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David Rosales Muyaes

Mexico

Masks and resistance: a story of domination and class conflict in Mexican dances

The objective of the present project is to describe the most representative dances that use
masks as an instrument of evangelization and social control during the Spanish Conquest
and, in the other hand, to describe the dances that also use masks, but whose used is linked
to processes of social resistance against the structures of power and control during the
Spanish Colony in Mexico.
Masks, being significant matter, allow us to understand the human groups that used them, the communities that created them, their relationship with the environment and the surroundings, the economy and forms of production, the organization of work, political organization, family forms and religious practices, social institutions, existing hierarchies and the social order (of class differences).

Use of Masks In Traditional, Ritual, Ceremonial, Religious, Tribal and Community Dance Forms of Senegal

Masks are very important in African ceremonies, especially during various ceremonies (initiations, funerals ...). In Senegal, despite Islamization, certain ethnic groups have been able to retain their cultural practices, in particular the masks and the rituals that accompany them (dances, clothing, disguises, songs, Senegalese masks are rarely carved like others from Africa, but rather made in the form of a helmet mask. It is worn by an initiate whose body is fully or partially covered by natural elements (bark, raffia, leaves, strips of fabric or red sisal). The mask thus embodies "a spirit" or a "genius" that inhabits it. He is a "sacred being", an instrument of social harmony. In traditional society, the mask is at the same time a religious, political and social institution. He is a mediator between God, ancestors and men. He intervenes in political decisions, accompanies sowing and harvesting, punishes the culprits, ensures the sustainability of knowledge, welcomes the child at birth, allows him to become an adult, brings him to the world of wisdom and accompanies him. in his life.

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Prof. Alphousseyni Diato SEYDI, Senegal

Norah Beatriz Valverde Tapia

Bolivia 

Masks in Bolivian Culture, and the International Folklore Festival “La Danza Integradora de Culturas”

Religious folk festivities in Bolivia are moments in which the community gathers to socialize and live their traditions, among which the use of masks is one of the most important. The various masks are made of different materials and their use is believed to date back to time immemorial. The Andean man used them for different reasons, mainly to worship their gods. In this presentation we will discuss the use of masks in Bolivian culture, especially with reference to the masks dance/culture that are represented/displayed during the Festival Internacional “La Danza Integradora de Culturas”, that is a part of the annual municipal program “La Paz Danza” with support of the Great Secretariat of Cultures of the Municipal Autonomous Government of La Paz and of the Bolivian Catholic University "San Pablo".

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Raissa Sofía Torrico Valverde

 Bolivia

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Dr Vikrant Kishore

Australia

Rasa-aesthetics of Chhau: Exploring Moods and Emotions in Purulia Chhau Dance Masks!

Purulia Chhau is a martial dance drama, mainly based on stories derived from Hindu mythological texts like the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas. Also known as the “dance drama of the gods,” it is performed by artists who impersonate mythological characters by wearing elaborate masks and enacting the story in a performance tradition that melds dance, acrobatic routines and martial arts. The masks are specifically designed keeping in mind the rasa (mood/emotion) of the character/s in the story. Utilising the Rasa theory as propounded by Bharata (in Natyashastra), which is deeply embedded in the Hindu/Indian performing art forms, this article explores how Navarasas (the nine aesthetics, emotions, essence or sentiments) in context of the dance have been applied to the design and style of the Chhau masks (Dutta, 2013).  Most of the stories in Chhau revolve around war/combat therefore, Vira, Raudra and Bibhatsa rasas dominates the dance form (though the other rasas are also very important part of the Chhau repertoire). Utilising the following dance pieces from the Purulia Chhau repertoire as case studies – 1. Mahisasur Mardini (The Killing of Demon Mahisasur), 2. Kirat Arjuna (The fight between the Tribal Man and the warrior Arjuna) and 3. Parasuramer Matri Hatya (The killing of Parshuram’s mother), we will analyse the predominant rasas present in each of the dance forms, especially in relation to the design and representation of the various masks.

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Dr Dhvani Joshi

Australia

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Symbolism in Masks used in Khon and Chhau: A Comparative Analysis of various psycho-social factors

Masks are one of the central themes and features of most traditional and folk rituals. The use of masks in various dance forms help in making the audience believe that the artists have created a bridge between themselves and the character they are playing, “A pathway to god or ancestors” (as believed by few local indigenous people.). Masks are used in different dance forms for varied purposes, like, representing religious totems, emphasize on the social persona of characters and to evoke emotive reactions from the audience and giving the performance a “Larger than life” feel in not only artistic way but a metaphysical way. Asian dance forms use masks often, two such dance forms being, Chhau of the Indian subcontinent and Khon of Thailand. Chhau and Khon both perform the epic Ramayana, and have masks for the characters for the same. These masks though share the same origin (Indian) but have evolved over the time and have transformed to create an identity of their own today. Like two branches of the same tree even though these share the roots, they are characteristically different and their difference highlights the psycho-social differences of both the countries. The researchers here aim to analyze the difference in symbolism of the masks used in Chhau and Khon, (depicting the same characters, of the same story) as evolved because of difference in cultural and psycho-social factors of the countries the art is being performed in.

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Prof. Ambrish Saxena

India

Mudita Raj

India