The Music, Language, and Culture Workshop

April 30 – Margaret Walker at EthNoise!

Please join us on Thursday, April 30 for a workshop co-sponsored by SASI (South Asian Sound Initiatives): Margaret Walker will give a talk entitled “From Salaam to Pranaam: The Sanskritization of North Indian Dance.” Please find an abstract below.

In preparation for the discussion, Margaret encourages us to read in advance her recent chapter in The Oxford Handbook of Musical Revival. (Please check your email for the password and link or email

As always, we will meet from 4:30-6pm in Goodspeed 205. Our workshop is open to the public and all are welcome.


From Salaam to Pranaam: The Sanskritization of North Indian Dance

There is an unquestioned and widely disseminated understanding about the performing arts of India. Ancient, devotional, sacred, they have, in spite of various foreign influences, global dispersion, and individual creativity, remained faithful to their roots in Hindu ritual. Recent research in a number of classical dances tells a different story, however, showing this accepted history to be a creation of the 20th-century national revival, when music and dance were gentrified and Sanskritized so they could be detached from their roots in the 18th and 19th-centuries and accepted by the rising middle class as national treasures. My research has specifically focused on investigating this type of revisionist history in the dance genre now called kathak, the classical dance of North India. While the reading I’ve suggested covers the larger socio-historical context of the revival, my presentation will focus further on some of the actual changes in repertoire and performance practice that took place as kathak moved into the public arena as new, ancient marker of Independent and bourgeois Indian identity.

Comments are closed.