Bharata Natyam dancer Dr. Yashoda Thakore of India performed at Wesleyan’s Crowell Concert Hall on October 12 for Navaratri—or “nine nights.” This was the 43rd year that Wesleyan celebrated the Hindu festival.
Associate Professor of Dance Hari Krishnan, whose expertise includes this art form, notes that Thakore performed rare pieces from the courtesan repertoire in South India, with special focus placed on exquisitely expressive movements of her hands, feet, and face.
“Her work explores progressive ways of looking at women’s agency, sexuality, and eroticism,” he says. “She challenges patriarchal systems still deeply rooted in Indian contemporary society today. Yashoda is a rare gem because she is not only from the hereditary community herself, but also is one of the few feminist dancers providing modern currency to the beautiful rich traditions of courtesan dance.”
[Photo by Richard Marinelli.]