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Be sincere to your art, advises acclaimed dancer and choreographer

Internationally-acclaimed dancer and choreographer Janak Khendry’s distinguished dance career spans over fifty-five years and he has given more than a thousand performances in different parts of the world.

Khendry is invited by major museums and universities in Canada and the US to perform, lecture and conduct workshops.

They have been invited to participate in Shared History in South Africa which celebrates the legacies of Mandela and Gandhi – the first Indian company based in Canada to be invited.

He also gave five command performances for two past Presidents of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Dr. S. Radhakrishnan in India, and for the Vice-President of the United States, Hubert Humphrey, in Washington, D.C.

He is the recipient of several prestigious awards including Nizam’s grant and Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in India and grants from Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, Ministry of Culture, Citizenship and Recreation, the Canada Council for the Arts, Toronto Metropolitan Cultural Affairs, Laidlaw Foundation, Canada’s Year of Asia Pacific and The Yehan Numata Programme in Buddhist Studies, University of Toronto. 

It can be very demanding, both physically and financially, but he finds it incredibly rewarding, something he has a deep passion for.

Born in Amritsar nearly 80 years ago in a family in which no one had anything to do with the arts, Khendry was encouraged to follow his dreams. But not every male dancer was so encouraged. It used to be that male dancers found it difficult to be accepted, but things are changing, says Khendry. While studying dance, he had simultaneously completed his undergrad studies in sculpture in Hyderabad and went to the US for graduate studies at Ohio State University. There he met his partner with whom he opened an art gallery. The artistic glass movement was just starting and as there already was a gallery in New York, but none in Toronto, the two decided to open one here.

Canada has been really good to him, says Khendry, who has had eight solo sculpture exhibitions and his works are in private collections in India, US, Canada and Europe. 

“I travel a lot, and each time I return, it feels great to be back. Just like I feel when I go to India. I have been asked which country I like the best and I say I love people. I don’t look at the colour of their skin or language.”

To those who aspire for a life in the arts, he has this advice.

“Be sincere to your art. Respect every artist. Every art form has its own space. If it survived for centuries, there’s a reason for that. Respect every human being.” 

Posted: Jan 5, 2019

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