I am an American-born faith-based Kuchipudi Hindu dancer and educator with Indian ancestry regardless of what I wear. For the purposes of this article, I focus on a dress narrative to explore an authentic self. Here, clothing creates an image that provokes a phenomenological experience. Dress choices become appropriate or inappropriate, religious or antireligious depending on the social constructions of culture. Also, there is a feminist issue that provokes a social construction of “delicate” regardless of what I wear. The feminist dilemma incites my main question for this discourse. How can I maintain my authentic self as a faith-based Hindu dancer and educator regardless of my wardrobe? What is the appropriate attire in a particular setting? Does clothing provoke a certain phenomenological experience that requires consideration? What kind of narrative do I write with my wardrobe choice? Through a self-study that maintains a postcolonial theoretical framework, I propose a postcolonial theory of “Cultural Becoming” to develop a more authentic sense of self, based on my own lived experience of what it means to be me as a postcolonial educator who is simultaneously Eastern and Western.


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pp. 23-42
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