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Abhinavagupta on Dance and Dramatic Acting
Author:
What is Dance? What is Theatre? What is the boundary between enacting a character and narrating a story? When does movement become tinted with meaning? And when does beauty shine alone as if with no object? These universal aesthetic questions find a theoretically vibrant and historically informed set of replies in the oeuvre of the eleventh-century Kashmirian author Abhinavagupta. The present book offers the first critical edition, translation, and study of a crucial and lesser known passage of his commentary on the Nāṭyaśāstra, the seminal work of Sanskrit dramaturgy. The nature of dramatic acting and the mimetic power of dance, emotions, and beauty all play a role in Abhinavagupta’s thorough investigation of performance aesthetics, now presented to the modern reader.
In: Theatre and Its Other
In: Theatre and Its Other
In: Theatre and Its Other
In: Theatre and Its Other
Open Access
In: Theatre and Its Other
In: Theatre and Its Other
In: Theatre and Its Other

Abstract

Dance narrates with and through the body. How, why and in what way it does this diverges depending on historical, cultural and aesthetic contexts. Contemporary dance of the late 20th and early 21st century no longer tells stories in a continuous, holistic way. These stories do not pretend to summarise entire (life) histories in their entirety, says German dance scholar Gabriele Brandstetter (2005: 130). Rather, they appear fragmented, brittle or marginalised, thus corresponding to the postmodern condition according to which no one single (hi-)story exists, only countless smaller stories (cf. Lyotard 1979). Individual stories and life meanings are layered onto the dominant narrative.

To tell smaller stories of one’s life can even be considered today’s fashion: not only does the genre of autobiography currently enjoy an extraordinary status in the field of literature—it has also arrived in theatre dance, performance and choreography in the form of what might be called dancing ‘Auto-Bio-Narrations’. These ‘Auto-Bio-Narrations’—which include for example Simone Aughterlony’s We need to talk (2011), Meg Stuart / Damaged Goods’ Hunter (2014) or Wayne McGregor’s Autobiography (2017)—simultaneously show and reflect on specific aspects of current dancing (life) stories. A central part or agent of our lives is our body. But how can a body narrate a life? And what can physically and scenically be told about telling the or a (hi-)story? Analysing the aforementioned pieces by focusing on aspects of embodied (auto)biographical narration can help us gain a better general understanding of the methods, possibilities and potentials of embodied narration and of life stories in our time.

Open Access
In: Choreonarratives
Author:
Music of the Baduy People of Western Java: Singing is a Medicine by Wim van Zanten is about music and dance of the indigenous group of the Baduy, consisting of about twelve-thousand people living in western Java. It covers music for rice rituals, for circumcisions and weddings, and music for entertainment. The book includes many photographs and several discussed audio-visual examples that can be found on DOI: 10.6084/m9.figshare.c.5170520.

Baduy are suppposed to live a simple, ascetic life. However, there is a shortage of agricultural land and there are many temptations from the changing world around them. Little has been published on Baduy music and dance. Wim van Zanten’s book seeks to fill this lacuna and is based on short periods of fieldwork from 1976 to 2016.