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Dance Musicalization: Proposing a choreomusicological approach to Hindi film song-and-dance sequences

Photo of Usha Iyer

Photo of Usha Iyer

Taylor & Francis Online

How do dancing bodies influence the music composed for them? Does the gestural repertoire of the on-screen performer impact the musical performance of the playback singer? How might a focus on dance provide new models for theorizing the Hindi film song-and-dance sequence? Through a focus on the dancing body, this article calls for a reconsideration of the process of ‘song picturization,’ a term commonly used in the Bombay film industry to reference the practice of recording the song first and then “adding” visuals to it. Using the example of the dancer-actress, Vyjayanthimala, it argues that in the case of certain dancer-actors, a reverse process of ‘dance musicalization’ may be at work, where the performer’s dance vocabulary and bodily comportment precede and influence the song. A choreomusicological analysis accords equal importance to the ‘sounding body’ of the dancer-actor as to the bodies that produce the film’s music, leading to the conceptualization of film music as produced through a multi-bodied ‘choreo-musicking body.’


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