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Photo: Mansa Photography
About the company:
Menaka Thakkar Dance Company, Canada’s oldest Indian dance company was founded in 1978 as a performing wing for Menaka’s dance school, Nrtyakala, and later separately incorporated in 1993 as an independent performing company. The central artistic mandate embodies the vision of the Company’s functioning over a whole range of Indian dance, traditional and contemporary, involving creation of new works, presenting home seasons and touring. Besides the usual wing of new creation, the company has recently developed two special units of dance creation:one for contemporary choreography and the other for creating works for young audiences. The company also aims to emphasize and sustain its dancers’ training within and beyond the Indian dance traditions in which they are primarily rooted, so that they can effectively function in the shared domain with other dance traditions. The two specialized units that coordinate the activities towards these objectives are (i) MTDC Dance Lab; and (ii) DanceAdvance, a two-week training residency for professional development of the contemporary face of Indian dance.
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About the choreographer:
Menaka Thakkar is a master dancer in three classical Indian styles – Bharatanatyam, Odissi and Kuchipudi. She settled in Canada over 38 years ago at the peak of her career as an international soloist and is credited with having been the first artist to introduce Indian culture to Canadian audiences. Menaka Thakkar is the founder and Artistic Director of two Indian dance organizations, Menaka Thakkar Dance Company and Nrtyakala: The Canadian Academy of Indian Dance, with head offices in Toronto and branch studios in Thornhill and Brampton. Ms. Thakkar has created over 50 groundbreaking choreographic works which reflect both her exposure to western dance styles and her background in classical Indian dance and has collaborated with many of the best modern dancers in Canada. She is the recipient of many awards and honours including an honourary doctorate from York University, the Toronto Arts Foundation Face the Arts Award, EMCY, Canada’s Diversity Award, President’s Award from Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce, Choreographic Lab Award from Le Group de la Place Royale, Ottawa and the India Abroad Top 30 Power List., and recently a finalist of the 2011 Ontario Premiers Award.
November 11 – 12, 2011Dance
Menaka Thakkar Dance Company present the transplantation of a dance tradition. In the Further Soil captures through the journey of Menaka Thakkar both a sense of the form as well as the process of developing an Indian dancer in Canada.
In the second half, Menaka Thakkar returns to the Harbourfront Centre stage for a solo tribute to Rabindranath Tagore to mark his 150th anniversary.
“Menaka Thakkar is the doyenne of classical Indian dance who practically single-handedly brought Bharatanatyam to the mainstream.” – Paula Citron, Dance Critic
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