Sunday, 27 November 2016

Social Status of Lavani Dancers

Lavani has been performed traditionally by the lower caste women, namely Mahar, Matang and Kolhati. Lavani received royal patronage during the seventeenth century Peshwa rule. Though the women performed  in royal courts, The stigmatization of being courtesan never left them.

Lavani began as an expression of women's sexuality and their innermost thoughts,feelings and desires, but quickly became the basis for their mrginalization by the society. It became a tool for controlling the sexuality of the lower caste women, and created a vicious cycle for the performers.For example the women from the Kolhati community had to perform lavani through generations as they were viewed stigmatically by the society as courtesans and no more accepted in to any other profession.

by the turn of the twentieth century, the lavani dancers were earning their livelihood by performing raunchier versions of their art to satisfy the taste of Hindi and Marathi  movie connoisseur, further denigrating the status of lower caste lavani performers.

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