From the Jacket:
The essays in this book endeavour to capture the multifaceted cultural and aesthetic legacy of Rukmini Devi preserved both in India and abroad. They are authored by a wide range of Indian and international scholars, including dance critics, dance administrators, dancers, dance teachers, bureaucrats, and alumni of the world-renowned alumni of the world-renowned Kalakshetra arts institution that Rukmini Devi founded in 1936. The authors delineate specific aspects of her public life as a Bharatnatyam dancer, Theosophist, arts educator, institution builder, teacher, producer of dance dramas, and Chairman of the Animal Welfare Board. The essays also discuss Rukmini Devi's aesthetic vision in relation to history, to tradition, to classicism, her engagement with canonical Sanskrit texts, her creation of ensemble dance-drama productions, and contemporary dance in the United Kingdom.
Rukmini Devi Arundale (1904 - 1986) was a multifaceted personality who worked for many causes, including the revival of theatre arts, crafts, literatures, animal welfare, Theosophy, and art education. She served as an Indian Parliamentarian, moved a bill for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, was Chairman of the Animal Welfare Board and received the Prani Mitra award in 1968. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, London, awarded her with the Queen Victoria Silver Medal and The World Federation for the Protection of Animals, the Hague, added her name to their Roll of Honor. Wayne State University, USA, conferred an honorary Doctorate on Rukmini Devi and the Country and City of Los Angeles presented her with Scrolls of Honor. She was also proposed as a candidate to the office of the President of India. But Rukmini Devi declined to contest the elections by reaffirming her commitment to work on behalf of Indian culture and the arts. For her multifaceted contribution to the fields of culture, education and the arts, Rukmini Devi was honoured with numerous national awards, including the Padma Bhushan (1956), Sangeet Natak Akademi (1957), Desikothama (1972), and Kalidasa Samman (1984).
About the Author:
Dr. Avanthi Meduri is a Dance and Performance Studies scholar, Trained since childhood in Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi, Dr. Meduri works in the field of dance education, women's theatre and performance. She holds a Ph.D. in Performance studies from New York University, and is the Academic and Artistic Director of the Centre for Contemporary Culture, New Delhi. As part of her Ford Foundation post doctoral fellowship in India, Meduri curated Rukmini Devi's photoarchive, creating a traveling exhibition, which she presented in New Delhi, Kolkata, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Singapore, Colombo, Kandy, London, Tokyo, and Melbourne. Meduri's book on Rukmini Devi, including a play dealing with her life as a global Indian, is forthcoming. Entitled Birds of the Banyan Tree, the play was presented in New Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai, as part of the Birth Centenary celebrations of Rukmini Devi Arundale.
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