Nacnī

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A Lady Playing the Tanpura, ca. 1735.jpg
A Lady Playing the Tanpura, ca. 1735 (Rajasthan)
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In the east-central Indian states of Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Orissa, the term nacnī (lit. "dancer" pronounced NUCH-nee) refers to female performers who sing and dance professionally in rural areas, accompanied by male ḍhulkī and nagarā drummers who move around the stage with her.[1][2] Women who perform as nacnīs are considered "kept women" and are usually paired in an informal "marriage" with a male manager and dancing partner, typically of a higher caste.[3][4] In this pairing, nacnīs are thought to embody the goddess Radha while the male dancing partner is a stand-in for Krishna. The performers are considered out-caste and in many ways transgress usual Indian caste and gender distinctions both on and off stage, taking on a certain power role among their "fans" and often engaging in "typically male" behavior, such as drinking and smoking.[5][6] This style of performance is rapidly disappearing.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Babiracki, Carol M. (2008), "Between Life History and Performance: Sundari Devi and the Art of Allusion", Ethnomusicology 52:1: 1–5 
  2. ^ Citron, Marcia J. (2005), "Women's Voices across Musical Worlds (review)", Music and Letters 86: 508–512 
  3. ^ Feldman & Gordon (2006). The courtesan's arts: cross-cultural perspectives. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 118. 
  4. ^ Babiracki, Carol M. (2008), "Between Life History and Performance: Sundari Devi and the Art of Allusion", Ethnomusicology 52:1: 3–6 
  5. ^ Soren, Ragnhild (1999), Gendered Images of Music and Musicians 
  6. ^ Babiracki, Carol M. (2008), "Between Life History and Performance: Sundari Devi and the Art of Allusion", Ethnomusicology 52:1: 5–6 
  7. ^ Feliciano, Rita (2006), "Kathak at the Crossroads: Innovation Within Tradition", Dance View Times 4:35