By: Devi Girish Chandra  

Dance forms often use themes, myths, and histories of religion which comprises history of its discourse. This paper attempts to ‘read’ the performance of Gollakalapam and their practice as a ‘social text’. The effect of power relations: exclusion, inclusion, and marginalisation in the society which often moulded and structured the art forms. This is studied to illustrate the way these aspects construct, devise, and provide insights into the performances as ‘social texts’. It is believed to be a performance of resistance that questions caste-class hierarchies and elevates the suppressed castes as well as women. The main thrust of Gollakalapam as a social protest and satire is to serve as the voice of the muted, through which they attempt to eradicate the discrimination based on class, caste, and gender. As performance, Gollakalapam provides a space for the lower castes to raise their voice against the social discrimination. The power politics of the privileged class can be clearly perceived in the appropriation and suppression of the social frustration of the lower castes through the performance of the dance and also in its text. This paper argues that some of the major issues discussed in the text and the performance has been overruled in the name of divinity. Though the text is considered as one of the strongest literary genres under the dance scholarship that reflects the protest against the established religious beliefs, the performance would appropriate all the arguments put forth as ‘divine’.

Gollakalapam, Divinity, Power Politics, Appropriation, Performance
The Arts in Social, Political, and Community Life
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Devi Girish Chandra

Educator, Department of Kuchipudi, University of Silicon Andhra