Wesleyan portrait of Hari  Krishnan

Hari Krishnan

Professor of Dance

Dance Studios, 160 Cross St, 002

Professor, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Professor, Global South Asian Studies


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BA University of Manitoba
MFA York University
PHD Texas Womans University

Hari Krishnan


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

Krishnan’s choreographic explorations center both postcolonial complexities in Indian dance as well as queer themes. He is among the pioneering generation of choreographers of South Asian origin who began to explore the intersections between traditional South Asian and global contemporary dance forms in the North American diaspora. His extensive body of work arises from a critical awareness of Bharatanatyam, fused with contemporary global dance styles and postmodern, queer, anti-racist and anti-caste social critique. His choreographies are designed to challenge stereotypes and enable minoritized communities to reclaim control over narratives of sexuality, religion, and culture in a global arts world. He is also the artistic director of inDANCE (indance.ca), which he founded in 1999.

For two decades, he had trained with hereditary teachers from former courtesan communities in South India. As a master performer of Bharatanatyam, his work in this realm acknowledges Bharatanatyam’s messy and uncomfortable pasts and constantly negotiates the ethical challenges of engagement with the form. Krishnan performs and choreographs Bharatanatyam inflected by his extensive research on the form. The goal is to engage with the critical history of Bharatanatyam, while expanding its contemporary methods and creating equitable futures for South Asian dance.

Krishnan’s scholarly repertoire is as extensive as his choreographic one. His research covers historic and sociological themes, from queerness and global cultural politics in dance to representations of Bharatanatyam in film. These research themes deeply inform his choreography, and vice-versa. His monograph, Celluloid Classicism: Early Tamil Cinema and the Making of Modern Bharatanatyam (Wesleyan University Press, 2019) won a special citation from the 2020 de la Torre Bueno© First Book Award Committee of the Dance Studies Association. The book has been hailed as “an invaluable addition to the scholarship on Bharatanatyam.”    

Some of his recent awards, honors and nominations include a Guggenheim Fellowship (2024), Jacob’s Pillow Lab Residency (2024), Wesleyan’s Provost Research Award (2023), a National Dance Project Grant (2022) for his upcoming creation Rowdies in Love, an Eldred Family Choreography Nomination (2021), two Mellon Foundation Grants (2021 and 2023, with Krishnan as co-recipient with Professor Lionel Popkin and SADA: South Asian Diasporic Dance Artists), and the Eramus Mundus Residency Award (2015). He is also the recipient of a Bessie Nomination for Outstanding Performance (New York City, 2013); the Bessie Schoenberg Choreographic Residency Award (2013); the Desi Canadian Achiever Award (2011); a Dora Mavor Moore Nomination (2009) for Best Choreography (Theater) and several grants from Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, Bank of Montreal and Laidlaw Foundation.








Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

Mon/Weds- 11.30am-12.30pm

OR By Appointment


Fall 2024
DANC 261 - 01
Bharata Natyam I

DANC 366 - 01
Queering the Dancing Body