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Michelle Voss Roberts

Abstract

The use of the classical dance form bharatanatyam by Catholic Christians has inspired vigorous resistance from Hindus and Christians alike. The most salient of these objections relate to the use of power. Some see this form of ministry as a colonialist appropriation; others argue that it perpetuates caste and religious values that do not belong to the majority of Indian Christians, who are Dalits. While the Church may eventually abandon this form of ministry for such reasons, I argue that the case of Nav Sadhana Kala Kendra, a Catholic school of dance and music in Varanasi that produces dance programs on video disc and YouTube, subverts both forms of hegemony.