Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-jbqgn Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-19T08:22:18.765Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

The Alchemy of Rasa in the Performer–Spectator Interaction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 November 2013


Born from its usage in the Natyasastra, rasa, as both concept and experience, is notoriously difficult to define. As an experience, rasa is generated within performance but cannot be contrived. However, the conditions for its coming into being can be prepared for by both practitioner and spectator, who generate rasa together within the performance. Rooted in a deeply specific cultural context, rasa is the Indian classical contribution to the particular area of performance studies research that seeks to explore and discuss the ineffable experience of the spectator in performance. However, the concept gains traction in the understanding of and engagement with its cultural specificity, and therefore serves as a poignant example of how cultural specificity is a way through cultural barriers in performance. Scheherazaad Cooper has recently completed her PhD in practice-as-research at Goldsmiths, University of London, focusing on the contemporary Odissi Indian classical dance practitioner's cultivation of access points in performance. This article is developed from the research undertaken for her doctoral thesis, inspired and informed by Maria Shevtsova's work in the sociology of theatre and performance.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)