The Company

Nova Dance

Founded by Nova Bhattacharya in 2008, Nova Dance’s goal is to integrate bharatnatyam into contemporary Canadian expression, using bharatnatyam as our baseline for telling new stories, and radically reimagining ways to share the vitality of a fantastically multi-disciplinary form. Dance, music, theatre, ritual practice, math - bharatnatyam has it all.  Steps, recitation, acting, movements for eyelids, cheeks, fingers, eyebrows and more – we take all these things as creative inspiration for a body of work that has garnered awards, national and international recognition, and most importantly made connections with audiences and communities.

""...radical work that pulls apart notions of power, tradition and ritual, puncturing exoticism and querying the contemporary.""

- Summerworks 2016 Jury Statement for Best Director: Nova Bhattacharya, Broken Lines

Board Members

Kiru Ratnasingham

Surety Underwriter, The Guarantee Company of North America.

Board President

Giselle Clarke-Trenaman

Stage Manager

Board Secretary

Ross Paton

Project Manager

Board Treasurer

Ballu Thakur

Professor Special Events Planning Program George Brown College

Devyani Saltzman

Author, curator, and journalist



Began creation process for Svāhā, the company’s most epic work to date premiering October 2020 at Meridian Hall (formerly Sony Centre) with the support of the National Creation Fund and Canada Council; brought on new team members Briana Brown as Administrative Producer, Ayelen LiberonaSvāhā Creative Producer, and Kristyn GelfandSvāhā Production Coordinator; continued relationship with the Theatre Centre allowing space and opportunity for celebrations of Durga Puja, Saraswati Puja,and Purnima Pushpanjali with Nova Dance and Theatre Centre communities; another successful iteration of the Deep End Weekend (now at The Theatre Centre) with Cole Alvis, Franco Boni, Sylvia Hamilton, Gitanjali Kolanad, Enakshi Sinha, Peter Chin, Brandy Leary, Zab Maboungo, Suma Nair, Gerry Trentham; presented M3 a tribute to Menaka Thakkar, as part of her induction into the Encore! Dance Hall of Fame; established a book club of self-directed study and sharing of texts related to dances of the South Asian diaspora; participated in Metcalf Foundation’s inaugural Staging Change program exchanging ideas and inspiration alongside 13 other Toronto-based arts organizations; performed and participated in CPAMO’s The Gathering; premiered Elemental as part of Anandam Dancetheatre’s Contemporaneity 3.0; connected with dancers and led workshops in Vancouver through a partnership with Magnetic North & Mandala Arts & Culture; continued our relationship with TO Live for a second year of Discover Dance featuring 9 dancer/choreographers (Travis Knights, Emily Cheung, Jasmyn Fyffe, Louis Laberge-Côté, Norma Araiza, Hanna Kiel, Ashley Perez, Yvonne Ng, Nivedha Ramalingam) and an associated presentation of Gandini Juggling's Sigma.


Sponsored participation in Volcano Theatre’s Conservatory course Artistic Directors of the Future for Meera Krishnanand Kanageswaran, Neena Jayarajan, Suma Nair and Atri Nundy; performances of Calm Abiding as part of Compagnie Flak’s season in Montreal; Team Leader at Volcano Theatre’s InFORMING CONTENT in Kingston, Ontario; Creative Consulting with Neena Jayarajan; performance of Jatiswaram Remix (Bhattacharya/Jayarajan/Nundy) at Body Percussion Festival in Toronto; Launch of Studio Series at The Citadel Toronto; Launch of Discover Dance in partnership with Civic Theatres Toronto (Neena Jayarajan, Gein Wong, Natasha Powell, Atri Nundy, Parul Gupta); Invited Speaker at Beyond Culture Shock symposium jointly hosted by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport, Ministry Citizenship and Immigration, and the Ismaili Council for Ontario; performances of Decoding Bharatnatyam as part of Bright Nights series at The Citadel in Toronto; Awarded Pink Attitude “Game Changer Artist” honour; Leadership Fellow at Business for the Arts Canadian Arts Summit in Banff; Invited Speaker at Potential of Repertoire in Contemporary Dance symposium hosted by Toronto Dance Theatre; invited into Long Term Relationship with The Theatre Centre; Date with Dance presented in partnership with Arts Etobicoke, Stonegate Community Health Centre, Kalaikovil Academy of Fine Arts in Stouffville.


Remount of Blue Ceiling Dance/Lucy Rupert’s Alaap for Urban Vessels’ Arts in the Parks programming; Choreographic Intensive co-facilitation with 10 Gates Dancing; Premiere of Broken Lines (duet for Neena Jayarajan & Atri Nundy) at Summerworks Performance Festival (Toronto); Guest Artist, Peggy Baker Dance Project’s The Perfect Word; Choreography for Cahoots Theatre’s The Enchanted Loom; Premiere of Infinite Storms as part of The Theatre Centre’s Dance Card series; mentorship for Atri Nundy; choreographic consulting with Neena Jayarajan; member of the Canada Council for the Art’s delegation to the IETM (Romania) - International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts; creation residency at Toronto Dance Theatre; Date with Dance presentations in partnership with Anuradha Sen, Esmerelda Enrique Spanish Dance Company, Sampradaya Dance Creations, Cahoots Theatre, OISE, Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, and Confidance Bharatnatyam; Deep End Weekend II with partner Tarragon Theatre.


Year 3 Metcalf Foundation Strategic Initiative - Group Creation Laboratory; Remount of Blue Ceiling Dance/Lucy Rupert’s Alaap for Urban Vessels’ Singing River; presentation of Akshongay at the Prismatic Festival (Nova Scotia); partnership with Dancer Transition Resource Centre - Artisitc Director and contracted dancers presented at  Arzoo Dance Theatre’s Angikam symposium on the topic of “Transitioning into a professional career in dance”;  mentorship for Nivedha Ramalingam; invited speaker International Society for the Performing Arts’ New York Congress – “Who’s footing the bill & what’s the cost”; invited speaker Province of Ontario, Cultural Strategy Town Hall – “Art and its function in a vital society”; presentation of Akshongay as part of Coleman Lemiuex & Co’s inaugural Bright Nights series (Toronto); member of the Canada Council for the Art’s delegation to the IETM (Netherlands) - International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts; invited speaker Navadisha International Dance Conference (United Kingdom) – Professional development, Mentoring & Career progression; The DeepEnd Weekend – a two day professional development immersive experience for dancers trained in Indian Classical dance styles.


East Coast Tour of Date with Dance (Fredericton, Moncton, Annapolis Royal, Saint John); Choreography for Tarragon Theatre's production of Abyss; Performance of Akshongay at The Burlington Centre for the Performing Arts; Choreography and performance in Tarragon Theatre's production of Much Ado About Nothing; Year 2 Metcalf Foundation Strategic Initiative - Group Creation Laboratory.


Creation residences at Brock Centre for the Arts (St. Catharines, Ontario), Vancouver East Cultural Centre (British Columbia) and Place des Arts (Montreal, Quebec); performance and presentation at Kendu Hearth (Kampala, Uganda); performances of Date with Dance in Dryden, Sioux Lookout, Kirkland Lake & Deep River (Ontario);  performance at Dance in Vancouver; peformances of Akshongay at Kalanidhi International Dance Festival (Toronto) and Canada Dance Festival (Ottawa); performances at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre; premiere of Sonic Anthem created for the second year students at School of Toronto Dance Theatre; teaching and creation at Pulse conference and; guest speaker at  The Ada Slaight Youth Arts Mentorship Program; Year 1 Metcalf Foundation Strategic Initiative - Group Creation Laboratory.


Performances of Calm Abiding (choreographer José Navas) at Prismatic Festival, Nova Scotia; Choreographic Monitor for Sampradaya Dance Creations’ ChoreoIntense; Residency at Place des Arts, Quebec for DVOTE (co-production with Noam Gagnon/Vision Impure); Premiere of Alaap – solo commission from Lucy Rupert/Blue Ceiling Dance; Artist in Residence at Toronto’s Heliconian Club; Presentations of Date with Dance for Danceworks, The Toronto Military Family Resource Centre, Soulpepper Theatre Co.’s March Break program, Menaka Thakkar Dance Company, Amesbury Park Library and The Toronto Heliconian Club; World Premiere of Akshongay co-created with Louis Laberge- Côté presented by Danceworks and nominated for four Dora Mavor Moore Awards (choreography, performance, lighting design and sound design); year one of the company’s Creation Lab project with four classical bharatanatyam dancers and three modern/ballet dancers.


Master Teacher for Sampradaya Dance Creation’s Dance Intense; company’s inaugural Creation Lab with mixed cast of bharatanatyam and modern trained dancers; performances for Culture Days and Canadian Opera Company Lunchtime Concert Series (Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre); premiere of Red & Yellow, ensemble work for Dancemakers’ winter season; selected to participate in UK based Dance East’s Rural Retreats for artistic leadership in dance; presentation of Date with Dance at the Registry Theatre, Waterloo; workshop presentation of The Draupadi Project at Theatre Passe Muraille’s Buzz Festival; awarded the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award for outstanding artistic achievement in dance.


Invited to teach Bharatanataym for Contemporary Expression for Sampradaya Dance Creation’s Dance Intense; performances of Calm Abiding at Dancing on the Edge, Vancouver, Ontario Dances, Toronto, Cultural Pluralism in the Performing Arts Town Hall, Ottawa and Kalanidhi Fine Arts Festival of Contemporary Indian Dance, Toronto; invited choreographer for Theatre Direct’s fall youth program; showcasing of co-production with Peggy Baker Dance Projects whole wide world at Canadian Arts Presenting Association, Ottawa and TO Connect Toronto; performances of whole wide world featuring maskura, Map of the Known World (2002 commission from Peggy Baker) and the world premiere Aleatoric Duet #1 (choreography Peggy Baker, performers Baker and Bhattacharya) presented by Brock Centre for the Arts, St. Catharines, Ontario; performance of Related Fragments Remix at Dance Ontario’s DanceWeekend, Toronto; invited to present mixed repertoire solo program Sleight of Hand by the Arden Theatre, St. Albert, Edmonton and New Works, Vancouver, B.C.; presentation of Date with Dance at the Chatham Cultural Centre, Chatham, Ontario; invited to moderate Groundbreaking Audience Development: Diversity for the 21st Century panel at the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) Congress, Toronto; works in development include a duet co-created with Louis Laberge-Côté supported by the Toronto Arts Council; The Draupadi Project with playright Sharada Eswar supported by Incubate (Toronto Arts Council/Luminato); a new work with Vancouver’s Noam Gagnon supported by New Works Vancouver and The Shadbolt Centre for the Arts.


Commissioned by The Canada Dance Festival Society (Ottawa) & Danceworks (Toronto) to premiere Isolated Incidents, a full evening work created in collaboration with Ed Hanley (music) and Marc Parent (lighting). Invited into residency by Dancemakers’ Artistic Director Michael Trent for the company’s ResearchLab program. Performances at: Dance Intense (Sandra Faire and Ivan Fecan Theatre, Toronto), Hysteria (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Toronto) and Canadian Opera Company, Lunchtime Concert Series (Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre). Co-presentation with Theatre Direct Canada of Date with Dance.


Invited to present solo program Incantations (choreography by Bhattacharya, José Navas, Peggy Baker & Laurence Lemieux) by Live Art Dance Productions (Halifax) and Tanz!Heilbronn (Germany); tours with Dusk Dances to six Ontario cities and Vancouver; invited to teach Bharatanatyam for Contemporary Expression for Menaka Thakkar Dance Company’s Dance Advance; presents Edge Effect at The Needle Exchange presented by Buddies in Bad Times Theatre; premieres Unspoken at Contemporary Choreography in Indian Dance presented by Kalanidhi Fine Arts and Menaka Thakkar Dance Company; presentation of a full length solo program, Primary View at Vancouver International Dance Festival; invited to North Bay by The Capitol Theatre as part of their Ontario Dances! project; performs Related Fragments Remix at New Waves Festival presented by the Young Centre & Luminato and at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s Cheap Queers.


Bhattacharya is commissioned to create an ensemble work (Related Fragments) for Toronto Dance Theatre’s Four at the Winch program; Calm Abiding is presented by Potsdamer Tanztage, International Festival for Contemporary Dance (Germany), Dance Ontario (Toronto) and the Canada Dances showcase (Montreal); Bhattacharya receives a Dora Mavor Moore Nomination for Outstanding Performance (Calm Abiding); tours with Dusk Dances to six Ontario cities; participates in!’07! international dance exchange (Brollin, Germany) appearing in work by Kinya Tsuruyama & Miki Sato; invited by Menaka Thakkar to present maskura in Thakkar’s production of Moving to Rhythm; presents Edge Effect at Nightwood Theatre’s Femcab.


The National Arts Centre co-produces Calm Abiding (solo commission from José Navas) premieres at the Canada Dance Festival. Invited into residency at the Dancemakers Centre for Creation for the development of Gold Moon a duet choreographed by Tokyo’s Mika Kurosawa for Bhattacharya and Jenn Goodwin. World Premiere of Gold Moon as part of Dance Selection Festival, Setagaya Arts Centre, Tokyo, Japan. Danceworks and Peterborough New Dance present Bhattacharya’s production of Out of Bounds – the program includes performances by Bhattacharya and Jenn Goodwin and choreography by José Navas, Dana Gingras, Mika Kurosawa and Jenn Goodwin.


maskura is presented by the Kalanidhi International Dance Festival. Bhattacharya is one of 12 artists invited to participate in Peggy Baker Dance Projects’ Choreographer’s Trust project. Ma is included in Dusk Dances 10-year retrospective and tours to 6 Ontario cities. Bhattacharya presents a new work Eclipse at the inaugural Hysteria Festival of Women, Buddies in Bad Times, appears as a guest artist in Kaeja d’Dance’s Six women, Six solos project and is awarded a Chalmers Fellowship for artistic research.


Canada Dance Festival commissions Bhattacharya to create a solo (Metamorphine) for the 2002 festival as part of the Fresh Voices program. 2000 Dusk Dances commission Ma tours to Ottawa and Vancouver, maskura is presented by Dancing on the Edge, Vancouver. Toronto’s Danceworks presents Bhattacharya’s production of Alankar as part of its Mainstage Series. The program includes performances by Bhattacharya and Natasha Bakht and choreography by Bhattacharya, Peggy Baker, Natasha Bakht, Menaka Thakkar and Roger Sinha and is pronounced one of the Top Ten Shows of 2002 by Eye Weekly and Now Magazine.


Bhattacharya’s solo maskura is presented at Series 8:08 Season Finale, Desh Pardesh and the Canada Dance Festival. Commissioned by Dusk Dances to premiere a new work for the 2000 festival. Bhattacharya’s production of Marga plays to sold out audiences in Toronto and is one of ten programs presented by The Canadian Museum of Civilization in Quebec as part of their India the Living Arts series.