“GAIT TO THE SPIRIT” – Vancouver’s first festival of Indian classical dance


MANDALA ARTS & CULTURE in partnership with THE DANCE CENTRE is very happy to present Vancouver’s first festival of classical dance of India: “GAIT TO THE SPIRIT”, Nov. 5 to Nov. 7, with master class, lecture and performances. Born from the initiative of Mandala’s artistic director, Jai Govinda, this festival is designed to bring forth the best of Indian classical dance, and highlights the vibrancy of a whole new generation of dancers. Although steeped in a rich traditional heritage from India, these dance forms are now flourishing in and out of that country. They are taught and performed all over the world by artists of various nationalities, creeds and genres.

They have engendered a culture of dance that enthralls audiences around the world. Canada alone has more than one hundred schools of Indian classical dance. All 8 styles of Indian classical dance are strongly rooted in mythological themes, stories of victory of good over evil, and love and devotion towards one of the many gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon. In that same spirit, these dance forms are also performed as a means to connect with a higher force or supreme reality, that ultimately leads to “moksha” or liberation. Hence the name of our festival: “GAIT TO THE SPIRIT”. In this first programming of our festival, we are highlighting the talents of local, national and international dancers:


On Friday Nov. 5, Opening night, we will present local dancers Anusha Fernando and Sujit Vaidya performing choreography of well-known bharata natyam artist Jayalakshmi Eshwar (Delhi) in The Meeting Rivers. Anusha Fernando is the artistic director of Shakti Dance, and has been an important part of the local dance scene for the past 15 years. She has presented many solo and group bharata natyam productions in Vancouver. She will be sharing the stage with male dancer Sujit Vaidya, who is building up a reputation as one of the best new male bharata natyam dancers in Canada. www.shaktidancesociety.com SCOTIABANK DANCE CENTRE, 677 Davie St., NOV. 5, 8 p.m. Tickets: $20

On Saturday Nov. 6, We will showcase bharata natyam sensation, Janaki Rangarajan from U.S.A. Janaki received her training from India’s legendary dancer Dr. Padma Subrahmaniam. Janaki Rangarajan conducts her own classes in Washington D.C. and performs regularly on the international scene as well as in many prestigious dance festivals in India. Janaki style is unique and crisp. She will present a repertoire of her own choreography, and will also give a master class for local Vancouver dancers. www.nrityaniketan.com SCOTIABANK DANCE CENTRE, 677 Davie St. NOV.6, 8 p.m.  Tickets: $22 and $18 (students and seniors).

On Sunday Nov. 7, We will present a double bill with two rising stars of Indian classical dance, Shruti Javali and Scheherazaad Cooper. Shruti Javali will present a repertoire of bharata natyam choreography by Lata Pada, artistic director of Sampradaya Dance Creation, Toronto. Shruti has performed as a soloist, and with Lata’s company in Canada, USA, England and India. Shruti will share the afternoon’s performance with Scheherazaad Cooper. An odissi dancer, originally from Vancouver, Scheherazaad is presently completing a PHD degree in dance and performing arts in England. She has performed internationally and in many odissi dance festivals in India. Scheherazaad brings forth the beauty and aesthetics of this sensuous dance style. www.scheherazaad.com SCOTIABANK DANCE CENTRE, 677 Davie St., NOV. 7, 1.30 p.m.  Pay what you can. ($5 suggested donation)

The festival will conclude with a lecture by Toronto’s Lata Pada, artistic director of Sampradaya Dance Creation. Lata will talk about new movements in Indian classical dance today. She will introduce her national South Asian dance association SADAC, and will talk about her annual dance summer intensive in Toronto, Dance Intense. Lata Pada is a leader in the field of Indian classical dance in Canada and abroad. www.sampradaya.ca SCOTIABANK DANCE CENTRE, 677 Davie St., NOV. 7, 3 p.m. FREE.    www.thedancecentre.ca

‘GAIT TO THE SPIRIT’, Vancouver’s first festival of Indian classical dance has been made possible by the generous support of The Dance Centre, the City of Vancouver, the Gaming Office, Sampradaya Dance Creation and Shakti Dance.


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