Bharatanatyam dancers often explain what they are about to perform, offering an introduction to the dance and to the particular narrative to be enacted. This kind of preperformance synopsis brings into play an English verbal framework and a South Indian choreographic one. The explanation interprets the “Eastern” choreography through the “Western” linguistic system. This spoken interlocution risks representing bharatanatyam more as a means of entry into a cultural field of reference than as a set of choreographic choices and compositional devices.

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