Hari Krishnan

canada/united states

Hari Krishnan is a dancer, choreographer and scholar who specializes in Bharatanatyam and global and queer dance.

Trained by hereditary courtesan dance teachers in South India who were the original repositories of Bharatanatyam, he is the artistic director of Toronto based company, inDANCE and is also the Chair and Professor of Dance in the Department of Dance and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

His choreography explores post-colonial complexities in Indian dance and queer themes, as well as the intersection of traditional South Asian and global contemporary dance forms. His extensive body of work is based on critical perspectives on Bharatanatyam, fused with contemporary global dance styles and postmodern social critique. His pieces are bombastic, boldly confronting political and sociological issues.

Krishnan is also engaged in critical and ethical mediated reconstructions of rare South Indian courtesan dances and techniques from the 18th and early 20th centuries.

Krishnan’s scholarly repertoire is as extensive as his choreographic one. He holds a PhD in Dance from Texas Woman’s University and his research ranges from queer dance to global cultural politics in dance to the history of devadasi-courtesan dance to representations of Bharatanatyam. These themes bleed into his choreography, and vice-versa.

In 2019, his first book, Celluloid Classicism: Early Tamli Cinema and the Making of Modern Bharatanatyam, was published by Wesleyan University Press.

<< I had to sit, still, in my dark bedroom, retreat within myself, draw from deep within me and distill the restless, helpless despair my physical self and soul were embodying in this frightening, tumultuous time we exist in. 

After two weeks of introspection, with the Cantus Firmus mantra as a ‘friend’ and the sunrise as a healing balm, I let my mind, body and heart express my inner world through this ‘dance’.

Being part of Human Signs was a truly evocative, moving, revealing journey for me.>>