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Dancing and listening : Odissi across cultures

Gardner, Sally 2006, Dancing and listening : Odissi across cultures, Monash University, [Melbourne, Vic.], pp. 7-8.

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Title Dancing and listening : Odissi across cultures
Author(s) Gardner, SallyORCID iD for Gardner, Sally orcid.org/0000-0003-4290-2494
Conference name Globalisation and postcolonial writing : an Australia-India exchange
Conference location Kolkata, India
Conference dates 7-9 Feb.2006
Publication date 2006
Start page 7
End page 8
Publisher Monash University
Place of publication [Melbourne, Vic.]
Summary I want to take the opportunity afforded by this conference on post-colonial writing to reflect upon the oral aspects of the transmission of knowledge in a research interview.I want to view the interview as a singular event of narration. I want to use the theme or 'content' of my interview with a young Bengali-Australian dancer to draw attention tothe interview 'form'. The interview occurred because of my interest in how this dancer had come to learn Odissi dance, how knowledge of Odissi had passed to her. In retrospect, I am trying to see myself as someone to whom, through the face-to-face interview, knowledge was 'passed' orally, not textually. I am trying to think about it in terms of some of the principles of orality discussed by Walter Ong (1982), and through the concept of 'enunciation' which foregrounds not the content of a statement but the 'position of the speaking subject in the statement.'

Dance is an oral culture. It is a set of practices transmitted from body to body. You cannot learn dancing from a book. The western researcher however learns a lot about dance of other cultures from books and articles. From my own reading I have been alerted to, and become conversant with, many of the complex negotiations of gendered, historical, national, class and aesthetic meanings at work in Classical Indian Dance practices.

I learned something of the limits of literacy, however, through the experience of interviewing Sunita (not her real name) about her learning and background in Odissi dance. She has had Odissi knowledge passed on to her in a quasi-traditional guru-sisya relationship. Her authority is in her dancing - she now embodies Odissi dance in her person - and her experience is in the oral modes of transmitting dancing knowledge. Through her telling me, through remembering out loud she was reenacting or rehearsing the 'orality' of her dance knowledge.

In my conversation with Sunita, then, wasn't it a question not of what she might say about Odissi, of what discourses she might deploy, but of what she as the subject of her own enunciations might say to me? It was also a question of how I might have listened to her and what I was able to hear.
Notes Presented on Wednesday 8th February 2006 between 11:30am and 1pm.
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Language eng
Field of Research 190402 Creative Writing (incl Playwriting)
HERDC Research category E3 Extract of paper
Copyright notice ©2006, Monash University, School of English
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30018403

Document type: Conference Paper
Collections: School of Communication and Creative Arts
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Unless expressly stated otherwise, the copyright for items in DRO is owned by the author, with all rights reserved.

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.