“A Day in the Life” with dancer & choreographer Nova Bhattacharya

Joel Levy from the Toronto Guardian profiles "A Day in the Life" of Nova as she prepares to present Decoding Bharatnatyam at Citadel+Compagnie's Bright Night series from February 14 - 17.

Nova talks Decoding Bharatnatyam

Listen to CBC Metro Morning's Matt Galloway interview Nova about her company's upcoming show, Decoding Bharatnatyam, at the Citadel Theatre from February 14 - 17.


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.

Watch the full length move here.

Ritual Traces

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:

Living Ritual

We arrive at the water’s edge, the sun shone brightly in a clear blue sky.
Ancient rites of greeting to start the day…do you come in peace? Do you come in good peace?

The woman who has brought us together, shares the voices of a younger generation. The woman who has brought us together invites voices from distant lands.
A guest says that the concrete makes his heart cry for our land.
A guest says that if we are ever on his land, he will take care of us.
We are given eagle feathers to wipe away our tears.
We are given water to slake our thirst.
We are asked to be mindful of what we bring to the circle.
We hold hands, and we dance.

Each day we are provoked with consideration, and generosity.
We are told we are respected.
We are assured that we are all in it together.

We learn that some stories say that the moon is a man, running to chase the sun.
We learn that other stories say the moon is a wise old woman.
We feel the joy of creation tales filled with pleasure.
We sense the logic of tales that embrace the natural world.

We sit in a room where a painting of four white bodies looms in dominance; we hear accounts of wrongdoings wreaked across the world by colonizers.
We sit in a room that has been transformed by the woman who has brought us together. Her daughter sings there with her friends each day.

We listen to people telling us who they are – their mothers, and their fathers, their lands, and their waters.

We watch the work of artists whose hearts, minds and viscera are pulsing with each gesture, and breath.
We see our humanity; we see the spirit of all creatures.
We bear witness to the power of embodied art.

Living – the act of being alive
Ritual – ceremonies that involve a series of actions

To live is to take action. What actions will we take?

Do we come in peace?
Do we come in good peace?

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!