Tag Archive for Hari Krishnan

Krishnan’s Company inDANCE Presents New England Premiere SKIN at Wesleyan

Hari Krishnan, associate professor of dance, celebrated the success of his New England premiere of SKIN during a Spring Faculty Dance Concert on April 26 at the Center for the Arts Theater.

Hari Krishnan, associate professor of dance, brought his Toronto-based company inDANCE to the Center for the Arts Theater for a Spring Faculty Dance Concert on April 26–27, with the New England premiere of SKIN. InDANCE is a progressive Canadian dance company whose work transcends boundaries of the familiar and culturally traditional. Offering, instead, surprising juxtapositions in styles, manner, and dress, inDANCE “subverts clichéd representations of ‘classical’ Indian dance, and speaks with an ‘obscenely loud,’ inimitable, and unorthodox global voice,” as noted in the program Krishnan prepared for the event.

SKIN, composed of five pieces, brought together on stage several members of Krishnan’s Toronto company and a select group of Krishnan’s current students: Mickey Kieu ’19, Amira Leila ’20, Gita Ganti ’21, Aditi Mahesh ’21, Luna Mac-Williams ’22, and Spenser Stroud ’22. Noteworthy also: first-year member of the inDANCE company, Eury German ’16, a dance and biology double major while at Wesleyan, was back on the CFA stage, as a dancer in “Holy Cow[s]!” the fifth piece of the evening. Professor Emeritus of Theater John Carr created the lighting design. A preshow performance, “Fantastic Beasts Meet on a Whimsical Beach…” included audience participation through phone texts.

Krishnan Debuts Choreography at UC Davis, Jacob’s Pillow

“16 Shades of Red,” a full-length choreography created by Hari Krishnan, associate professor of dance, premiered at the Mondavi Center at the University of California, Davis, on May 12 and 13. Krishnan is a member of inDANCE, one of Canada’s most progressive dance companies. “16 Shades of Red,” presented in two chapters, integrates original courtesan dance from South India, complex choreography, and live music.

Watch a video of his performance below:

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At Wesleyan, Krishnan teaches Bharata Natyam, or South Indian classical dance.

“BN1 and BN3 students had performed material this semester at Wesleyan so incredibly well, and it was a crucial layer to building this new work,” Krishnan said. “I truly appreciate my job at Wesleyan where pedagogy and choreography are inextricably intertwined.”

In addition, Krishnan served as a Pillow Scholar-in-Residence June 20–24 at Jacob’s Pillow in Becket, Mass. On June 22, he debuted his solo choreography “Black Box 3,” which showcases virtuosic Bharatanatyam technique. The work features complex footwork, intricate gestures, architectural design, and a pulsating sound design of Indian, global percussion, and vocalized drum syllables.

 

Dance Department’s Krishnan ‘Slaughters’ Stereotypes

(photo c/o Michael Slobodian)

Hari Krishna (Photo by Michael Slobodian)

In the March 21 issue, the Toronto Star profiles Associate Professor of Dance Hari Krishnan in connection with his latest full-length work, “Holy Cow(s)!”

Krishnan discusses the ways in which he often endures “ridiculous if non-malevolent cultural prejudices,” such as assumptions that he practices yoga or doesn’t eat beef due to his Indian heritage.

Krishnan would prefer people to look beyond the stereotypes, beyond what he calls such false binaries as East/West, white/coloured, masculine/feminine, tradition/modernity.

Says Krishnan: “I’m brown. I’m a beef-eating Hindu from Singapore and I’m proudly gay. I’m not a tourism poster.”

Krishnan, an award-winning dancer/choreographer, is founder of the performing company inDANCE. The writer describes his style: “Krishnan’s dances, whether full-on Bharatanatyam — he’s won a coveted Bessie award in New York for his own performance of this Indian classical form — or a contemporary hybrid of styles is consistently exuberant, physically dynamic and often more than a little bit naughty.”

Of the latest performance, he writes:

Holy Cow(s)!, with a cast of two women and five men, is unusual in that while most of the choreography is Krishnan’s it also includes three solos, each made for him by an outside choreographer and expressing very different movement esthetics. The original intent was for Krishnan to perform these himself but a knee injury put paid to that. With the concurrence of American choreographers Sean Curry and David Brick and Vancouver’s Jay Hirabayashi, Krishnan has now distributed these among three of the cast’s men.

Watching a studio run-through of Holy Cow(s)!, it is clear Krishnan relishes the opportunity to explode any number of assumptions audiences might make about a choreographer of South Asian descent. The movement vocabulary at times references, even parodies, classical Indian dance but it also embraces a whole range of cultural forms. It pokes fun at the stereotypes of beguiling female and chest-thumping machismo. It is sensual to the point of overt eroticism. Krishnan even manages to work in some thinly veiled political criticism, alerting us to the dangerous bigotry that the current climate has unlocked.

Says Krishnan: “My mission is to slaughter every one of these holy cows.”

Krishnan Named One of “10 Toronto Stage Artists to Watch”

(Photo by Michael Slobodian)

Hari Krishnan (Photo by Michael Slobodian)

Associate Professor of Dance Hari Krishnan has been named one of “10 Toronto Stage Artists to Watch This Winter” by NOW Toronto magazine, which highlights his upcoming spring production, “Holy Cow(s)!” exploring cultural appropriation. It will run March 23-25 at Harbourfront Centre Theatre.

The profile of Krishnan states: “A few years ago, Krishnan heated up the local dance scene with a sizzling, eyebrow-raising piece about queerness called SKIN. Now, just in time to melt winter’s last snow comes a white-hot mixed program sending up ideas about gender, sexuality and cultural taboos. The night of solos and ensemble pieces includes works by David Brick, Seán Curran and Jay Hirabayashi. But look for Krishnan’s signature style – which mixes contemporary with Indian Bharatanatyam – to get you to say that title out loud.”

7 Faculty Promoted, 1 Awarded Tenure

In its most recent meeting, the Board of Trustees conferred tenure on Hari Krishnan, associate professor of dance. He joins seven other faculty members who were awarded tenure earlier this spring.

In addition, seven faculty members were promoted to Full Professor: Mary Alice Haddad, professor of government; Scott Higgins, professor of film studies; Tsampikos Kottos, professor of physics; Edward Moran, professor of astronomy; Dana Royer, professor of earth and environmental sciences; Mary-Jane Rubenstein, professor of religion; and Gina Athena Ulysse, professor of anthropology.

Brief descriptions of their research and teaching appear below.

Associate Professor Krishnan teaches studio- and lecture-based dance courses on Mobilizing Dance: Cinema, the Body, and Culture in South Asia; Modern Dance 3; and Bharata Natyam.  His academic and choreographic interests include queering the dancing body, critical readings of Indian dance and the history of courtesan dance traditions in South India. He is a scholar and master of historical Bharatanatyam and also an internationally acclaimed choreographer of contemporary dance from global perspectives.

Professor Haddad teaches courses about comparative, East Asian, and environmental politics. She has authored two books, Building Democracy in Japan and Politics and Volunteering in Japan: A Global Perspective, and co-edited a third, NIMBY is Beautiful: Local Activism and Environmental Innovation in Germany and Beyond. She is currently working on a book about effective advocacy and East Asian environmental politics.

Professor Higgins teaches courses in film history, theory, and genre, and is a 2011 recipient of Wesleyan’s Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching.  His research interests include moving-image aesthetics, feature and serial storytelling, and cinema’s technological history. He is author of Harnessing the Rainbow: Technicolor Aesthetics in the 1930s and Matinee Melodrama: Playing with Formula in the Sound Serial (forthcoming), and editor of Arnheim for Film and Media Studies.

Professor Kottos offers courses on Quantum Mechanics; Condensed Matter Physics; and Advanced Topics in Theoretical Physics. He has published more than 100 papers on the understanding of wave propagation in complex media, which have received more than 3,000 citations. His current research focuses on the development of non-Hermitian Optics. This year, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research has recognized his theoretical proposal on optical limiters as a high priority strategic goal of the agency.

Professor Moran teaches introductory courses such as Descriptive Astronomy and The Dark Side of the Universe, in addition to courses on observational and extragalactic astronomy.  His research focuses on extragalactic X-ray sources and the X-ray background, and his expertise in spectroscopic instrumentation combined with an insightful conceptual appreciation of galaxy formation have positioned him as a leader in observational black hole research.

Professor Royer offers courses on Environmental Studies; Geobiology; and Soils.  His research explores how plants can be used to reconstruct ancient environments, and the (paleo-) physiological underpinnings behind these plant-environment relationships.  His recent work on the relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and climate over geologic time has had significant impact on the field of paleoclimatology.

Professor Rubenstein teaches courses in philosophy of religion; pre- and postmodern theologies; and the intersections of religion, sex, gender, and science.  Her research interests include continental philosophy, theology, gender and sexuality studies, and the history and philosophy of cosmology.  She is the author of Strange Wonder: The Closure of Metaphysics and the Opening of Awe, and Worlds without End: The Many Lives of the Multiverse.

Professor Ulysse offers courses on Crafting Ethnography; Haiti: Between Anthropology and Journalism; Key Issues in Black Feminism; and Theory 2: Beyond Me, Me, Me: Reflexive Anthropology. Her research examines black diasporic conditions. Her recent work combines scholarship, performance, and exposition to ponder the fate of Haiti in the modern world and how it is narrated in different outlets and genres.  She is the author of Downtown Ladies: Informal Commercial Importers, A Haitian Anthropologist and Self-Making in Jamaica, and Why Haiti Needs New Narratives.

Krishnan Receives Choreomundus Scholars in Residence Award

Professor Hari Krishnan recently received a prestigious award and residency at  the University of Roehampton.

Professor Hari Krishnan recently received a prestigious award and residency at the University of Roehampton.
(photo c/o Stephen De Las Heras)

Hari Krishnan, assistant professor of dance, recently received the Choreomundus Scholars in Residence Award, which will support a three-week residence at the University of Roehampton in London, beginning May 18. During his residency, Krishnan will teach and mentor Choreomundus students who are working on their final project.

(photo c/o Michael Slobodian)

(photo c/o Michael Slobodian)

Krishnan expressed excitement over his award: “I am delighted and honored to be one of two recipients of the prestigious Erasmus Mundus grant for visiting scholars to the “Choreomundus International Masters in Dance Knowledge, Practice and Heritage” at the University of Roehampton’s Department of Dance in London.”

Dance Department Opens New Headquarters, Hosts Gala

Cheryl Cutler MA '71, founder of the Dance Department, served as department chair for 32 years. She spoke about the department's history and changes as part of the Dance Department's grand opening gala Feb. 28. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Cheryl Cutler MA ’71, founder of the Dance Department, served as department chair for 32 years. She spoke about the department’s history and changes as part of the Dance Department’s grand opening gala Feb. 28. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

The Dance Department now has a studio/office space of its own, having opened new digs in a converted church at 160 Cross Street Feb. 28 with a grand opening gala. Artist-in-residence, African dancer/drummer Iddi Saaka gave the inaugural performance at an intimate reception attended by dance majors and some early alumni from the program (which first took shape in the late ’60s and early ’70s as an extension of the Theater Department).

The newly renovated Dance Department building — constructed in 1978, was once home to the AME Zion Church.

The newly renovated Dance Department building, constructed in 1978, was once home to the AME Zion Church.

“We finally have our own space, our own building, our own entity,” said Hari Krishnan, assistant professor of dance. “Statistically, more than 40 percent of students at Wesleyan have taken a dance class during their time at Wesleyan. This has been the case for over 10 years and the figure is consistent across all three divisions. Now we can build on that. We can make it an integral part of life at Wesleyan. This building reaffirms that for us.”

The newly renovated building — constructed in 1978, once home to the AME Zion Church, and most recently, an archeology laboratory — will yield many benefits for the Wes dance community. Until now, faculty and students have been sharing offices and spaces in tight quarters, based inside the Center for the Arts. The Theater Department has taken over the former space. Now each faculty and resident has an office to him or herself and there’s adequate space to increase enrollment and continue expanding and evolving the program. Scheduling independence will allow for more performances and less hassle in the planning stages, Krishnan said.

Krishnan Nominated for Dance Performance Award

Hari Krishnan

Hari Krishnan

Assistant Professor of Dance Hari Krishnan has been nominated for the Bessie Award for Outstanding Performer for his solo performance of “The Frog Princess,” which he performed as part of the La Mama Moves! Dance Festival in New York City in June and July.

Forty nominees for the 2012-13 Bessies, formally known as The New York Dance and Performance Awards, were announced at a press conference at the Gina Gibney Dance Center in New York on July 17. The 29th Annual Bessie Awards will be held on Oct. 7 at the Apollo Theater in New York.
Krishnan was one of 12 artists nominated for Outstanding Performer. See the full list here. Read a New York Times review of Krishnan’s performance, which he choreographed, here.

Krishnan Featured in 2 Dance Journals

Hari Krishnan (Photo by Miles Brokenshire)

Hari Krishnan (Photo by Miles Brokenshire)

Hari Krishnan, assistant professor of dance, was featured in two recent journals, The Dance Currant and Religion Compass.

The Dance Currant article, “The Singular Path of Hari Krishnan,” discusses Krishnan’s solo at “The Men Dancers: From the Horse’s Mouth,” a concert of original choreography for the 80th anniversary season of the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.

Krishnan also appears as the subject of The Religion Compass article, “Innovations in Contemporary Indian Dance: From Religious and Mythological Roots in Classical Bharatanatyam.” The three-part essay traces a history of the revival of bharatanatyam, citing Krishnan as a pioneer of Contemporary Indian Dance.

Krishnan currently teaches “Bharata Natyam I: Introduction of South Indian Classical Dance” at Wesleyan.

Krishnan’s Dance Performance Praised in Canadian Media

Artist-in-Residence Hari Krishnan, pictured in back, performs "Fallen Rain."

Hari Krishnan, artist-in-residence in dance, received widespread media attention for his dance company’s performance season in Canada. Positive reviews and articles appeared in the Toronto StandardToronto.comXtra!To Live With CultureMooney on Theatreand Fab Magazine.

In other exciting news, Krishnan’s dance company, inDANCE, was invited to present “Quicksand” and a new solo (commissioned for Jacob’s Pillow) at the Canada Dance Festival, the country’s most prestigious contemporary dance festival, on June 11.

Krishnan’s Dance Troupe Presents Canadian Premiere

Artist-in-Residence Hari Krishnan, pictured in back, performs "Fallen Rain."

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.

Hari Krishnan in Fallen Rain.

“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’s inDANCE Troup Featured in Toronto Star

Hari Krishnan

Hari Krishnan

Hari Krishnan, artist-in-residence in the Dance Department, was featured in the March 13 issue of The Toronto Star. In an article titled, “Dance: Traditional Meets the Postmodern,” Krishnan speaks about his dance troupe, InDANCE, which performs Indian classical dance style bharatanatyam with Western contemporary eroticism.

Krishnan was raised in Singapore, part of the small island republic’s Indian minority. He 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.

As a result, he’s hard to categorize and this has proved to be a problem for inDANCE, the ethnically diverse, multi-disciplinary company he founded in Toronto a decade ago.

“The handicap for me,” he says, “is that we do all kinds of work. We are not afraid to show skin, to talk about eroticism or sexuality using bharatanatyam as our medium. So, we have a problem accessing a solid audience in Toronto because people always want to box us. Either you’re a bharatanatyam company that propagates Indian family/cultural values or you’re not.”

According to the article, Krishnan travels widely, “commuting during the academic year to Middletown, Conn. – where he’s been artist-in-residence at Wesleyan University since 2001 – visiting India regularly for research, study and performances, and teaching in Britain.”