Oct. 3, 2011 by Olivia Drake
Artist-in-Residence Hari Krishnan’s dance company inDANCE presented the Canadian premiere of Fallen Rain Oct. 1-2 at the Robert Gill Theatre in Toronto, Canada. The dance troupe performs Indian classical dance style bharatanatyam with Western contemporary eroticism.
Under the artistic direction of Krishnan, inDANCE performed the 60-minute premiere as part of the Festival of South Asian Literature and the Arts and the University of Toronto’s The Centre for South Asian Studies. Initially choreographed as a series of solos and duets, the Canadian premiere of Fallen Rain features seven lyrical dancers and six musicians. It includes rare genres of dance that have never been presented on the Canadian stage.
“Fallen Rain animates by the poetic and kinetic world of dance in courtesan communities,” Krishnan explains. The repertoire, he says, is drawn largely from 19th-century Tanjavur, South India. Tanjavur is historically the royal city of South India, nurturing the arts, and is the birth place of bharatanatyam dance.
Krishnan teaches similar rare repertoires at Wesleyan, maintaining his two decades-long research of the traditional roots of Bharatanatyam dance.
“Bharatanatyam is rarely taught and performed anywhere else in the world,” he says.
In Fallen Rain, inDANCE pushes the boundaries of professionalism in the areas of traditional bharatanatyam dance, inspiring live music, groundbreaking research, cutting edge lighting design and rich costume design. The group presents its classical work in the context of a contemporary aesthetic framework.
Krishnan, a native of Singapore, studied bharatanatyam and an imported European form of ballet. He embraced Western contemporary dance as an undergraduate in Canada. He holds a master’s degree in dance from York University in Toronto and is currently completing his Ph.D. in the dance department at Texas Woman’s University. Krishnan’s research areas include colonialism, post-colonialism and Indian dance, globalization and the arts of India, Bharatanatyam in Tamil cinema and the history of devadasi dance traditions in Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh, South India. He is a regular contributor to academic conferences on cultural history and dance around the world.
During the Spring Faculty Concert March 2-3, Krishnan will present the world premiere of “Nine,” a classical depiction of Navarasa, or nine archetypal moods popular in Indian dance. He’ll also present “Quicksand,” which also draws inspiration from the construct of Navarasa.