DR. PRIYA SRINIVASAN & RAMYA HARISHANKAR – Sweating Saris
April 20 @ 8:30 pm - 10:00 pm$15.00 - $20.00
This interactive multimedia duet between Ramya Harishankar and Dr. Priya Srinivasan, explores the ways that performance as research can come alive.
Based on Srinivasan’s book Sweating Saris: Indian Dance as Transnational Labor which examines the history of Indian dance from 1880 to the present in the US in relation to restrictive anti-Asian immigration policies (between 1924- 1965), the performance features her long relationship with Harishankar, her students, and teaching processes while questioning dance not just as an aesthetic form but its relationship to socio-political, historical, cultural, racialized, and gendered forms of power.
While audiences of Bharata Natyam often see dance as a polished end product, Sweating Saris exposes dance as a form of labor. Using postmodern frameworks and structured improvisation (which is part of both Indian and contemporary dance), the work unpacks what is often unsaid, unseen, invisible and foreground the “behind the scenes” including the ways in which the book was created.
Choreography by Ramya Harishankar and Dr. Priya Srinivasan with Susan Rose.
The piece has been performed in parts and supported by the Krishna Gana Sabha (Chennai, India), Center for Ideas and Society, UC Riverside and the Korzo Theatre (The Hague, Netherlands) and more recently premiered at Dance Conversations 2016 in Irvine, CA.
Dr. Priya Srinivasan is a dancer, choreographer and scholar whose research and performance is framed by postmodern sensibilities while grounded in feminist Indian classical performance practices. Her work brings together live bodily performance with visual art, interactive multimedia and digital technology to think about archives of the body, migration, and female labor from the perspective of art. She has a PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University and has created the form of “talking dances” based on her award winning book Sweating Saris: Indian Dance as Transnational Labor. Originally from Melbourne, Srinivasan was trained in the classical and contemporary Indian and Asian arts by Dr. Chandrabhanu and performed extensively with the Bharatam Dance Company in her early years.
A protégé of legendary ‘gurus,’ Ramya Harishankar has performed Bharata Natyam all over the world as a soloist. As a teacher, she has introduced and trained several hundred youngsters both at her school, Arpana and thru the education program at the Segestrom Center for the Arts. As a choreographer, she has over 15 full length productions to her credit. Under her guidance, her company Arpana has toured the US, Europe, India and Japan. She also regularly conducts workshops on Bharata Natyam particularly abhinaya in N. America, Asia and Europe. As a producer, she co-convened the first seminar on Indian dance in California and has presented over 50 Indian dance soloists/companies to S California audiences. Harishankar is the recipient of Kala Seva Bharathi from Bharat Kalachar, Chennai, India, the Helene Modjeska Cultural Legacy award from Arts OC and a 2 time National Endowment of the Arts Choreography fellow.