inDANCE – Culturally insensitive

I had an opportunity to witness the indance – Indian classical dance and contemporary works on May 28th 2011 at the Registry Theater in Kitchener, Ontario.

inDANCE was presented by its artistic director Mr. Hari Krishnan.  Mr. Krishnan is a Bharatha Natyam dancer, Choreographer and teacher.  He is originally from South India and now based in Toronto, Ontario.  He is trained under Thanjavur K.P. Kittappa Pillai and R. Muttukkannammal of south India.

The event started with a beautiful South Indian classical dance, Bharatha Natyam performance, by Nalin Bisnath, Sreyshi Chakraborti and Hiroshi Miyamoto.  The King’s Salon is a celebration of the aesthetics of love in the royal court.  They did a not stop performance for about 45 min. and it was an excellent performance.

The next one, Mea Culpa puts an end to the enjoynment of the last performance.  It gives a very bad taste to the audience. 

The stage is dark with a back ground of Lord Shiva, the Hindu god.  A lone dancer Paul Charbonneau, steps in to do a solo dance.  The audience was silent and curious to see what he was about to do because he was not wearing traditional dance costume but just pants and coat.  The music starts and he strips his cloths one by one.  Last piece on his white body was his pants. It cames down like a snake comming out of the bush, very gently.  All he was left was his g-string and a net to cover his legs.  It was a shocking to the audience and most notably for the children and Indian parents and also to the Bharatha Natyam students.  The parents had a hard time to digest to seen an erosion of their culture and morality. However,  Paul nor Harri Krishnan were not worried but focusing on the dance.  The guy was running around naked in front of Lord Shiva, stretching his legs and at one point bends in front of the audience to show his treasure trophies.

We have been in Canada, for the past 25 years.  We were told that immigrating to western world would be a culture shock for the Indian community.  It’s true but we did not expect to feel after so many years.  Surprisingly, it was not a westerner who gave the shock but our own Indian.  Isn’t he suppose to know his own back ground or show some respect to a religion?  Is it appropriate for a non-christian to discredit the Christ?  It was a bad taste and if people don’t stand up for ones stupidity then his show will go own. By the way the dance is  supported by Department of Canadian Heritage and Ontario Arts Council.

 S. Kumar

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