“Committed to bridging the boundaries between disciplines,
cultures, and the knowledge(s) of the mind and body.”
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Pallabi Chakravorty teaches Kathak dance and academic courses related to the anthropology of performance in the Department of Music and Dance at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, USA. Founder and artistic director of the ensemble Courtyard Dancers, she is an anthropologist, dancer, choreographer, and cultural worker. Pallabi studied Kathak and other classical and folk dance styles in Calcutta under renowned gurus, primarily Bandana Sen. She received her doctoral degree in Visual Anthropology from Temple University, Philadelphia. Her areas of interest include South Asia, expressive culture, globalization, political economy, and embodiment. Her interdisciplinary research has been published in scholarly journals such as Dance Research Journal, Visual Anthropology, South Asia, Dance Chronicle, Sruti, Moving World, and Pulse. Her book on Kathak dance titled Bells of Change: Kathak Dance, Women, and Modernity in India was published by Seagull in 2008. She has recently co-edited two books. Performing Ecstasy: The Poetics and Politics of Religion in India has been published by Manohar (2009) and Dance Matters: Performing India has been published by Routledge (2009). Her current research focuses on dance television reality shows and Bollywood dance in the context of the “new” India. Pallabi has organized several international conferences here and in India and has edited a proceedings titled Dance in South Asia: New Approaches, Politics, and Aesthetics (published by Swarthmore, Dance Program).
Pallabi’s creative work is connected to community building through the contemporary Indian dance ensemble she founded and directs, The Courtyard Dancers (www. courtyard dancers.org). Her dance works (ranging from traditional repertoire to contemporary choreographies) explore the interdependence between art, life and labor. Her artistic works have been presented in prominent venues such as Philadelphia Museum of Art, PS 122 in New York, National Geographic Society in Washington D.C, Painted Bride in Philadelphia, and others.