Friday, October 13th, 2017
(Faculty Club at the University of Toronto)
The Honorable Senator, Dr. Asha Seth --President of Janak Khendry Dance Company
Opening Speech by Senator Asha Seth
"Thank you so much, Dr. Wagle, you have said too much, whether I deserve it or not, I don't know.
It is a really great honour and privilege to be here.
My friends, dignitaries, distinguished guests, my friend, Joe Daniel, who has just recently been honoured with the position of Honorary Consul for Uzbekistan, Ladies and Gentlemen:
This year indeed is a very special year, for us, a milestone year, 2017 is a celebration marking the greatness of Canada and India. And this year, Janak Khendry Dance Company is celebrating its 39th Anniversary and Canada's 150th Anniversary.
So Canada celebrates 150 years, as the two nations embark on a united foundation and purpose in strength and peace, creating a better world filled with hope and prosperity for our peoples.
And this thanks is to declare to the world, that we, India and Canada, share a dream of hope, aspiration of art, culture, heritage, music and dance, our past and creativity for tomorrow.
We live a country, Canada, where we have equal opportunity and freedom for all. You can achieve your dreams if you work hard, be persistent, dedicated and believe in yourself, you will succeed. Our mutual history has made it possible for us today to appreciate the blending of not only our nationalities, but our united tomorrow.
Now this year, Janak has worked very hard, and he is presenting a dance of the journey to eternal life, danced through Jain, Hindu and Buddhist philosophies attaining immortality as total freedom, transcending time and space, achieving eternal calm.
Dance represents the language of the human soul. He who has perceived, that which is without sound, without touch, without form, without decay, without taste, eternal, without smell, without beginning and without end. Beyond the great and unchangeable is free from the jaws of death.
Thank you, to all who have worked so diligently to create this unique and special event, which will live long in our memories.
Thank you so much."
|Janak Khendry, Artistic Director of Janak Khendry Dance Company|
Opening Speech by Janak Khendry, Artistic Director of Janak Khendry Dance Company
"Now that everything is said about me, I don't have to say anything.
I am extremely grateful to all of you for being here, it means everything to me.
I have been very fortunate in life, starting with my family, my parents, my brothers; they love me.
And I have perhaps the best friends in life, then in my dance company, I have the best and the sincerest and the most wonderful dancers. Before I do anything, I would like to introduce my dancers to you, Kala, Kala has been with me for the last, almost 15 years. She is the star of Janak Khendry Dance Company. Keerthika, Kavita, Rugsha, Hari, Tanveer, Kalasian. A few dancers are missing.
And for me it has been a great pleasure working with them. They are very sincere, they don't always come to the rehearsal on time, but, they are very sincere and very hard working. Very giving dancers.
Another person I would like to thank is Edward Kastrau. Edward was perhaps one of the best modern dancers of Canada, now he is involved with videography and computers and he has helped for 13 years in the work, and in Paradise Lost, he played the role of Adam. Amazing dancer.
Coming to work, after several years of performing regular Bharatanatyam repertoire and other dance styles I have studied, where am I going to take my work? Where is it leading me? So we have to take art to a very different, higher level.
So I started working; One of the first things I did was, I'm sure you all know about the Gayatri Mantra, Gayatri means there is a soul of India, and we had all done this, my brother taught me when I was 5 years old, and you keep reciting, and not knowing what it is. And I always wanted to dance Gayatri. And I talked to several dancer friends, and they said, what will you do? There are 4 lines, 24 syllables, there's no storyline. The right time came and I started the research, each syllable is an ocean of knowledge. So finally, I created the work. Then how do you do that, as a solo artist or a group work? And then I have found that when you are very determined and honest in your approach, the knowledge comes from the most unexpected sources in your life. And I was reading a page on Gayatri and it says: Gayatri is Chaturanga, that means there are four parts, four limbs, and so, a work for 4 dancers. So that work has been danced in 9 countries, 47 performances, 24 syllables and 4 lines, an ocean.
Then I wanted to do something on Ganga, so I went all the way to the Himalayas, starting from Gangotri, where Ganga starts, 1600 hundred miles to where Ganga merges into the ocean. I photographed the whole thing and it was the most amazing journey. At times, Ganga is like a living mother, at times it is so wild like it is going to destroy the world, the colours it creates and the music it makes. It's amazing, so I shot the whole thing, and I was talking to my music composer and he created the music based on that.
Then we did Upanishad, then Kaal-Time, how time came into existence. Paradise Lost, we studied Paradise Lost, a shorter version in 1954 in my senior Cambridge. I always wanted to dance that. I am very fortunate that about 18 years ago I was introduced to a very, very important scholar, he just came out of the hospital, he couldn't come today, otherwise, he would be here, Dr. Tulsiram Sharma. The most brilliant mind you could ever, ever, ever imagine. The kindest, the gentlest, the most giving man you will ever meet. When I go to his place, spend 4 or 5 hours, talk, when I leave, I feel as if I am walking on air; the amount of knowledge and the peace he gives. So when we were doing the research on Ganga, one day I was at his place and I said, Dr. Sharma, how would you like if we did Paradise Lost. His face lit up, because he did his doctorate in the University of London in 1963 and the subject of his thesis was Paradise Lost. So we started the research on that, along with a very eminent British scholar, Mr. Philip Pullman. It was very interesting in Paradise Lost, that Milton mentions India 9 times in the work. And books 9 and 10 are identical to Gita and Bradharnika Upanishad. And it always amazes me how two people from a different part of the world and at different times, can think of the same thought and establish it. It is the most fascinating thing for me. So since that is the case, I will have an Indian composer and a western composer. Half Indian dancers, half Canadian dancers. And we created that, Paradise Lost was the most astonishing work.
And there is a very important person here, Ms. Dianne Weinrib, who has been helping us in our publicity, and for Paradise Lost we got 32 previews and reviews, because of Ms. Weinrib. The press was absolutely amazed what happened on stage with that work. And it is all because of my wonderful dancers, they gave so much.
So this is what I have been trying to create. One day Naren Wagle and I were talking and Naren suggested the subject: Immortality. So we started the research, and we said Immortality, it has slightly religious connotations, so we changed the name to Life Eternal. So what we are doing, is we are taking Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, see the final goal is the same, but the paths are different. So that is what we are trying to explore in this presentation, which is opening November 9th at Harbourfront. Fleck Dance Theatre 9th, 10th and 11th. And it is for that, it is this public announcement we are making and I am highly honoured that you are all here.
And whatever help you can give us, we would be most grateful to you. And come and see the program, and also the flyers are there, and also there is the guest book, anybody who wants to be on our mailing list, kindly write down your Name, email address and telephone number, so we can keep you informed.
And I look forward to seeing you at Life Eternal and thank you very much."
|Board of Directors of Janak Khendry Dance Company|
|Dancers of Life Eternal at Fundraising Reception|