Identity and Sexuality Clash and Combine in the Spring Faculty Dance
This weekend, the Spring Faculty Dance Concert will not only showcase the work of Artist-in-Residence Hari Krishnan, but also synthesize the attitudes of the entire University community. This year’s performance is just as much an integration of classical Indian and contemporary dance styles and music as it is an investigation of the differences between these identities.
“These are two very sexy pieces, if I may say so,” said Krishnan regarding his work. “They are fun, engaging, accessible, high in energy, and high in physicality. They celebrate the joys of dance.”
Krishnan is the product of an international education. He was trained in India and completed graduate work in both the United States and Canada. He works around the globe and is an advocate for dance around the world. The dances to be performed are reflections of Krishnan’s work in choreography thus far. The two pieces, “Quicksand” and “Nine,” merge a variety of elements from South Indian and American culture to create an innovative display of selfhood through Krishnan’s eyes.
“Quicksand” will be performed by nine multiracial male dancers from the Canadian company inDance. This work uses a contemporary style of dance to display the nine emotions of Indian dance, called Navarasa (“Nine Emotions”). Although this dance is typically a display of Indian femininity, the nine males performing it push the boundaries of the identity and sexuality.
Krishnan explained “Quicksand” as a metaphor for his work experiences: “I have been told my work is too Indian, and that my work is too Western,” he said. “Where is my home? [“Quicksand” shows] the insanity of being lost. I’m always drowning in quicksand [since] I don’t practice one art form.”
The concert will also include the world premiere of “Nine,” which will be performed by students from the Wesleyan Dance Department’s Repertory and Performance course. This dance is also a display of the Navarasa, this time through an Indian classical interpretation. The lighting for this piece is done by Professor of Theater Jack Carr.
Claire Feldman-Reich ’12 said that she is excited to perform on the CFA stage, and a lot of hard work has been involved.
“This has been a pretty intense course,” Feldman-Reich said. “We learned a seventeen-minute piece in less than a month.”
“Nine” will be performed in Canada by inDance next month at Toronto’s Fleck Dance Theatre. However, Krishnan is ecstatic that it will first premiere at the University.
“It’s safe to perform a dance like this at Wesleyan because of the open mindedness this place nurtures,” Krishnan said. “The bizarre is celebrated at Wesleyan.”
Krishnan reminds the University community that one does not have to be a connoisseur of choreography to enjoy this concert.
“You only need an open mind to celebrate dance, design, and humanity,” he said.
These exquisite works of choreography display many of the ideals about the exploration of identity and sexuality that the University embraces, which makes it a must-see for all students.
Tickets are $6 for University students and can be purchased online at www.wesleyan.edu/cfa or at the Box Office in Usdan.
“This show is for anyone interested in dangerous liaisons and delicious diversity,” Krishnan said.