ALMOST a decade ago, I saw something extraordinary at an academic conference. The presenter, Katherine Zubko, who is also the respondent for this group of essays, stepped from behind her podium and demonstrated a series of dance postures to illustrate how Christian dancers have quite literally incorporated a mantra from Hindu scripture into their own devotion.1 Something similar happened again, at an annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, only this time the dancer was on a stage in full performance apparel for a recital. The performer, Francis Barboza, has spent his career innovating Christian-themed dance numbers in the classical Indian dance form Bharata Natyam.2 As Zubko’s book, Dancing Bodies of Devotion, brilliantly illustrates, this dance form has become an important site for interreligious encounter.3 Such performances not only illustrate the dialogue between religions; they also embody it. And in making this dialogue palpable to an audience, they absorb receptive audience members into the site of the exchange.
Roberts, Michelle Voss
"Aesthetics in Hindu-Christian Studies:
A Theological Framework,"
Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies:
Vol. 28, Article 3.
Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.7825/2164-6279.1602