Multiculturalism and identity formation among second generation Canadian women of South Asian origin through Indian classical dance
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The main research question of this project asks: what role does Indian classical dance play in the identity formation of second generation Canadian women of South Asian origin as they negotiate their identities as Canadians living in a multicultural country? The research question is analyzed through the theoretical frameworks of both citizenship theory, identity theory, and Bourdieu’s notions of ‘habitus’, ‘field’, and cultural capital. Semi-structured interviews are conducted with dancers of 2 main dance styles (“Kathak” and “Bharatnatyam”) and of various ages over 18. Interviews are also conducted with a dance teacher/creative director and a dance company coordinator. Findings indicate that Indian classical dance influences identity formation in 3 main ways: in the way that the participants embody the dance forms of Kathak and/or Bharatnatyam, in the way they form their identities as individuals, and in the way they form their identities as multicultural Canadians.