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Photo by Sadanand Menon


Omar’s research on Chandralekha’s work focused on the political content embedded in her choreography. Although trained as a traditional bharatanatyam soloist, she stopped dancing after a successful but short solo career to pursue other aesthetic and political interests. Chandralekha spent many years working as a feminist, environmentalist and social activist. Omar interpreted her recent dance works including Yantra as a highly sophisticated aesthetic form of protest. Whereas ‘upper-class’ classical dance in India saw itself as nationalistic, sacrosanct and even divine, Omar saw Chandralekha’s work as an incisive, democratizing and ultimately transforming form of historiography and activism communicated through the medium of dance.

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