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Illicit Worlds of Indian Dance
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Illicit Worlds of Indian Dance: Cultures of Exclusion

Anna Morcom


Until the 1930s no woman could perform in public and retain respectability in India. Professional female performers were courtesans and dancing girls who lived beyond the confines of marriage, but were often powerful figures in social and cultural life. Women’s roles were often also taken by boys and men, some of whom were simply female impersonators, others transgender. Since the late nineteenth century the status, livelihood and identity of these performers have all diminished, with the result that many of them have become involved in sexual transactions and sexualised performances. Meanwhil ... More

Keywords: performing arts, status, courtesans, gender, exclusion

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199343539
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2014 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199343539.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Anna Morcom, author
Royal Holloway Univeristy, London