While most of the present day dance styles in India have drawn upon visual imagery-(temple sculptures, paintings along with texts) for the recreation of their repertory, this has not been the case with regards to the tradition of dances from the Kerala, a southern state rich in ritual, folklore and movement. This talk will explore stories and rituals of embodiment in three styles of Kerala women's dance, highlighting Mohiniyattam classical dance, Thirvathirakali a women's folk/ritual dance, and Sarpum Thullal, a ritual serpent dance.
Presenter: Independent scholar Justine Lemos holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology with a focus on embodiment in South Asian dance. Her current book project is an experiential study of women's culture in Kerala, India, as it is manifest in the processes of choreography, learning, and performing classical Mohini yAttam dance. She has been the recipient of several prestigious grants and awards including Fulbright Fellowship, American Institute for Indian Studies Fellowship and a fellowship from American Association of University Women.