June is when all music moves outdoors and Toronto desis finally ditch their toques

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Haviah Mighty performing

The 2018 MonsterWorldMashup is a two-day festival of music, comedy, and art happening in Brampton June 1-2. Hip-Hop artist Haviah Mighty is one of the performers at the concert taking place June 2 at the Garden Square in Brampton.

Friday, June 1-2

Event: MonsterWorld Mashup

Details: The folks that bring the #Bollywood Monster Mashup each year are offering a two-day festival of music, art, spoken word and more in Brampton. The MonsterWorld Mashup runs Friday, June 1, an exclusive ticketed event will feature series of comedy acts, an art show and yes, a secret concert. The action takes place at The Den, Sheridan College, Davis Campus, 7899 McLaughlin Rd. Brampton at 6 p.m.

Saturday, June 2 has the heavyweights such as Movin’ Cool, Stay Out Late, Los Poetas and HANHAN performing on stage at the Garden Square (outside Rose Theatre) at 5 p.m.

“We’re presenting unique acts who represent the changing voices and faces of the GTA,” says Vikas Kohli, executive director, MonstrARTity. “The June 1 launch party will be a unique experience for the audience with Brampton’s first-ever sofar secret concert and side-splitting comedy acts with comedians like Amish Patel, Keesha Brownie, Nitish Sakhuja, Crystal Ferrier, Chris Robinson and Paul Thompson. Most of all, it will be a great time, so join us.”

Contact: MonsterWorldMashup

Saturday, June 2

Event: desiFEST

Details: Now in its 12th year, desiFEST is a free event and is the largest South Asian Music Concert, taking place on Saturday, June 2 at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Contact: 2018 desiFest

Event: Vande Janani (A Tribute to Motherhood)

Details: Keralite Art Lovers Association (KALA) is hosting this dance concert by Divya Unni at the Erindale Secondary School, 2021 Dundas St. W. at 5:30 p.m.
Contact: Keralite Art Lovers Association

Saturday, June 9

Event: EID bazaar

Details: PGA International will be putting together its annual Eid Bazaar June 9 – 14 at the Swagat Banquet Hall, 6991 Millcreek Dr. Mississauga from 1 p.m. to midnight.
Contact: PGA’s EID bazaar

Thursday, June 14

Event: Through Her Lens

Details: A photo exhibit celebrating women of colour will take place at the Chinguacousy Library and Civic Centre, 150 Central Park Dr. in Brampton at 8:30 p.m.
Contact: Through Her Lens

Sunday, June 17

Event: SOCH workshop on coping with anxiety

Details: Supporting Our Community Health (SOCH), an organization host a series of mental health workshops, Sunday, June 17, at Chinguacousy Library and Civic Centre, 150 Central Park Dr. in Brampton from 1 to 3 p.m.

The idea is to increase awareness and education about anxiety and how it can be treated. These interactive workshops will take place in both English and Punjabi.

Contact: Supporting Our Community Health (SOCH) 

Tuesday, June 26

Event: Speed Dating

Details: This Mississauga speed-dating event for South Asians will take place 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at The Port House Social Bar & Kitchen, 139 Lakeshore Rd. E. Mississauga, ON L5G 1E5.
Contact: Mississauga Speed Dating

Event: Toronto Curry Awards

Details: Pukaar News UK will be hosting the first-ever Toronto Curry Awards from 6 p.m. until midnight at the Holiday Inn Toronto International Airport, 970 Dixon Rd., Toronto, ON M9W 1J9.
The awards will celebrate this rich heritage of curries to highlight the finest examples of South Asian cuisine and praising the restaurateurs dedicated to serving up our beloved curries.
Contact: Toronto Curry Awards

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10 things you should know about the 2018 International Film Festival of South Asia (IIFSA) Toronto, May 10-21

A booklet featuring IFFSA Toronto schedule
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The 2018 IIFSA Toronto taking place has a mix of commercial as well as arthouse films.

This year’s festival will include some 150 films in 15 languages, 50+ events across the 7 cities in the GTA over 12 days. Whew! That’s something.

Did you know?

Sunny Gill, the founder/president of International Film Festival of South Asia (IFFSA) Toronto was not an avid fan of films or music until five years ago?

Fate—and opportunity—threw Gill into taking on the helm at what he says is “one of the biggest film festivals in North America and the “voice of South Asians in Toronto.”

“I have always considered myself as a non-filmi person,” said Gill, an engineer/MBA professional. “I had not attended any film festival anywhere when we launched the IIFSA. So, when drew the blueprint, we did it from an audience perspective, but over the years now, we have learned that festivals are not just about a song and dance but they have to give certain values to the stakeholders and so that’s why we have the ‘seriousness’ of a festival.”

Here’s a curated list of 10 things from the 2018 IFSSA that will likely appeal to the desi audience here in the GTA

    1. Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi, The Lunchbox) starrer the Song of Scorpions will have its North American premiere in Toronto. The film also stars Waheeda Rahman (Guide, Pyaasa, and others) as well as Iranian actor Golshifteh Farahani (About Elly, Patterson). The film directed by Anup Singh will make its North American premiere at IIFSA Toronto. Screening happening on Thursday, May 10, at Cineplex Odeon Orion Gates Cinemas, 20 Biscayne Ave. Brampton at 6:30 p.m.
      Film poster of the movie The Song of Scorpions showing the faces of a man and a woman across a dessert.

      Anup Singh directed film starring Irrfan Khan, Waheeda Rahman and Iranian actor Golshifteh Farahani will have its North American premiere at the International Film Festival of South Asia (IFFSA) Toronto, May 10 at the Cineplex Orion Odeon Cinemas at 6:30 p.m.

    2. A Letter to the President: Screening on Saturday, May 12 at the Cineplex Odeon Orion Gates Cinemas at 1 p.m. is Soraya’s story. She’s a low-ranking government official, is imprisoned when she defends a woman from village lords. She writes a letter to the Afghan president asking for help from behind bars.
      A silhouette of a woman in profile

      Afghani film A Letter to the President by Roya Sadat will have its North Amerian premiere at the International Film Festival of South Asia (IFFSA) Toronto May 12 at the Cineplex Odeon Orion Gates Cinemas at 1 p.m.

    3. The Hungry: Naseeruddin Shah and Tisca Chopra play central roles in this film that follows Tulsi Joshi, a single mother and bride-to-be who comes to her own wedding seeking revenge for the brutal murder of her first-born son. The film is “a macabre fairytale set in the elite circles of north India.” It runs May 12 at 3 p.m. at Cineplex Odeon Orion Gates Cinemas.
      A woman wearing a blue veil

      Naseeruddin and Tisca Chopra star in this thought-provoking film screening as part of the International Film Festival of South Asia (IFFSA)Toronto May 12 at 3 p.m. at Cineplex Odeon Orion Gates Cinemas.

    4. Ajji: Sushma Deshpande, Sharvani Suryavanshi, and others are part of this acclaimed film by Devashish Makhija. Screens, Saturday, May 12 at 5 p.m. at Odeon Orion Gates Cinemas.
      A painting of a woman or mother staring sadly

      This acclaimed film by Devashish Makhija. Screens during the International Film Festival of South Asia (IFFSA), Saturday, May 12 at 5 p.m. at Odeon Orion Gates Cinemas.

Events, masterclass, and workshops

  1. Masterclass: Anurag Kashyap (Dev D, Bombay Velvet) and Hansal Mehta (Shahid, Simran, Omerta) two renowned filmmakers are hosting a masterclass at the Courtyard Mariott Brampton, 90 Biscayne Ave. Tickets cost $50/person
  2. Director’s Workshop: Anup Singh will lead this workshop aimed at young filmmakers taking place at the Courtyard Mariott Brampton, 90 Biscayne Ave. at 10 p.m. on Sunday, May 13.
  3. Fest in the Park: A lively outdoor concert happening at the Sheridan College, Davis Campus, May 19 at 3 p.m.
    A young Sikh boy wearing a turban has his face painted.

    The International Film Festival of South Asia (IFFSA) Toronto will host a Fest in the Park, an outdoor concert at the Sheridan College, Davis Campus, May 19 at 3 p.m.

  4. Sounds of South Asia Concert will kick off at the Rose Theatre, 1 Theatre Ln. in Brampton at 5:30 p.m. on May 21 with a live concert by Bilal Saeed, a Pakistani singer/songwriter
  5. There are several after-parties in and around Brampton. Check out the IFFSA Toronto Schedule
  6. The IFFSA Toronto Gala is happening at Mississauga Convention Centre,
    75 Derry Road West, Mississauga, Ont. On Friday, May 11 (invitation only).
A booklet featuring IFFSA Toronto schedule

IFFSA Toronto runs May 10 to 21 across the GTA and celebrates more than 150 films in 15 languages.

For schedules, venues and ticket prices, visit the IFFSA Toronto website.

Concerts take over the Toronto Desi events calendar in April ’18

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Pritam

Sunday April 1

Event: Illairajah Live Concert
Details: He’s a living giant among composers from the South Indian films and he’s stopping by for an exclusive concert at the Air Canada Centre (ACC), 40 Bay St. Toronto at 6:30 p.m. The musical maestro will be performing with the Budapest Symphony Orchestra from Hungary and Indian classical musicians.
Contact: Here 

Friday, April 6

Event: Everlasting Melodies
Details: Presented by Amaya Entertainment, this evening taking place at Symphony Banquet Hall, Mississauga, 959 Derry Rd. E. at 8, will feature 10 artists and musicians. Concert will be hosted by Simply Shayan, a comic.
Contact: Here

Saturday, April 7

Event: Hemang Mehta Concert
Details: Gujju singer Hemang Mehta will perform at the Castlebrooke Secondary School, 10 Gardenbrooke trail, Brampton at 6 p.m. Concert presented by Swar Sadhana Music Lovers Club.
Contact: Here 

Sunday, April 8

Event: Pritam Concert
Details: Well-known Bollywood composer responsible for hits like Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Dhangal, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and more will be coming to Richoh Coliseum, 45 Manitoba Dr. Toronto along with a troupe of artists: Harshdeep Kaur, Shalmali Kolgade, Nakash Aziz and more. Concert kicks off at 6:30 p.m.
Contact: Here

Saturday, April 14

Event: Jay Vasavada (Author/Speaker)
Details: Shabd Prarthana will host Jayvasavada at the Port Credit Secondary School Theatre, 70 Mineola Dr. Mississauga at 6 p.m. Vasavada is a popular young author, well-known among theGujarati communities across the world. His versatile columns, books and speeches cover various aspects of society and culture
Contact: Here

Thursday, April 26

Event: South Asians with Style
Details: The SAPNA Toronto team will present ‘South Asians With Style Part Deux’ at the Thompson Toronto, 550 Wellington St. E. at 6 p.m. The event offers the opportunity to network with the finest professionals across Ontario.
Contact: Here 

Saturday April 28

Event: Atif Aslam and Neha Kakkar
Details: Pakistani singer/songwriter and actor Atif Aslam (Dil diyan gallan) and Neha Kakkar, Bollywood songstress will rock the Hershey Centre (oops, Paramount Centre), 5500, Rose Cherry Place, Mississauga at 7 p.m.
Contact: Here

Sunday April 29

Event: Phir Le Aaya Dil
Details: Hrishikesh Ranade, Prajakta Joshi-Ranade and Nihira Joshi will present an evening of soulful Bollywood hits at the Glenforest Secondary School, 3575 Fieldgate Rd. Mississauga at 5 p.m.
Contact: Here

YouTwoTV creators on cloud 9 as channel hits 1 million subscribers

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YouTwoTV's Jaz and Harjit pose in a goofy shot.

YouTwoTV creators Harjit (top) and Jaz have a million reasons to celebrate. The talented and funny YouTube creators have more than 1 million subscribers to their channel. Photo by YouTwoTV.

It’s Toronto Desi Diaries’ 100th blog and it’s fitting we commemorate our centennial blog post with two high-flying, super famous YouTubers—Jaz Saini and Harjit Bhandal (drumroll, please).

These YouTwoTV creators, it so happens, have a million reasons to rejoice. Their channel, launched two years ago, recently blew past 1 million subscribers. Wow! Congrats guys. Not surprising then that Jaz and Harjit’s careers have taken off like Elon Musk’s rocket launches.

“We’re really lucky that we have each other,” said Jaz. “I am grateful that I don’t have to do this alone. It’s a lot of work, it’s not easy, but it’s so worth it…”

The talented duo has fashioned a neat niche in the highly competitive YouTube space, a commendable feat, considering how many wannabes are jostling for attention in the crammed social-media platform.

No wonder then their fans break the Internet every time they drop a new video (weekly).

How’s it that these two desis from Toronto (Brampton) are able to deliver hit after hit? Their video, Back to School: Types of Students boasts 33 million views. Ditto, Types of girlfriends guys hate. Their lifetime YouTube views so far? 265.7 million. These numbers are jaw-dropping.

So, what’s the secret sauce?

It’s easy. Jaz and Harjit are a couple and the camera captures their sizzling chemistry, easy camaraderie, mutual affection and respect. Now to add to this potent mix some witty banter, a topic every individual between 18 to 34 years can relate to, voila! You have an award-winning team.

I met the superstars during their “giddy with success” phase. They had just won the iHeartRadio MMVA “Fan Fave Much Creator” award; had their names and faces splashed across various media platforms and were being courted as brand ambassadors for several well-known companies.

And yet, they were humble and untouched by the noise. It was so easy to love these two.

“I still feel like we’re just regular people, just living our dreams,” Jazz says. “It is a little hard having your whole life on the internet and people commenting about every little thing you do. We’re lucky to have a really awesome family of viewers that support what we do. It’s cool knowing what we’re doing is impacting all of these people.”

Harjit: “I feel like nothing really has changed, my views and the way I handle things are relatively the same.”

Papa kahte hai…

Initially, both their families did not understand how the whole YouTube phenomenon could be a viable career. Jaz had a diploma in marketing and her parents wanted her to opt for a 9 to 5 job, one that came with a consistent paycheck.

“There was no way to talk to them about it, but show them,” Jaz said. “When we launched our YouTwoTV, we never told our parents and cousins that this could blow up, instead we decided we would tell them of our success through articles in the newspaper, interviews on TV…”

Harjit’s parents too were clueless and questioned his decision.

“It makes sense our parents wanted us to be successful and not go through the struggles they did when they immigrated to Canada,” he said. “I think they became comfortable when they saw us becoming successful.”

Winning the coveted iHeartRadio MMVA was a turning point for these two Bramptonians whose talents came into sharp focus in the mainstream media. It was surreal.

“I see ourselves in L.A, in TV shows and movies,” Harjit said when asked about the path ahead. “We have big dreams and it’s not about ‘what-if-we-fail’ instead, we’re always thinking of what we can do next to make it even bigger.”

The pit of despair:

Last year, Jaz filmed a video, “Dear Mom” in which she talked about her mother’s struggle with depression and her death by suicide. It was a raw and poignant conversation that underscores the fragile mother-daughter relationship, the unanswered questions, the pregnant pauses and the shadow of darkness.

Jaz, like her mother, lives with a depression and is struggling to find answers about the darkness that occasionally envelopes her.

The video ( below) is a brave voice of a woman who in telling her story has made it easy for others in the South Asian community to do so.

Here’s a conversation Toronto Desi Diaries had with the YouTwoTV couple.

TDD: YouTwoTV has crossed the 1-million subscriber mark, how does this make you feel?

Jazz: It’s actually so surreal that in less than two years, we’ve somehow managed to convince 1 million people that we’re entertaining. It feels awesome to know that our hard work is paying off!

TDD: How many videos do you post per week and what’s the creative process? Do you write down the sketches, dialogues, decide location…?

Harjit: We make one video a week on YouTube and try to make 2 to 3 small skits on Instagram a week.

Jazz: As for the creative process, it’s different every week, sometimes we have an idea in our head and we spend a full day scripting and two days filming.

Harjit: Sometimes, we have no idea and spend 2-3 days thinking of a topic and have to cram filming into one day.

Jazz: We take an approach to every video differently, which keeps us on our toes.

TDD: “YouTube Stardom” is a millennial/ “Gen Z concept, how did your parents reconcile that neither of you were going to end up in a conventional profession?

Jazz: I’ve always been super independent and have done things differently than anyone else in my family, or just in the Indian culture and what my parents were used to. My Dad wasn’t really surprised when I went this route, he trusted that I knew what I was doing, but kept his distance and watched from afar.

Harjit: Up until last year, my parents were still telling me to “get a real job.” It wasn’t until I started getting awards and I was in the news that they finally supported my dreams. Now they know how many subscribers we’re at before I even do!

TDD: What topics do you avoid when it comes to the content you produce?

Jazz: We try not to limit ourselves or even censor ourselves. I feel like people can tell when you’re not being genuine or when you’re trying to be someone you’re not. We try to avoid just being fake or even copying someone else’s work. It’s hard to be original with so much content out there, but we try and make sure we’re giving something fresh and new to our viewers every week.

Harjit: That’s the most important thing to us (being ourselves), and we definitely try not to offend anyone, ha,ha.

TDD: Anything in your childhood prepared you for facing the camera so effortlessly?

Jazz: – Nothing at all

Harjit: We don’t belong here, haha!

TDD: Were you a couple when you started the show? Or did love saunter in slowly?

Jazz: –We were already madly in love before we started YouTwoTV.

TDD: Which one of your videos is closest to your heart, and why?

Jazz: “Dear Mom” is a video that we made a few months ago, it’s different than anything we’ve ever done and talks about my relationship with depression and suicide and it was the first time I’ve ever publicly spoken about how my mom passed away.

Harjit: “Dear Mom” lies really close to my heart as well for pretty obvious reasons. I’ve never really seen Jaz let herself be that vulnerable and we focused so much on the videography in that video.

TDD: Who are your role models and why?

Jazz: Harjit! He’s one of the most positive and hardworking individual I know. I’m really lucky to have found him.

Harjit: Besides Jaz, Eminem and Shah Rukh Khan are definitely my biggest role models.

Jaz and Harjit pose in front of a wall.

Super funny and super talented duo Jaz(left) and Harjit of YouTwoTV are enjoying taste of success with one million subscribers. Photo courtesy YouTwoTV.

Happy Holi, Toronto! Check out the places in GTA where you can drive away the winter blues

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Woman blows a plume of pink colour

Toronto marks the Hindu festival of colours, Holi 2018.

Saturday, March 3

Event: Rang Barse
Details: The KC Group’s annual colourfest celebrating Holi is back. This year’s event kicks-off at the National Banquet, 7355 Torbram Rd., Mississauga at 11 a.m. For tickets and more, visit the website below.
Contact: Here

Event: Holi Milan
Details: Uttar Pradeshis in Canada (UPICA) are celebrating Holi at the Grand Empire Banquet, 100 Nexus Ave. Brampton at 6 p.m.
Contact: Here

Event: How to cope with depression
Details: Supporting our Community’s Health (SOCH), founded by Maneet Chahal and Jasmeet Chagger will host an workshop, “How to cope with depression,” at the Cyril Clark branch library, 20 Loafer’s Lake Ln., Brampton from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Contact: Here

Sunday, March 4

Event: Holi Dhamaka – 2018
Details: Bollywood dance, Holi colours and sumptuous food will make this truly unforgettable. Holi Dhamaka takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Preet Palace Banquet, 5835 Kennedy Rd. Mississauga.
Contact: Here

Saturday, March 10

Event: The World of the Fatimids
Details: The Aga Khan Museum at 77 Wynford Dr. in Toronto, will unveil, The World of Fatimids, an exhibit revealing art and artifacts from the 10th and 11th centuries from the Mediterranean, Southern Europe and near East. Luminous ceramics, intricate carvings shaped from rock crystal, and artifacts decorated with Kufic calligraphy and embellished with vines and leaves are some of the luxury objects in this exhibition. Exhibition runs until July 2.
Contact: Here

Friday, March 16

Event: International Women’s Day Gala
Details: Join a lineup of exceptional women as they mark International Women’s Day. Guests include KayRay (YouTuber/actor) and Komal Minhas (film producer/investor). Minhas will deliver the keynote address at the 16th Annual Women’s International Women’s Day Gala by the Punjabi Community Health Services (PCHS). Event will take place at the Grand Empire Banquet And Convention Centre, 100 Nexus Ave. Brampton at 6:30 p.m.
Contact: Here

Saturday, March 24

Event: Bollywood Dance & Fitness
Details: Pure Soul Energy, a dance/philanthropy group headed by Ritu Neb will offer Bollywood Fitness dance and fitness classes on Saturdays (starting March 24) at 180 Sandalwood Pkwy E. (second floor) from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Call: 647-208-0939 to register.
Contact: Here

Event: Celebrating Womanhood 2018
Details:  The Indo-Canadian Arts and Culture (ICACI) is hosting its 6th annual Celebrating Womanhood Gala 2018 at Red Rose Convention Centre, 1233 Derry Rd. E. in at 6:30 p.m. onwards. There will be an awards presentation (Woman Hero Awards), fashion show and more.
Contact: Here

Nova Bhattacharya’s contemporary Bharatnatyam blurs cultural lines in Toronto

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Photo by John Launer

Toronto-based contemporary Bharatnatyam dancer Nova Bhattacharya, will be presenting a show, Decoding Bharatnatyam, Feb. 14-17 at The Citadel: Ross Centre for Dance, 304 Parliament St., Toronto. Photo by John Launer.

Tucked away inside rehearsal studios and embedded among stellar theatre/dance productions around Toronto, few “artistic gems” have raised the status of their craft beyond narrow definitions of culture and language.

Case in point: Nova Bhattacharya. An award-winning Bharatnatyam dancer, choreographer and artistic director of Nova Dance.

Nova strapped on the traditional dance anklet (ghungroo), a heavy musical belt sewn with tiny brass bells, worn by classical Indian dancers at age 7. Metaphorically, she hasn’t taken them off since.

“Bharatnatyam as an art form has a rich history of repertoire and an amazing potential to say new and different things,” Nova explained. “Watching artists (from different genres) gave me the desire to use the paint box I had to paint a new and different picture. Instead of painting it as a ‘varnam’ or ‘padam,’ I wanted to create something the audiences can experience even if they don’t understand the language…”

If you’re imagining a dance performance where the dancers are garbed in brightly-coloured Kanjeevaram sarees with their hair plaited and adorned with flowers and their eyes accentuated with dark kohl, you’ll be wrong. So wrong.

Imagine then, a dancer dressed in distressed jeans and a crimson-coloured sleeveless t-shirt or a flowing black gown with thigh-high slits swaying to the beats of techno-music combined with Carnatic music ragas. Sounds exotic? It’s mesmerizing (watch the video below).

“In Decoding Bharatnatyam, I, a Bengali-Canadian will be performing a Bharatnatyam dance choreographed by a Venezuelan-Canadian, proficient in the Cunningham dance technique that isolates body parts, believes in simplistic movements set to the background of complicated scores,” Nova explains.
Broken-Lines Ed Hanley

Neena Jayarajan and Atri Nundy will perform Broken Lines, an award-winning dance, Feb. 14-17 at The Citadel: Ross Centre for Dance, 304 Parliament St., Toronto. Photo by Ed Hanley.

The tug of dance

At age 7, renowned Bharatnatyam dancer Menaka Thakkar, accepted Nova as her student (incidentally, Nova was the first graduate of the Nrytyakala Dance Academy, Thakkar’s Toronto dance school).

And thus, began a journey fraught with ups and downs, headaches and heartaches, awards and accolades.

In her teens, Nova briefly shoved away her dreams and headed to Carleton University to pursue journalism. She dropped out after a year and was joyfully reunited with her passion when Menaka’s sister invited her to perform at a dance festival she was hosting.

Not one to remain boxed within the confines of prescribed norms, Nova broke free once she had mastered the nuances.

“I call the work I am doing as contemporary Bharatnatyam,” Nova says. “When I say contemporary, I mean the technique of Bharatnatyam, but using the tools of the art form in a different context.”

The Torontonian’s dance catalogues are experiments of the psyche woven together with compelling music, minimalistic set production and clean lines. It’s abstract storytelling. Take for instance, Infinite Storms (2017), a performance where Nova internalizes the debilitating pain of migraines into a dance routine or Akshongay for which she received a Dora nod for outstanding choreography.

Decoding Nova

Nova’s upcoming show, Decoding Bharatnatyam, unravels several layers of classical dance fused with modern sensibilities. Visualise the complex, but rigid footwork and hand movements of Bharatnatyam, flawlessly melding into the fluid moves of contemporary dance.

The show, hosted by Citadel + Compagnie (C+C) will feature three performances: Broken Lines, an award-winning duet by Neena Jayarajan and Atri Nundy; Alaap by Lucy Rupert and Calm Abiding, executed by Nova and choreographed by Venezuela-born, Montreal-based contemporary choreographer, José Navas.

“In (Broken Lines) Neena and Atri will delve deep into their (Bharatnatyam) training and improvise it,” Nova explained. “Instead of giving the artists a set choreography, I gave them a set of tasks to complete on the stage so that even if the audience does not know anything about Indian mythology, they are still able to connect to the dance through the performance of two skilled dancers.”

Decoding Bharatnatyam runs, Feb. 14-17, 2018 at The Citadel: Ross Centre for Dance, 304 Parliament St., Toronto, M5A 2Z6. Cost of tickets is $25/person and $20 (artists) and can be purchased by calling: 416-364-8011 ext. 1 or by visiting here (citadelcie.com).

Let’s warm our hearts with these Sankranti celebrations in Toronto

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coconutUntil, Jan. 7

Event: Butterflies of India
Details: Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory, 2500 Kossuth Rd., Cambridge Ont., has a pair of South Asian exhibits running until Jan. 7. First, in the Butterflies of India, visitors can enjoy thousands of freely flying butterflies in the conservatory. Secondly, in the Ornamenting the ordinary: crafts of South Asia, enjoy several artistic styles, craftsmanship and traditions from South Asia.
Contact: Here

Saturday, Jan. 13

Event: Sankranti Sambarulu
Details: The Telegu Alliances of Canada (TACA) will host its annual Sankranti celebrations at the Glenforest Secondary School, 3575 Fieldgate Rd. Mississauga from 5 p.m. onwards. Contact: Here

Event: Lohri Shagna Di
Details: Head to Mississauga Palace for Lohri celebration- Lohri Shagna DI, 2360 Lucknow Drive. Event will start at 6:30 pm and end at 11:00pm.
Contact: Here 

rangoliSunday, January, 14

Event: Must be Kismet
Details: Must be Kisment, a wedding show  geared towards South Asians will take place from noon to 6 p.m. at the International Centre, 6900 Airport Rd., Mississauga.
Contact: Here

Event: Thai Pongal
Details: The Sringeri Vidya Bharati Foundation Canada, 80 Brydon Dr. Etobicoke has several poojas happening all month long including Jan. 15 for Pongal.
Contact: Here

Friday, Jan. 19

Event: Jash-E-Lohri
Details: Head to the Maverick Music Hall in Barrie, 46 Dunlop St. Ont. For a Lohri celebration at 8 p.m.
Contact: Here 

Saturday, Jan. 20

Event: Tamil Heritage Festival
Details: Transnational Government for Tamil Eelam (TGTE) will host a Tamil Heritage Festival Celebration at the Cedarbrae Collegiate Institute Auditorium, located on 550 Markham Rd. Scarborough, ON M1H 2A2. The festival will begin at 5:30 pm and wrap up at 8:30 pm.
Contact: Here

Sunday, Jan. 21

Event: Panorama Indian Idol
Details: Audition for the Panorama Indian Idol gets underway at Michael Power/St. Joseph Secondary School, 105 Eringate Dr. Etobicoke, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Contact: Here 

Wednesday, Jan. 24

Event: Thai Pongal
Details: Enjoy Tamil Heritage Month as well as Thai Pongal celebrations at the Scarborough Convention Centre, 20 Torham Pl. Toronto from 6 to 9 p.m.
Contact: Here