Mesma Belsare is a border-crosser. When the classical Indian dancer presents a much-anticipated solo recital in Cambridge this week, she will be exploring the many faces of love. Inspired in part by her mentor Maya Kulkarni Chadda, a dancer whose parents lived and worked with Gandhi, Belsare aims to bring the lesser-known repertory of temples and royal courts into a vivid present.
In classical Indian dance the body is genderless, Belsare explains, "So the dancer takes on many roles, as a baby, a mother, a lover, a courtesan and her patron, and even other species, such as insects and serpents. And let's not forget the gods!"
The dancer is collaborating with noted Carnatic vocalist Deepti Navaratna, who has sung with both Indian and Western contemporary classical music ensembles, and with percussionists Murali Balachandran and Soumya Ramanathan.
Respect for boundary-crossing defines both Belsare's dancing and her activism. She opened the Boston LGBT Film Festival with a performance in 2009 and has been active in groups that support LGBTQ South Asians and preserve Boston's LGBT history. "We are living in an unstable time," Belsare says. "The arts have a unique power to bring us closer to our true selves and make us more empathetic to the human condition of others."
MESMA BELSARE :: Multicultural Arts Center, 41 Second Street, Cambridge :: February 7 :: 7:30 pm :: $15-20 :: 617.577.1400 or multiculturalartscenter.org