Founded by Nova Bhattacharya and based in Toronto, Nova Dance expands the cultural space for the evolution of classical Indian and contemporary dance through evocative new works.

The Company

Established in 2008, Nova Dance is led by dancer and choreographer Nova Bhattacharya, who brings her classical bharatanatyam training into the world of contemporary dance with elegance and authority. Through a varied and acclaimed repertoire - which includes creations from Bhattacharya, Peggy Baker, Mika Kurosawa, Dana Gingras, José Navas, Menaka Thakkar, and Laurence Lemieux - audiences are exposed to an expanse of movement drawn from classical vocabulary, integrated with improvised movement, rigorously structured and performed with passion and precision.

Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Bhattacharya has developed an intriguing body of work - ranging from full length classical recitals to powerful contemporary solos and duets - that showcases today’s bharatantayam and Canadian contemporary dance with a South Asian sensibility. Her performances have struck a deep emotional chord with audiences and critics alike, and have been presented by Canada’s National Arts Centre, Toronto's Danceworks and Kalanidhi Fine Arts, Vancouver's Dancing on the Edge, Tokyo’s An Creative and at fabrik Potsdam / 17th Potsdamer Tanztage – International Festival of Contemporary Dance.

Through the creation and presentation of powerful humanistic dance works in collaboration with choreographers, composers and visual designers, the company invites audiences to embrace dance for the visceral experience it can offer.

"[Nova Bhattacharya] dances with a kick-ass authority that brings a contemporary edge to classical Indian dance."

- eye Weekly

"Bhattacharya ... smoulders ... She is a born storyteller and a purveyor of moods, her intense eyes holding the watcher in their grip, while her expressive, compact body radiates emotion."

- The Globe & Mail

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This happened.

Broken Lines, my first work on dancers trained in bharatanatyam.  I’ve been imaging working with bharatanatyam dancers since 2011, and it was incredibly gratifying to finally do it!  Neena Jayarajan and Atri Nundy come from two different training lineages, and putting them in the same room was electrifying.  It was a down and dirty three-week process that pushed them to the limits of their endurance while giving them the opportunity to dig deep into their own font of physical knowledge.  On one level the work in itself is simple, a tightly structured improv with set landmarks to hit - without benefit of a musical score.  On another level, the work is a rigorous reformation of classical technique.  Two strong women, embodying a range of female relationships, playing with, and repossessing their dance vocabulary to make bold new statements.  This happened.  Something new has begun.

I’m baaaaaaaack!

I just spent 21 glorious days on the beautiful island of Bali, Indonesia.  I was researching the impact of cultural tourism on the development  of contemporary practice in dance, establishing a writing practice, and capital R REJUVENATING!  I was there courtesy of Ontario Arts Council’s National and International Residency Program (with a little help from ye old piggy bank!).  So grateful for the opportunity to ask questions, scratch at itches and take a break.  So appreciative of a program that supports curiosity, and the need for artists to change their surroundings from time to time.  Some pics from the last day, and the poem they inspired:


Congratulations to our friend Vivine Scarlett, recipient of this year's Dance Ontario Lifetime Achievement Award!  Here we are at the Mayor's Arts Awards Lunch earlier this year.  Vivine and I used to dance the Folk Arts Circuit in our younger days, we've worked together and partied together!  Incredible artist, visionary, and role model - so happy that she is being recognized for all her blood, sweat and tears.vivine and nova

The Work