Tirna Sengupta


I studied Literature in my Bachelors and Masters in Delhi. I started training in the Indian classical dance form of Bharatanatyam at the age of four and as a result of being a dancer myself developed an interest in performance studies since I was an undergraduate student of English. Very few Indian Universities have a separate department dedicated to performance and performance studies, but English departments serve the purpose of exposing one to culture studies. I started using my training in critical theory to ask questions about politics of Indian classical dance training and performance and I started exploring those questions through practice. Some of those pursuits became dance films and public performances that initiated conversations and debates about Indian classical dance. These projects got some recognition from reputed magazines and newspapers as well.

My PhD project tries to understand how Adivasi identity and subjectivity are performatively produced through participation in tourism entertainment packages. My research is based on the dance tourism practices in the Dooars, north Bengal, India, where the adivasis are a migrant and marginalized community, but at the same time are an indispensable part of the “local culture” that is presented to tourists to give them an “authentic experience” of place.

Research interests

Culture and Tourism

Place and Performance

Ritual, Performance and Modern Economy

Indigenous Cultural Perspectives

Audience Engagement

Activism and Choreography

Dance Film and its disemmination on social media

Links to my dance films and articles on them:

My Youtube Channel

Why You Might Find Me Dancing Bharatanatyam in the Middle of a Crowded Street

A tale of the many spirited

Watch: An Indian Short Film Breaking Down Gender Stereotypes Through Bharatnatyam

By performing Bharatanatyam in Delhi’s streets, these women reclaim the dance form – and the city


  • BA (Hons) English, Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi
  • MA (Hons) English, University of Delhi