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Usha Iyer | Dance Musicalization: A Choreomusicological Approach to Hindi Film Dance and Music

Thursday, February 15, 2018 -
12:00pm to 1:30pm
Encina Hall West, Room 219

Free and Open to the Public 

How do dancing bodies influence the music composed for them? Does the gestural repertoire of the on-screen performer impact the musical performance of the playback singer? How might a focus on dance provide new models for theorizing the Hindi film song-and-dance sequence? Through a focus on the dancing body, this talk calls for a reconsideration of the process of “song picturization,” a term commonly used in the Bombay film industry to reference the practice of recording the song first and then “adding” visuals to it. It proposes alternate modes – including “dance musicalization” – that accord equal importance to the “sounding body” of the dancer-actor as to the bodies that produce the film’s music, leading to a conceptualization of film music as produced through a multi-bodied “choreo-musicking body.”

Usha Iyer is Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies in the Department of Art and Art History at Stanford University. Her research focuses on dance, stardom, and gender in popular Indian cinema. Her book project examines the role of dance in the construction of female stardom in Hindi cinema from the 1930s to the 1990s. Her essays have appeared in Camera Obscura, South Asian Popular Culture, and edited collections such as Movies, Moves and Music: The Sonic World of Dance Films, Figurations in Indian Film, and are forthcoming in The Blackwell Companion to Indian Cinema, and the Women Film Pioneers Project.

Dr. Iyer is an affiliate faculty of Stanford's Center for South Asia.

Event Sponsor: 
Center for South Asia, Department of Art & Art History
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