Vancouver draws Indian classical dancers

Published: October 17, 2013
Vancouver

Richmond’€™s Rena Boggaram knew she wanted to be an Indian classical dancer at age nine. Submitted Photo

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Richmond’s Rena Boggaram can fondly remember childhood outings with her mom to watch classical Indian dance performances whenever the dancers came to B.C.

But it wasn’t until she was nine-years-old that she saw Jai Govinda, now artistic director of Vancouver’s Mandala Arts and Culture, perform that she was inspired to become a dancer.

“He was pure classical (Indian dance) and I fell in love with the art form,” Boggaram said. “I saw him perform and I told my mom, ‘That’s what I want to do.’”

Fortunately, Govinda moved from Montreal to Vancouver in 1994 and opened his own dance academy. Boggaram, who was one of his first students, today teaches alongside him.

Boggaram will be performing kathak, the northern Indian classical dance form, at Mandala Arts and Culture’s fourth annual Gait to the Spirit Festival, a celebration of Indian classical dance, which runs Oct. 18 to 20 at Davie Street’s Scotiabank Dance Centre.

The festival will see acclaimed performers from across Canada, the U.S., and India, who Boggaram is eager to perform alongside. She’s even more excited for her students to see the live shows.

“In the past 15 years we’ve been having less and less good quality Indian, especially classical, dance performers coming [to Vancouver],” she said. “So the Gait to the Spirit festival is a rare opportunity for you to see some of the world’s top dancers from India and around the world.

“If you’re not surrounded by the dance form or you don’t get to see it on a frequent basis it almost loses its meaning sometimes . . . the more you can experience, watch it and learn from other artists, the more you can learn as an artist.”

And it’s for this reason Govinda started the festival four years ago.

“For a young ballet dancer here, they go see Ballet B.C— but such opportunities for Indian dance are very rare,” he said. “Although we have a lot of local performers perform throughout the year, there are very, very few top professional dancers of the classical dance style who come to Vancouver.”

So this year’s Gait to the Spirit festival boasts performances by such première dancers as Sujata Mohapatra, daughter-in-law of Padma Vibushan guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, both “legendary” masters of the odissi classical dance style. Southern Indian classical dancers Navia Natarajan from the U.S. and Canadian Bhavajan Kumar, who is now based in India, will also be performing.

“We’re lucky to bring such talent to Vancouver,” Govinda said.

The festival also has a lot to offer to those unfamiliar with the art form.

“The language of the hand gestures, the footwork, the bells around the feet of the dancers, the intricate rhythm, the haunting Indian music,” Govinda said.

“It is so refined, so highly structured, very graceful.”

Tickets for the festival are available from Banyan Books at 3608 W. 4th Ave. For more information visit mandalarts.ca.

Gait to the Spirit Festival schedule:
Oct. 18: Navia Natarajan, Bhavajan Kumar perform bharata natyam, 8 p.m., $22 students/seniors, $25 adult.
Oct. 19: Sujata Mohapatra performs odissi, 8 p.m., $22 students/seniors, $25 adult.
Oct. 19: Encounter with the artists with Navia Natarajan and Bhavajan Kumar, 1 p.m., free.
Oct. 20: Parul Gupta (Toronto), Nritya Manjaree Dancers (including Boggaram) perform kathak, 1:30 p.m., pay what you can.
Oct. 20: Dance class with Sujata Mohapatra, 6:30 to 9:30p.m., $30.

Tags: , , , , ,




Featured

guru-sacrifice

Indian guru lynched after beheading boy, 5, in suspected child sacrifice

IANS Guwahati – Simmering tension prevailed in Assam after a guru sacrificed a five-year-old boy to appease the God of death and was later lynched by…
Continue Reading »

PAK ATTACK

Officials: Gunmen hijack buses in Pakistan, kill 19 passengers and battle security forces

ABDUL SATTAR THE ASSOCIATED PRESS QUETTA, Pakistan — Around 20 armed men hijacked two buses in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province, killed 19 passengers and battled…
Continue Reading »

premature babies

Canadian pediatricians recommend letting 22-week-old preemies die. Should doctors try to save the tiny newborns?

TOM BLACKWELL POSTMEDIA NEWS Measuring just 10 inches long, Carter Lake should never have made it past his first few desperate hours outside the womb….
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

premature babies

Canadian pediatricians recommend letting 22-week-old preemies die. Should doctors try to save the tiny newborns?

TOM BLACKWELL POSTMEDIA NEWS Measuring just 10 inches long, Carter Lake should never have made it past his first few desperate hours outside the womb….
Continue Reading »

Surrey MP Nina Grewal

Tory safety minister praises Surrey MP Nina Grewal for helping make Surrey safer

TOM ZYTARUK SURREY NOW OTTAWA — Canada’s Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney has thanked his Conservative colleague Nina Grewal, MP for Fleetwood-Port Kells, for…
Continue Reading »

Editorial Exchange: Voluntary CPP payments no fix

By Winnipeg Free Press THE CANADIAN PRESS An editorial from the Winnipeg Free Press, published May28: High principles and foreign policy have never been easy…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

sexy legs and breasts

Men prefer brains over big breasts and long legs: Study

IANS London – What do men prefer, beauty or brains? According to a British evolutionary biologist, men prefer intelligence over big breasts and long legs…
Continue Reading »

blood sugar-desi

South Asian people poor at managing diabetes

IANS London – Limited knowledge of diabetes and the belief that the state of their health is out of their control has led to poor…
Continue Reading »

Aga Khan

PM Harper, Aga Khan discuss threat posed by violent extremists

VANCOUVER DESI Prime Minister Stephen Harper expressed his condolences to the Aga Khan Tuesday for the recent terrorist attack on the Ismaili community in Pakistan. The spiritual…
Continue Reading »

tallest man-India-desi

India’s tallest man spends his days in a cage-like structure posing for photos at an amusement park

VANCOUVER DESI Life is not easy for India’s tallest man Dharmendra Singh, who stands at 8-ft 1-inch, his height being the biggest barrier for his career and…
Continue Reading »

indian summer

It’s so hot in India right now the roads are literally melting

At least 1,100 dead in month-long heatwave THE ASSOCIATED PRESS & NATIONAL POST STAFF It’s so hot in India right now that the streets are…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Sunny Leone

Celina Jaitley says Sunny Leone “drove me to seek legal help”

VANCOUVER DESI AND HINDUSTAN TIMES Indo-Canadian actress Sunny Leone, who was living in a house owned by Bollywood actress and activist Celina Jaitley, has been…
Continue Reading »

Ramleela Bollywood

Bollywood babe Deepika Padujone finds rumoured beau Ranveer Singh ‘incredible’ in ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’

IANS Mumbai – Deepika Padukone is “blown away” after watching Zoya Akhtar’s film “Dil Dhadakne Do”, and she is especially impressed by rumoured beau Ranveer…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood badshah tweets first look of Salman Khan's Bajrangi Bhaijaan

Bollywood gives ‘blockbuster alert’ post ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ teaser

IANS Mumbai – There is style, glamour, action, energetic music and dance — all packed in one. The teaser of Salman Khan’s next “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”…
Continue Reading »