Book Review, Illict Worlds of Indian Dance: Cultures of Exclusion

A book by Anna Morcom , Illicit Worlds of Indian Dance: Cultures of Exclusion ( purchase link) is about the inside story of Indian dance, mostly the Mujra dances. Hidden history and culture of the dance culture is mostly unknown, thanks to the lack of published literature.

mujra dancing 1

Anna Morcom starts by telling how how little we know about the dance making herself one of the cases. In addition to the female mujra dancers, she has also explored the erotic male performers in traditions across South Asia.

The book details how the classical preforming art became a form of entertainment for the upper caste middle caste people since 1930s. Bollywood opened up a vast arena for the modern dance from the 1990s. The author started by the study of Indian dance culture in Mumbai’s dance bars and end up unveiling the socio-cultural changes of the dance culture.

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