York hosts night of global dance to benefit Pakistan flood relief

Traditional and contemporary works by graduate students and alumni in a wide range of dance styles from around the world will be showcased as part of York Cares: An Evening of Dance for Pakistan Flood Relief.

Dance studies graduate students and alumni in partnership with York University’s Graduate Program in Dance will present an evening diverse dance, including Chinese Tibetan, Brazilian contemporary, African, Flamenco, Bharata Natyam, Iranian comtemporary, Kathak, Odissi and Folkloric Cuban, to raise funds to support Oxfam Canada’s relief efforts in flood-ravaged Pakistan.

York Cares: An Evening of Dance for Pakistan Flood Relief will take place Thursday, Oct. 21, starting at 8pm – doors open at 7:30pm – at the McLean Performance Studio Theatre, 244 Accolade East Building, Keele campus.

The Little Pear Garden Collective will perform the Tibetan folk dance Butter Churns, which depicts women demonstrating skills in making butter. Paromita Kar (MA ’08) will perform Arabhi Pallavi and Brazilian-born Newton Moraes, artistic director of the Newton Moraes Dance Theatre, will dance the Brazilian contemporary piece Ihu, which means everything that can be heard, including the supernatural and sounds of spirits and the magical beings of the forest. Ihu represents Moraes’ personal journey of self-discovery, acceptance of all aspects of his spirit and triumph over prejudice through development of his spiritual self. The piece will be accompanied by live drumming.

Right: A farmer in Pakistan pulls his donkeys through a flooded area. Photo courtesy of Oxfam Canada.

In addition, Chad Walasek of the Chhandam Dance Company, who is a master’s dance student at York and the event’s initiator and organizer, will dance the Khamaj Tarana. Tarana is a musical genre characterized by sung musical syllables that showcase complex melodic and rhythmic technique. The late Hindustani classical musician Ustad Ali Akbar Khan Sahib composed this piece in the versatile evening musical scale known as raag khamaj. The dancer draws from Hindu and Muslim movement vocabulary characteristic of traditional kathak to evoke the feeling of the raag and the complexity of the music.

Left: Chad Walasek, a grad dance student at York, performing the Khamaj Tarana

York master’s dance student Claudia Aguirre, York PhD dance candidate Catalina Fellay and York PhD candidate Paul Ormandy have come together for the first time as a trio and will present a rhythmically-based performance of one of Flamenco’s most festive rhythms, the bulerías.

The evening’s line-up also includes Shobana Raveendran, a member of York alumnus Hari Krishnan’s InDance Co. Several more performers are being confirmed.

Right: Survivors of Pakistan’s flood line up to collect water from an Oxfam station. Photo courtesy of Oxfam.

The situation is precarious for many of the 17.2 million people affected by the recent floods and despite calls for assistance, there is still a great need for donations to support relief efforts. York’s Graduate Program in Dance (MA and PhD), whose students and faculty are engaged in fieldwork in Pakistan and elsewhere in the world, is committed to assisting with raising awareness and funds for the plight of people most affected by this natural disaster.

Tickets cost $20 and are available through the Box Office or by calling 416-736-5888.

For more information, contact Chad Walasek at cwalasek@yorku.ca.