Saturday, August 27, 2011

Dance and the Nation by Susan A. Reed

Dance and the Nation
Performance, Ritual, and Politics in Sri Lanka
By Susan A. Reed
(Pub. April 2010)

Around the globe, dances that originate in village, temple, and court rituals have been adapted and transformed to carry secular meanings and serve new national purposes. In stage performances, dance competitions, and festivals worldwide, dance has become an emblem of ethnicity and an index of national identity. But what are the “backstage” stories of those dances and what have been the consequences for their communities of origin? In Dance and the Nation, Susan A. Reed brings to light the complexities of aesthetic politics in an exploration and analysis of Kandyan dance in Sri Lanka.

As the national dance of Sri Lanka, Kandyan dance is identified with the majority Sinhala ethnic group and heavily supported by the state. Derived from an elaborate village ritual performed by men of the hereditary drummer caste, the dance was adopted by the state as a symbol of traditional Sinhala culture in the post-independence period and opened to individuals of all castes. Reed’s evocative account traces the history and consequences of this transition from ritual to stage, situating the dance in relation to postcolonial nationalism and ethnic politics and emphasizing the voices and perspectives of the hereditary dancers and of women performers.

“Dance and the Nation will stand as a landmark contribution to dance ethnography and be regarded as an important text in South Asian studies as well as dance studies for many years to come.”—Sally Ann Ness, University of California, Riverside

“One would be hard-pressed to find so detailed and well theorized an ethnographic study as this on the contingent conjunction in the political economy of a nation of aesthetic form, ritual content, and political substance that raises so many ethical questions of significant import. It is, indeed, a new chapter in the anthropology of dance.”—E. Valentine Daniel, Columbia University

“Dance and the Nation is not only a significant contribution to Sri Lankan and South Asian studies but also to the literature of contemporary nationalism. The book is about ‘dancing the nation,’ that is, creating a national dance out of a purely local ritual performance. Susan Reed shows with insight and sympathy the consequences of this transformation for gender and caste identities and provides an important critical commentary on the larger processes of exclusion and inclusion in nation making.”—Gananath Obeyesekere, Princeton University

Susan A. Reed is a cultural anthropologist and director of the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender at Bucknell University.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009



Sokari is a Sri Lankan folk drama. Many local and foreign scholars use Sokari as a platform to understand Sri Lankan art and culture. However, currently Sokari is very hard to see due to the collapse of its social context. Sokari is performed by Sinhalese villagers. All that needs for Sokari is provided by villagers as a collective practice. Due to current economic and social conditions, to organize a folk drama like Sokari has become very hard for villagers.

Risikala Aesthetic institute is organizing a Sokari folk drama on 8th April 2009 with the support of the villagers. Unlike tourist oriented performances, this particular event is going to take place in the real context. Due to many reasons, we understood that the authenticity of the event is guaranteed.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Soovisi at Matale, Kalalpitiya

In this Soovisi performance, before dancers wear their normal dress (Panteru dress) they were wearing traditional ves costume. Fine Arts students from University of Peradeniya were there to do their research works under the course FNA203 Dance.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Sandakinduru and Sokari performance

Sandakinduru and Sokari performance in Kandiyapitawewa, via Balangoda, Bintenna is going to happen on the 14th and 15the of June 2007.
Sandakinduru and Sokari are two Sri Lankan traditional flok dramas.

Friday, May 11, 2007

kohomba Kankariya

Yesterday, 10th May 2007 there was a Kohomba kankariya ritual in Kandy distric of Sri Lanka.All dance events in this ritual belong to Kandyan Dance form.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sri Lankan dance

Sri Lanka has a great tradition of dance. This blog is dedicated on that.