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

Abbotsford's Ravinder Singh Atwal has been identified online as the truck driver who died in a truck crash on Highway 99 near Delta on Wednesday. The Abbotsford father was killed when his dump truck hit the highway median and burst into flames. Submitted photo/Facebook.

Abbotsford trucker killed on Hwy 99 remembered as ‘one of the nicest guys’

GLENDA LUYMES VANCOUVER DESI An Abbotsford father killed in a fiery crash on Highway 99 is being remembered as hard-working and friendly by fellow truck…
Continue Reading »

A man reads the latest issue of French weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo bearing a cartoon of Prophet Mohammed at a French bookseller in Abidjan on January 19, 2015. SIA KAMBOU/AFP/Getty Images

Mumbai police arrest newspaper editor for reprinting Charlie Hebdo cartoon

VANCOUVER DESI Mumbai police have arrested and since bailed out the editor of an Urdu language newspaper for reprinting a Charlie Hebdo cartoon of the…
Continue Reading »

Indian spectators watch as a float carrying a sign that reads "Congratulations! It's a Baby Girl" passes by during the Indian Republic Day parade in New Delhi on January 26, 2015. The float represented India's Ministry of Women and Child Development.  An estimated 26 million babies are born anually in India, a country considered to be one of the worst places to be born a girl because of a societal 'gender gap' that favours boys and preferences for male children. ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images

Father in India arrested for attempted murder after trying to bury his daughter alive

VANCOUVER DESI A father in India has been arrested for attempted murder after he tried to bury his 10-year-old daughter alive, according to Britain’s Daily…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Abbotsford's Ravinder Singh Atwal has been identified online as the truck driver who died in a truck crash on Highway 99 near Delta on Wednesday. The Abbotsford father was killed when his dump truck hit the highway median and burst into flames. Submitted photo/Facebook.

Abbotsford trucker killed on Hwy 99 remembered as ‘one of the nicest guys’

GLENDA LUYMES VANCOUVER DESI An Abbotsford father killed in a fiery crash on Highway 99 is being remembered as hard-working and friendly by fellow truck…
Continue Reading »

Opposition Muted to Harper’s New Anti Terror Bill

BY Ujjal Dosanjh Special to Vancouver Province I smell an election coming. Not in October 2015; much sooner than that. Harper has just unveiled the…
Continue Reading »

Opposition parties treading carefully on new anti-terror legislation

By Stephanie Levitz THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — Anti-terrorism legislation introduced by the Conservative government Friday received a cautious reception by the opposition parties who…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Vancouver-BC

Raise your hand, send us a selfie and make a statement against racism (with video)

VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver Desi’s digital anti-racism campaign, Raise Your Hands Against Racism, officially kicked off Thursday, with people across the Lower Mainland sending in selfies…
Continue Reading »

File photo: Curry chicken on rice. Sam Leung/PNG

Spicy treats on menu as 8 chef teams battle for Vancouver’s second-annual Curry Cup

VANCOUVER DESI A group of Lower Mainland chefs are set to go head-to-head with their South Asian cooking skills as they gear up for Vancouver’s…
Continue Reading »

Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Sonu Sood and Boman Irani in a still from the Bollywood film Happy New Year.

Indian expat avoids stalking conviction by blaming Bollywood for his behaviour

IANS Sydney  – An Indian man’s excuse that Bollywood love stories encouraged him to excessively approach and stalk women helped him avoid conviction in the…
Continue Reading »

File photo: Commuters hang by doors of a crowded local train in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, July 8, 2014. Three men were killed on Monday after they attempted to take a selfie by a moving train near Agra. AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade

College students killed while attempting train selfie in India

VANCOUVER DESI Three college friends on their way to India’s Republic Day celebrations were killed by a speeding train after they tried posing for a…
Continue Reading »

Screen shot of Shah Rukh Khan's first video tweet. Submitted.

Shah Rukh Khan sends out India’s first tweet using Twitter’s new mobile video camera

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan was the first-ever Indian to use Twitter’s freshly launched mobile video camera. Twitter announced the new feature on…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Akshay Kumar

Askhay Kumar offers martial arts training to visually impaired girls

PRASHANT SINGH HINDUSTAN TIMES Last year, Akshay Kumar — who was a professional martial arts trainer before he started acting — launched an initiative to…
Continue Reading »

Shah Rukh Khan (L) and Kajol (R) are rumoured to be appearing in the next Rohit Shetty film. Getty Images.

Rohit Shetty tightlipped on SRK, Kajol casting rumours

IANS Mumbai — Bollywood’s blockbuster director Rohit Shetty is remaining tightlipped on rumours he’s managed to rope in a casting coup of Shah Rukh Khan…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood sex

Sonam Kapoor never planned to use her father’s fame to jumpstart her Bollywood career

IANS Mumbai  – It’s always thought that Bollywood’s star children have it easy, but actress Sonam Kapoor says that at the start of her film…
Continue Reading »