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Presentation Description:

Since the beginnings of British South Asian dance in the 1990s, South Asian choreographers have looked to India to fill a gap in the British dance labor market. Drawing on fieldwork in London and Bangalore, this performative lecture examines the intimate lives and experiences of some of these migrant Indian dancers and the way in which they have been mobilized by global political and economic processes. Bodies, however, do not flow as easily as goods and capital. Neoliberal economic ideologies of free trade and the free movement of labor are in tension with anti-immigrant agendas and increasingly narrow notions of British citizenship, particularly since the terrorist attacks in London in 2005. Simultaneously mobilized and blocked, migrant Indian dancers reveal the contradictions of global capitalism as well as the new imaginative practices and new transnational subjectivities that are emerging at these sites of friction. Through dancerly tactics – de-centering, re-routing, stretching – they navigate uncertain economic times and increasingly precarious and temporary work regimes, negotiate personal relationships and family obligations, secure financial independence, and sustain dynamic careers. In doing so, they have found ways to circulate within a racialized and uneven global political economy that seeks to restrict and regulate their movements at every step.

Presenter Biography:

 Anusha Kedhar is an Assistant Professor of Dance at Colorado College. Her current book project, titledFlexible Bodies: British South Asian Dancers in an Age of Neoliberal Precarity, examines British South Asian dancers in the late 20th and early 21st century and the creative ways in which these dancers negotiate precarious racial, economic, and national identity positions through flexible bodily tactics. Her scholarly writing has been published by Dance Research JournalThe Feminist Wire, and The New York Times. Kedhar is also an established artist and choreographer, and has worked with various contemporary South Asian choreographers in the US and Europe, including Subathra Subramaniam (London), Mayuri Boonham (London), Mavin Khoo (London/Malta), Johanna Devi (Berlin), Cynthia Ling Lee (Los Angeles), and Meena Murugesan (Los Angeles).