Arpita Ghosal is a Toronto-based arts writer. She founded Sesaya in 2004.
Toronto’s acclaimed contemporary Indian dance company, inDANCE premieres The Book of Sandalwood, the latest full-length work to be choreographed by the award-winning Hari Krishnan, on Saturday, May 16. The Book of Sandalwood marks the company’s first Bharatanatyam composition since 2012, when they premiered their critically-acclaimed and popular production Nine. The Book of Sandalwood has been commissioned by the 4th annual South Asian Festival of Literature and Art (FSALA), and created on 4 dancers and 8 musicians. The choreography showcases the liveliness and intricacy of both the courtesan (devadasi) repertoire as well as modern representations of Bharatanatyam.
The Book of Sandalwood is rooted in the diverse literary landscape of classical, colonial and contemporary South Asian poetry, including Kalidasa’s Ritusamhara from the 5th Century in Sanskrit, as well as Sivakkolundu Desikar’s Sarabhendra Bhupala Kuranvanji in Tamil and Chitrakavi Sivarama Rao’s Tanjavuri Hori Lavani in Marathi, both from the 19th Century. The performance also features an original contemporary verse by Singapore poet V. Balakrishnan in memory of FSALA’s founding member, the late Professor Chelva Kanaganayakam, set to a musical composition by Delhi-based Sudha Raghuraman. The evening will open with readings from 3 renowned international authors: Tololwa Mollel (Canada/Tanzania), Jose Dalisay (Philippines) and Elizabeth Nunez (Trinidad/USA).
Toronto-based choreographer Hari Krishnan, the artistic director of inDANCE, is also Assistant Professor in the Department of Dance at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. He is frequently commissioned for his avant-garde, subversive and transgressive choreography to create work on soloists and companies worldwide. He has just 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 performance. He will also give a public lecture about his own work and research. He can now add this honour to his other accolades, which include a Bessie (NYC) and Dora (TO) Award nominations. After his Roehampton residency, Krishnan will perform in Paris at the conference Crafting Dance Repertoire in South India, 1800-2000.
What: The Book of Sandalwood, Presented by the Festival of South Asian Arts and Literature (FSALA); choreographed by Hari Krishnan
Who: all ages
Where: Al Green Theatre, Miles Nadal JCC, 750 Spadina Ave., Toronto, ON
When: Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 7PM
© 2015 Arpita Ghosal, Sesaya