Blog

It was good while it lasted...

Thud – the sound of Nova falling off the blog wagon!

It is hard to be pithy and witty when there is so much going on in the world, and in life, and in the lives of my friends.  And yet, there is also so much love and care in the world as well.  This is a huge part of what obsesses me, compelling me to make art.  The work I create is meant to offer a space for the audience to reflect, consider, hope and dream.  There is truth in the body.  Dance as poetry, a means to express turmoil and peace, joy and calm, life and death. 

Nova Dance has been busy, here’s a pic of me, Atri and Neena “Team BN” at an “all styles exchange” hosted by the Toronto Urban Dance Culture Festival & Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists.  Neena made it all the way to the top four in the footwork jam!

The Perfect Word for Dad

When I was seven, this man started driving me to dance classes.  Classes, rehearsals, performances - over the years he did a lot of driving. If you have ever been to see my work, you’ve probably seen him (and my mom!).  A closet poet, my dad leapt at the chance to help me translate text for Peggy Baker’s 2014 Nuit Blanche installation - The Perfect Word.  My word was heart - hridoy in Bengali.  My Bengali is pretty good, but it was fun to bribe my dad with brunch to get him to check my ucharon (pronunciation).  Dhonobad Baba!  Thanks Dad! Catch The Perfect Word as part of the in/Future festival on the west island of the abandoned Ontario Place site, Sept 15 -18. Info and tickets at infuture.ca

Baba

This happened.

Broken Lines, my first work on dancers trained in bharatanatyam.  I’ve been imagining 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.

BrokenLines

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:

This morning, the curtain was announced for 6:34am, the moon lingers, hoping to catch a glimpse. The sun, takes her time, first sending out a gentle pink glow to light the stage. The clouds are on call, hovering in eager anticipation, they are light, they are dark, they are grey, they are white, they are whatever she commands them to be. An ombre orb of pink and orange rises from the water, one resplendent moment of a perfect circle, emerging from the watery horizon, before she summons the clouds to embrace her. The edges of the clouds glisten with her brightness, she burns, she dims, she flirts with the moon. Three times she appears, then disappears. For a moment, she splits the sky – rose and purple below her, white and blue above. The peaks of the crashing waves explode into the air, their thunderous applause demands her presence. She has the moon in her sights, casting an orange beam to cleave him to her. He shines in her light, watches longingly as she dances with the clouds. She appears long enough to cast a shimmering path in the water, I think it an invitation and swim towards her. The water is shallow, the reeds stop me – wait, they say, stand in the shifting sand, close your eyes and feel her heat, let it seep into your soul, swallow her gold, let her flames burn inside you. The water quickens around me, listen it says, listen to the song of the waves, the whisper of the wind, and the cries of the birds. The moon is still waiting, and so can you. I wait and watch as the sun finally deigns to dance with the fading moon, bathing him with her rays, allowing him to absorb her light. She reflects him back, becoming cool and calm – look at me she says, I am you. She turns my head to face the moon, it arcs with alarming speed, rushing to reach her inviting beams. My muscles spasm, my fingers are webbed, now she says, now you can start your day. I return to shore, it is 8:12am. The moon is gone. We have been released.

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CONGRATULATIONS VIVINE!

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