RECIPES FOR CURRY choreography by Hari Krishnan, Margie Gillis and Allen Kaeja. Presented by InDance/DanceWorks at the Enwave (231 Queens Quay West). Tonight (Thursday, October 18) to Saturday (October 20), 8 pm. $17-$27. 416-973-4000. Rating: NNNNN
For dance artist Hari Krishnan, where a dance performance happens is almost as important as the show itself. Recipes For Curry, his latest program, spices up the Enwave Theatre this weekend, and the space itself should reinforce Krishnan's themes.
"It's an ideal venue for the show," he says about the program's title piece and the open-concept theatre. "There's a lot going on backstage. It makes you reconsider the idea of what's in and out, and from there you can think about what's fringe and what's mainstream. Those things all come into play in my work."
Krishnan has built a solid career mixing his training in Bharatanatyam, a form of Indian classical dance, with contemporary dance vocabularies. His new show takes that idea to another level by incorporating pieces by modern dance great Margie Gillis and contact improv ace Allen Kaeja.
"Margie's the first modern dancer I saw when I came to Canada, and that image stuck with me for a long time," says Krishnan. "She's one of the few dancers I can relate to, because of her strong emotional quality and her celebration of life."
Gillis's Breaking Through Surface, a solo for Krishnan, marks the first time the choreographer has created a piece for an artist of South Asian background.
"There's something universal about Margie's works," he says. "Take them anywhere in the world and the reaction will usually be the same."
As for Kaeja d'Dance's co-artistic director, Krishnan calls their duet Yoghurt And Venom "a multilingual dialect."
"It's like we're creating a hybrid space, something that combines contact improv and Bharatanatyam," he says.
With the proliferation of different ethnic cultures on T.O. stages, Krishnan is wary of playing the race card.
"The word 'multicultural' has become something amusing, almost signalling mediocrity," he says. "It's one thing to be diverse. It amazes me what's considered East, West, old and new, mainstream and marginal.
"I've tried to negotiate these things carefully and calculatedly in my personal and professional life."