Solidarity - rasa/autobiography - abhinaya: South Asian tactics for performing queerness

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Cynthia Ling Lee, Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: This article examines the work of D'Lo, a Sri Lankan-transgender-hip hop performance artist, and the Post Natyam Collective, a transnational coalition that develops critical and creative approaches to South Asian dance. The works utilize two strategies for performing queerness in relation to South Asian cultural practices: (1) autobiographic performance art rooted in identity politics and (2) the South Asian technique of abhinaya. These strategies use different modes of identification and audience-performer relationships. Autobiographical solo performance creates solidarity through shared identity or alliances between performer and audience. Abhinaya evokes pleasure and sensuality in multiple, ambiguous ways towards the goal of evoking rasa, ideally the audience's experience of emotional-spiritual transcendence. We investigate tactical crossovers between the strategies of autobiography and abhinaya in D'Lo's and Post Natyam's work: how do they interact, where might they exclude each other, and what kind of performance of queerness emerges through their interplay?

Additional Information

Studies in South Asian Film and Media, 4(2), 131-142
Language: English
Date: 2012
South Asian, autobiography, performance, queer, rasaabhinaya

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