Founded by Nova Bhattacharya and based in Toronto, Nova Dance is a radically imaginative, bharatnatyam-inspired, contemporary dance company.

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.  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

Interested in Svāhā?


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Coming to Meridian Hall (formerly the Sony Centre) on October 18, 2020.

Nova Dance at Uptown Moves

Coming to the Lyric Thetare on May 30, 2020!


Svaha Story - Rachana Joshi

"It was extremely empowering and invigorating as an aspiring dance artist with an Indian Classical foundation to explore familiar movements in bharatanatyam through a new lens. When your dance vocabulary has been the same for 12 years, its refreshing and challenging to break out of the "autopilot" and cultivate an altered approach to my traditional practice... I enjoyed the patterns of precise limb configurations we were given, which focused on the functionality of the body. I was able to challenge my body to breakdown and reconfigure how my body moves through these deceptively simple positions. I also was given a new perspective on approaching practices of the namaskaaram and the allaripu to reorganize my body, center my energy, and improvise to find new possibilities and pathways in my movements. I am really thankful for the opportunity to embrace my traditional practice and have such a fun, engaging time with the awesome like minded individuals around me."

Svaha Story - Ashima Suri

"As a local dance artist from an Indian classical background, getting a sense of belonging in the Toronto dance scene wasn't always easy to say the least. Coming into Nova Dance I felt my sense of purpose. And it really began from the moment we began our daily sessions. 

A Durga for our Times

From October 15-19, 2018 Nova Dance is bringing Durga Puja to The Theatre Centre. I should say that we are bringing what I think of as ‘the essence’ of Durga Puja to The Theatre Centre. For me, more than a religious ceremony, attending Durga Puja in Toronto was about watching community come together. Swathed in resplendent saris, preparing (and later consuming) offerings to the warrior goddess, catching up with friends and an overwhelming sense of belonging. All these things are also the inspiration for my new work Svāhā. In the same space where we’ll have the Puja, my collaborators and I will dive into its creation.  The Puja is part of our research into the sense of heightened emotion that bring participants together and connect them to something beyond themselves.

The Work