within a community ritual, how does one grasp the comprehensibility of the ‘practice’ of

that particular mo(ve)ment. This seems a diffi cult possibility because although practice as defi ned above by Philip Zarrilli encompasses societal intersections of personal and community traditions, the movement is practised and executed within a frame which is considered ‘natural’ and temporally communicative of something which that person/community is supposed to do or say. The act may consider all the things above, but it gets subsumed within the religious/secular order of the ritual of the community and is repetitive. This framing of everyday/ seasonal/ritual/cultural acts of the community into something which is ‘performance’ and then museumizing that performance as a frozen cultural practice belonging specifi cally to that community and its history remains the mainstay of this article. In this reading of the process of transferring everyday performances to the formal space of the proscenium — the issues of patronage, expertise, marketing, packaging, and historicizing of such practices are analysed in the context of the often debated issues of identity, politics and poetics of cultural practices.