The Story of the Chou Dance of the Former Mayurbhanj State, Orissa

Blank, Judith

     This dissertation is about dance and the way that a dance theater occurs in the midst of its culture. I wanted to know how one particular style got to have its particular form. I hoped to learn about the way that art and culture intersect through immersing myself in one concrete instance of a local traditional art. To this end, the study focuses on the Chou dance of the former independent State of Mayurbhanj. Topics covered include the history of the region, the devotional attitude to living of Oriyan townsfolk; the former Maharaja of Mayurbhanj; the Paika army of the state; an ethnography on tribal fighters for the state; the history of Chou dance in Mayurbhanj; the subject and form of the Chou dance drama; and the relation between the dance and the worship of Shiva. The dissertation is accompanied by a film which is the only record ever made of the Mayurbhanj Chou style.

Milton B. Singer (chair), McKim Marriott, A. K. Ramanujan