Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wesleyan Dance Offers Premieres of Artist in Residence Hari Krishnan

Wesleyan University’s Dance Department and Center for the Arts will present the Spring Faculty Dance Concert on Friday, March 2 and Saturday, March 3 at 8 pm in the CFA Theater,located at 271 Washington Terrace on the Wesleyan campus in Middletown.

A multiracial cast of nine male dancers from Dance Department Artist in Residence Hari Krishnan's dance company inDANCE (based in Toronto, Canada) will perform the U.S. premiere of the rambunctiously provocative work "Quicksand" (2011), hailed by Michael Crabb of theToronto Star as "a techno-hip, strutting declaration of freedom from the constraints of tradition and conventional sexuality…Krishnan the maverick gadfly is aggressively iconoclastic." The music for this 40 minute work was composed by Niraj Chag, with visual design by Boyd Bonitzke.

"Quicksand" will be followed by the world premiere of Mr. Krishnan's work "Nine", which depicts Navarasa, the nine archetypal moods popular in South Indian classical dance, taught to dancers from Wesleyan Dance Department's repertory and performance course (see list of dancers below). inDANCE will present the Canadian premiere of "Nine" at Toronto's Fleck Dance Theatre from April 12 through 14, 2012.

As a part of the Spring Faculty Dance Concert in April 2009, Hari Krishnan premiered a solo work entitled "Liquid Shakti", inspired by the myth of the river goddess Ganga, which responds to the depletion of natural resources by aggressive industrialization, and is told from the point of view of some of the most vulnerable populations. "Liquid Shakti" was commissioned by the Center for the Arts as a part of Feet to the Fire, a major undertaking on Wesleyan’s campus to examine critical environmental issues through multiple lenses, from science to art.

Krishnan describes the upcoming performances as "an evening of compelling, sexy, original and complex choreography, music, design and high energy physicality". The Spring Faculty Dance Concert is "a must see for all those interested in dangerous liaisons and delicious diversity," he said.

Ketu Katrak, in her book "Contemporary Indian Dance: New Creative Choreography in India and the Diaspora" (2011), describes Hari's signature style, challenging stereotypes through hybridity: "Krishnan's inDANCE company strives toward radical innovation in the creation of a postmodern dance vocabulary drawn from contemporary bharatanatyam and modern dance. Krishnan's signature style is hybrid in movement, eclectic in music, and creative in use of space and lighting. Although hybridity is a common characteristic of contemporary Indian dance generally, Krishnan's work brings a unique approach and new vigor to this concept. His vision challenges stereotypes of gender, sexuality, and nation, taking contemporary Indian dance in exciting directions."

The members of inDANCE performing the U.S. premiere of "Quicksand" will include Paul Charbonneau, Gerry King, Jelani Ade-Lam, Sze-Yang Ade-Lam, Benjamin Landsberg, Roney Lewis, Hiroshi Miyamoto, Matthew Montgomery and Matthew Owen.

The Wesleyan dancers performing the world premiere of "Nine" will include Abigail Baker '12 and Aditi Shivaramakrishnan '12 (both performances); Arianna Fishman '13, Allison Greenwald '14, Christian Lalonde '13, Francesca Moree '14, Cristina Ortiz '15, Sarah La Rue '12, and Rachel Rosengard '14 (March 2); and graduate students Taylor Burton and Natalie Plaza, Dawanna Butler '15, Arin Dineen '13, Jessica Placzek '12, Claire Feldman-Reich '12, and Tess Scriptunas '14 (March 3).

Admission for the performance is $8 for the general public, and $6 for Wesleyan students. Tickets are available online at http://www.wesleyan.edu/cfa, by phone at (860) 685-3355, or in person at the Wesleyan University Box Office, located in the Usdan University Center, 45 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown. Tickets may also be purchased at the door beginning one hour prior to the performance, subject to availability. The Center for the Arts accepts cash, checks written to “Wesleyan University”, and all major credit cards. Groups of ten or more may receive a discount – please call (860) 685-3355 for details. No refunds, cancellations, or exchanges.
About Hari Krishnan

Hari Krishnan is an internationally respected dancer, choreographer, teacher and dance scholar. He is an award winning dance-maker who combines classical elegance and populist echoes.
Mr. Krishnan has trained with hereditary dance masters including K.P. Kittappa Pillai and R. Muttukkannammal, specializing in devadasi (courtesan) dance and contemporary abstractions of Bharatanatyam. Hari Krishnan is frequently commissioned as a forward thinking, innovative choreographer with an original edge to create works in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Singapore and India.

He holds a Master's degree in Dance from York University (Toronto) and is currently completing his Ph.D. in the dance department at Texas Woman's University. Mr. 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.

About inDANCE

inDANCE is one of Canada's most progressive dance companies, presenting works that are an original synthesis of artistic director Hari Krishnan's South Asian and Western aesthetic sensibilities. While respecting the legacy of tradition, inDANCE boldly investigates post-modern evolutions that place the company on a trajectory of imbibing influences from the West into its strong and confident idiom of contemporary Asian cultures. The company aims to create work that is daring and radical - dancing outside the box. inDANCE produces eclectic, sensual, virtuosic and evocative dance creations that challenge dominant discourses on global culture.

inDANCE's performances of the South Indian dance form known today as Bharatanatyam are unique in the dance world - presenting original repertoire and music rarely seen and heard on the contemporary world stage.  They originate out of a critical awareness of historical context and meaning that are rooted in ethnographic and textual research. In addition to cutting edge contemporary works that break with convention, the company also showcases reconstructions, and re-presentations of vintage (18th and 19th century) dance and music repertoires that are absent from the vocabulary and ethos of today's Bharatanatyam.

For more information about inDANCE, visit http://www.indance.ca.

About the Dance Department

The Dance Department at Wesleyan is a contemporary program with a global perspective. The curriculum, faculty research and pedagogy all center on the relationships between theory and practice, embodied learning, and the potential dance making has to be a catalyst for social change.  Within that rigorous context, students encounter a diversity of approaches to making, practicing and analyzing dance in an intimate learning atmosphere. The program embraces classical forms from Ballet, Bharata Natyam, Javanese, and Ghanaian, to experimental practices that fuse tradition and experimentation into new, contemporary forms. For more information about the Dance Department, visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/dance

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