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Dance in Toronto: Citadel + Compagnie presents decoding bharatnatyam February 14-17 2018

From a media release:

Citadel + Compagnie presents decoding bharatnatyam,
an Evening of Works and Performance by
Toronto’s Award-Winning Nova Bhattacharya
February 14-17, 2018

Mesmerizing Triple Bill Celebrates Indian Language of Movement, Bharatnatyam,
as part of Contemporary Dance Lexicon 

Get Tickets

TORONTO, ON – Citadel + Compagnie (C+C) presents Toronto’s award-winning choreographer Nova Bhattacharya in decoding bharatnatyam, a triple bill illuminating contemporary Canadian bharatnatyam dance, February 14-17, 2018 at The Citadel: Ross Centre for Dance. This evening showcases the poeticism of an exquisite multi-disciplinary art form, bharatnatyam, through the choreography and performance of one of its most preeminent practitioners in Canada. Audiences will become immersed in two Bhattacharya works: Broken Lines (2016), and Alaap (2013), and will witness Bhattacharya perform in Calm Abiding, a 2006 commission from Montreal’s José Navas.
Photo by Ed Hanley
“The three choreographic works presented in decoding bharatnatyam create a sort of cultural and creative Venn diagram,” says choreographer Nova Bhattacharya. “They investigate the places where cultures overlap – where the influence of Indian dance produces fresh and exciting contemporary Canadian art.”

Citadel + Compagnie Artistic Director Laurence Lemieux added, “It is an honour to host Bhattacharya before our diverse audiences at The Citadel. As the founder of Nova Dance, she has been pivotal in transmitting the technique and knowledge of bharatnatyam in Canada and carving out its place in our contemporary dance vocabulary.”

Nova Bhattacharya - Photo by John Lauener
Winner of the Canada Council for the Arts’ Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award, Bhattacharya’s choreography is known for diving deep into lyrical, metaphorical, and mythic exaltations of the human spirit. As the first graduate of Nrytyakala, The Canadian Academy of Indian Dance, she studied under one of Canada’s most influential figures in Indian classical dance: Menaka Thakkar.

Bhattacharya’s desire to integrate the depth and breadth of bharatnatyam technique, reaching beyond iconic poses and intricate gestures, and investigating trance and transmission into modern cultural expression has driven her to exhilarating explorations and collaborations. She has over her career worked with a wide range of artists such as Peggy Baker, Mika Kurosawa, and José Navas.

Hailed as “a radical work that pulls apart notions of power, tradition and ritual,” Bhattacharya’s Broken Lines premiered at Summerworks in 2016. She describes this award-winning duet, which will be performed by acclaimed experts Neena Jayarajan & Atri Nundy as a “love letter to bharatnatyam dancers.”

Alaap, a term for the opening improvisation in Hindustani music, is a thoughtfully crafted meditation on the creation of the universe choreographed for Toronto-based dance artist Lucy Rupert in 2013. Known for her raw, articulate individualism and vulnerability in performance, Rupert has absorbed elements of bharatnataym into her physicality with stunning results.

Calm Abiding was created for Bhattacharya by Venezuela-born, Montreal-based contemporary choreographer José Navas, and premiered at the Canada Dance Festival in 2006. This compelling solo consists of pure dance and complete abstraction fuelled by a belief in the power of movement over words. Praised for her “entrancing personal intensity,” Bhattacharya will revisit this radical experiment combining Navas’ strict formalism with the technical precision of bharatnatyam.
Photo by Ed Hanley
About Citadel + Compagnie
Citadel + Compagnie, formerly Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie, was founded by Bill Coleman and Laurence Lemieux in 2000. This Toronto-based professional dance company creates, produces and presents works on local, national and international scales from its home base in a former Salvation Army Citadel in the Regent Park neighborhood of Toronto.

Named in honour of its cherished home at The Citadel, C+C has evolved from a husband-and-wife run company to a distinguished organization with a renewed mandate of fostering cultural participation and nurturing creative excellence. C+C encourages artistic risk and innovation through its performing arts series, Bright Nights, and tours accessible works of contemporary dance across Canada. By demonstrating fearless artistic leadership backed by strong community engagement, C+C has established itself as one of the leading companies of its kind in Canada.

After nine years as artistic director of the National Ballet of Canada (1996-2005), James Kudelka was named C+C’s resident choreographer in 2008. With C+C, he has revisited some of his greatest works and developed challenging new contemporary creations. Kudelka’s presence at C+C has elevated the company’s profile, and offered audiences a new platform to experience the work of one of the country’s finest choreographers.


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