Founded by Nova Bhattacharya and based in Toronto, Nova Dance expands the cultural space for the evolution of bharatnatyam.

The Company

At Nova Dance we love to find ways to use bharatnatyam as our baseline for telling unique stories, and exploring new ways to share this powerful art form.  Dance, music, theatre, ritual practice, math - bharatnatyam has it all.  Steps, recitation, acting, movements for eyelids, cheeks, fingers, and eyebrows - there is so much to be inspired by.  

Nova Dance is led by Nova Bhattacharya, the first graduate of Nrytyakala, The Canadian Academy of Indian Dance; Artistic Director Dr. Menaka Thakkar – and she furthered her studies with the late Guru Kittapa Pillai, and Smt. Kalanidhi Narayan.  A desire to create and perform works that moved beyond classical repertoire led her down an exhilarating path of exploration and collaboration with artists including Peggy Baker Dana Gingras, Jenn Goodwin, Ed Hanley, Sasha Ivanochko, Mika Kurosawa, Louis Laberge-Côté, Laurence Lemieux, José Navas, Tedd Robinson, and Dan Wild.  She has created works for Toronto Dance Theatre, Blue Ceiling Dance/Lucy Rupert, and Dancemakers.  Recent work in theatre includes Abyss, and Much Ado About Nothing  (Tarragon), and The Enchanted Loom (Cahoots).  She has been nominated for 3 Dora Mavor Moore Awards, and twice for the KM Hunter Award.  In 2012 she was the winner of the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award for artistic achievement in dance, and in 2016 was awarded the Summerworks Outstanding Direction Award for Broken Lines (a duet for Neena Jayarajan & Atri Nundy).  

"a dancer and choreographer of fierce intelligence and integrity with a delightfully wicked sense of humour."

- Bridget Cauthery, The Dance Current

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Upcoming

Decoding Bharatnatyam at the Citadel Feb 14 - 17

A mixed program of work sharing Nova’s ongoing passion for digging deepling into bharatnatyam technique, and riffing off the baseline to create something entirely new.

Blog

Twists, turns and new journey’s in collaboration

Tabla player extraordinaire Ed Hanley and I were commissioned to create a short film for RT Collective’s Screen Moves earlier this year, and it seemed like a no-brainer.  Ed and I have been working together for 20 (!) years, and on top of that, he's been diving into photography and film in recent years, making some kick-ass trailers for Nova Dance.  When we tried to make a plan for what to film though, we were stumped.  We knew we wanted to do something simple that would revolve around the iconography of bharatnatyam, but the “what” kept eluding us, and the “why” was definitely being coy.  Finally, we went back to the beginning of our creative relationship - his music, and my dance.  Ed created a short version of his work Chartal, which I’d originally used for a piece I’d made for The School of Toronto Dance Theatre a few years back.  I worked with the music, pursuing an ongoing fascination with ritual practice in bharatnatyam, and the use of the body as a filtration device for emotions.  Ed watched me dance it, and I saw everything falling into place for him as the inspiration finally struck.  We’re quite proud of our first foray into dance film, and are excited by Ritual Traces' potential to take space for Canadian art, while being rooted in art forms that originated in India.

Living Ritual

In July 2017, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre produced Living Ritual, an International Indigenous Performing Arts Festival in order to "open a space to honour our interconnectivity and interdependence.” Santee Smith (Kaha:wi’s founding Artistic Director) invited artists from across Turtle Island (Canada, United States), Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Australia, to gather, celebrate and promote global Indigenous dance and theatre. I was fortunate to be able to attend, and I wrote these words in response:

Our final speaker - Anjali Patil

Anjali Patil and I have been crossing paths for almost 20 years, and yet I BARELY know her - part of the reason I dreamt up A Day in the Life was so that I could get to know more about artists whose work has always drawn me in.  Anjali is one of those artists. Anjali has always impressed me because she has just been doing it: doing the practice, doing the work – and she’s been doing it in Ottawa, and in India, and frankly who knows where else?  She has a story about me that she’s planning to share (I had forgotten all about it!), so now I’m a little scared about what else she might remember that I don’t… She’s an award-winning artist, a stunning performer, and an inspired choreographer – and she’s the final speaker we have to introduce you to because it is almost here….the Deep End Weekend is this weekend!  We’ve got a few participant spots left, so connect with kiru {AT} novadance {DOT} ca if you want to join us!

The Work