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Louise Lightfoot : in search of India

Sarwal, Amit 2014, Louise Lightfoot : in search of India, in ASAA 2014 : Asiascapes: contesting borders : Proceedings of the Asian Studies Association of Australia 2014 biennial conference, ASAA, Perth W. A..

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Title Louise Lightfoot : in search of India
Alternative title Louise Lightfoot : in search of India : an Australian dancer's experiences
Author(s) Sarwal, Amit
Conference name Asian Studies Association of Australia. Biennial Conference (20th : 2014 : Perth, W. A.)
Conference location Perth, W. A.
Conference dates 8 - 10 Jul. 2014
Title of proceedings ASAA 2014 : Asiascapes: contesting borders : Proceedings of the Asian Studies Association of Australia 2014 biennial conference
Editor(s) Sen, Krishna
Publication date 2014
Conference series Asian Studies Association of Australia Biennial Conference
Publisher ASAA
Place of publication Perth W. A.
Keyword(s) Louise Lightfoot
Ballet
India
Kathakali
Shivaram
Priyagopal
Ibetombi
Summary  Louise Lightfoot, a trained architect by profession and an ardent balletomane, is best known for moving away from pure Western classical Ballet to a fusion of classical technique and romantic emotion in Australia through her First Australian Ballet group and school. During late 1920s, she was impressed by the performances of Anna Pavlova and Uday Shankar and to bring more appropriateness and authenticity to her own Indian classical dance style that she was trying to experiment with, virtually unknown and unseen in Australia till then in its original form, Lightfoot took a few weeks stopover in India. This short holiday eventually stretched to months and then eight years as she travelled to Tamil Nadu and Kerala’s Kalamandalam, where she began her study of the complex traditions of Kathakali and Bharata Natyam dance. Here she also became a Stage Manager cum Artistic and Publicity director for local troupes and artistes in residence. She was so thrilled by the whole experience of learning Kathakali – involving poetry, song, acting and dance – that soon she started appealing to the British in India to not only appreciate the Indian dance but also to Indian parents to allow their sons and daughters to dance. Lightfoot, as Dance Director of Shivaram, Janaki Devi, Priyagopal Singh and Lakshman Singh, supported by an ensemble of Australian dancers including Ruth Bergner, Moya Beaver, Leona Welch, Pat Martin and Betty Russell, successfully toured and promoted a range of Indian classical dance forms, like Kathakali, Manipuri, Bharatanatyam, throughout Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. As an early image-maker, she also paved the way for many other noted Indian dancers and troupes. In spite of decades of hard work and dedication to Indian dancing and creating awareness about India in Australia her work and life is little known! Her journey is fascinating because of the workings of race relations not just in Australia but also India – existing prejudices against “Whites.” In this paper I try to chart out through Australian and Indian newspaper reports her search for India.
Language eng
Field of Research 190403 Dance
200209 Multicultural, Intercultural and Cross-cultural Studies
200211 Postcolonial Studies
Socio Economic Objective 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
HERDC Research category E3 Extract of paper
Copyright notice ©2014, Asian Studies Association of Australia
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30065356

Document type: Conference Paper
Collections: Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation
Open Access Collection
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Created: Mon, 11 Aug 2014, 13:30:25 EST by Amit Sarwal

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.