The Janak Khendry Dance Company’s presentation of Life Eternal is the crowning jewel of a tight-knit community. The performance is steeped in the history and religious traditions of India, and has been brought to fruition at a wonderful moment- joining the celebration of 150 years of confederacy in Canada, 70 years of independence in India, and 39 years of the Janak Khendry Dance Company. For me, the most impactful and significant aspect of this creation was the joining of these worlds, opening speeches from political supporters, and the clear incredible impact that this company has on their community, both locally and worldwide. The company also boasts dancers from an variety of backgrounds, where some are professional dancers, and some are current students at the University of Toronto, pursuing studies in endeavors such as Neuroscience and Health Sciences. I was impressed with the passion of every person involved in the production of Life Eternal, and know that this community of artists has such great ability to pass their values of love and freedom on to a wide audience.
The classical Indian dance styles performed by the Janak Khendry Dance Company are incredibly difficult. The rhythms and coordination are complex enough, but add in the need for precise unison, symmetry, and massive displays of passion, and traditional Indian dance lands up with some of the most difficult styles out there. Some opening night jitters may have caused a few of the younger dancers in the performance to feel unsure and drop out of perfect unison, but the performance was lit up with the talents of the lead dancers. The confidence and majesty they portrayed was wonderful to behold. I was especially watching the eyes of the dancers, knowing that a side glance or downward tilt can convey huge passages of meaning, and I was not disappointed in the richness of the gaze.
Simple sets and lighting perfectly stepped aside and let the dancers shine, in all their bejewelled glory. The dancers’ hands, eyes, and bell-clad feet shimmered throughout the evening, keeping the audience rapt through the full-length show. Khendry has said that it was a “challenging process” to create Life Eternal, and it is abundantly clear why. While the subject matter may be dense and more difficult to digest than a usual dance performance, the immense amount of research and incredible attention to detail prevalent in the choreography makes Life Eternal another clear success for the Janak Khendry Dance Company.