The art of creating a Kathakali performer's 'Presence'
Theatre, Dance and Performance Training
, p. 323-338
University of Antwerp
This paper examines Kathakali performer training practices. It looks at the craft of creating a Kathakali performer's embodied Presence' on stage. This Presence' is created by integrating the physical and emotional elements of the performer's embodied being. The paper focuses on one important element of the Kathakali aesthetic - bhava - and critiques existing literature to offer a more nuanced understanding of bhava as an embodied emotional state'. It looks at the craft of embedding bhava into the performer's body. This process is complicated by what Drew Leder in his work The Absent Body suggests as the phenomenology of the disappearing body'. The paper further highlights individual Kathakali training practices and looks to see how they negotiate the idea of the disappearing body' and by this contribute to crafting the performer's embodied Presence' on stage.