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Title: Akram Khan re-writes ‘Radha’: The ‘hypervisible’ cultural identity in Kylie Minogue’s ‘Showgirl’
Authors: Mitra, R
Keywords: Dance and culture;Liveness;American modern dance;Orientalism;Popular culture
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Citation: Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, 19(1), 23 - 34, 2009
Abstract: This paper attempts to analyze the British Asian dancer/choreographer Akram Khan's choreography of Samsara for Kylie Minogue's “homecoming” version of the 2006 Showgirl tour as an intellectual commentary on the 1906 American modern dance piece Radha by Ruth St Denis. On the surface Khan's choreography can be seen to reiterate some of the same Orientalist tropes that St Denis was accused of, within a popular “low”-culture context. Acknowledging this trope I scrutinize Khan's key choreographic strategies that challenge the potentially feminist reading of St Denis’ Radha by successfully reinstating the marriage plot within his choreography. More significantly, he makes “hypervisible,” the source culture of Kathak and the body of authority (himself) in the cultural exchange that shapes this choreographic project. Through an analysis of Khan's choreographic endeavor and a reevaluation of the power play between male and female bodies in the space, I wish to extrapolate Khan's intellectual vision within Samsara as an expression and assertion of the place of diasporic identity and cultural exchange within Western popular culture. I frame my paper within the preexistent frameworks from scholars like Sally Banes, Priya Srinivasan, Edward Said, Kobena Mercer, Rustom Bharucha and Philip Auslander.
Description: This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, 19(1), 23 - 34, 2009 [copyright Taylor & Francis], available online at:
ISSN: 1748-5819
Appears in Collections:Theatre
Dept of Arts and Humanities Research Papers

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