Wesleyan portrait of Hari  Krishnan

Hari Krishnan

Professor of Dance

Dance Studios, 160 Cross St, 002

Chair, Dance

Professor, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality 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 and post-colonial, queer dance and film studies in additon to contemporary dance from global perspectives. He has trained with hereditary courtesan teachers in South India who were the original repositories of Bharatanatyam. He is also the artistic director of Toronto-based dance company, inDANCE (indance.ca), which he founded in 1999.

Krishnan’s 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. Works such as Holy Cow(s)! (2017) – spawned when, while eating lunch together, someone expressed surprise that Krishnan was eating a beef burger – are designed to challenge stereotypes and reclaim control over narratives of sexuality, religion, and culture in a Western-dominated global arts world.

Krishnan frequently collaborates with and mounts productions from an expanding roster of similarly experimental artists. On top of his innovative original repertoire, Krishnan is also engaged in critical and ethical mediated reconstructions of South Indian courtean dances and techniques from the 18th and early 20th centuries. These representations are rarely seen on global stages today. Krishnan performs and choreographs them through extensive research. The goal is to engage with critical dance history in multiple ways, while expanding its contemporary methods and creating contemporary currency for South Asian classical 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 the history of devadasi-courtesan dance to representations of Bharatanatyam on film. 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 (https://www.amazon.com/Celluloid-Classicism-Cinema-Making-Bharatanatyam/dp/081957886X).



Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

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Spring 2021
DANC 261 - 01
Bharata Natyam I

DANC 362 - 01
Bharata Natyam II

DANC 435 - 01
Advanced Dance Practice A

DANC 445 - 01
Advanced Dance Practice B