The 5th Annual Dance Festival “Gait to the Spirit 2014”

For the fifth edition of this rich cultural festival “Gait to the Spirit 2014”, MANDALA Arts and Culture is proud to present and showcase the Indian classical dance style bharata natyam featuring some of today’s best international exponents.

 Since Mandala presented Janaki Rangarajan at the 2010 festival, she has become one of the most sought after  bharata natyam artists, and has been performing all over the world.  Her refreshing approach to bharata natyam has  won her many accolades and praise from dance lovers and critics alike. Janaki is one of those rare dancers who has  studied in depth the various karanas (temple sculptures), and has imbibed their sensuality and softness in her very  personal and unique style. She is at the forefront of the new generation of bharata natyam dancers, representing the  future of the ancient art form. We are very pleased to be able to present Janaki once again at the 5th Annual Festival.


Mandala is also thrilled to be presenting India’s new bharata natyam sensation, Meenakshi Srinivasan, a dancer renowned for her grace and elegance.  Meenakshi’s dance is marked by fast paced agility and a power to emote subtle shades of poetry. She has brought a notably individual approach and creativity to classical art. Meenakshi has been touring throughout the world for the past few years, and is one of today’s most popular and acclaimed bharata natyam dancers.

Both Janaki and Meenakshi possess high quality technique, great virtuosity, and an appealing stage presence of exquisite beauty and femininity.

For the festival’s popular Sunday matinee (pay what you can), Mandala will present Nivedha Ramalingam from Toronto, and Vancouver’s male bharata natyam dancer Sujit Vaidya. Nivedha is one of the best dancers of her generation in Canada. She has won honours at many dance competitions, and has performed professionally in Canada, USA and India. She is at the pulse of the young new generation of bharata natyam dancers.

Sujit has trained in BC under Jai Govinda and has received the 2012 “Mayor of Vancouver Arts Award” as an emerging dance artist. For the past few years, Sujit has continued to train and perform in India, and has given numerous presentations in Canada and Europe as well.

 Why only bharata natyam?

Mandala Arts and Culture produces and presents the “Gait to the Spirit” Festival under the Artistic Direction of Jai Govinda, who also runs his own bharata natyam training centre; the “Jai Govinda Dance Academy”. The Academy has been conducting bharata natyam classes in Vancouver for the past 20 years, and a professional dance training program recognized and supported by the Arts Training Funds of Heritage Canada. Over the years, some 35 students have graduated from that program, and many are pursuing a professional career in dance in Canada, USA and India.

For our fifth festival we wanted to highlight this classical Indian dance style that is taught and performed in Vancouver, and that has also a devoted and loyal audience.  In addition to the body of students learning this particular dance style is some 12 other bharata natyam schools in BC.

Bharata natyam is also the most popular and cherished classical dance style of India with more than 100 schools in Canada, and thousands more in all the major cities of the world. Bharata natyam had a remarkable rebirth in the past century. From almost facing extinction, it went through a phenomenal revival some 100 years ago. The rebirth of bharata natyam was contagious. It inspired generations of illustrious masters, dancers and musicians, who insured the survival of the dance form to the present day. Today’s bharata natyam practitioners bring new dimensions to the traditional repertoire. Through fresh composition, choreography and polished interpretations, they make this classical dance style relevant and contemporary. Bharata natyam is now performed and taught around the globe by artists from various backgrounds, genders and creed and continues to fascinate audiences worldwide.

About the Curator and Artistic Director

 JAI GOVINDA is the Artistic Director of Mandala Arts and Culture and the Curator of the Gait to the Spirit Festival.  He has given relevance to the bharata natyam style within a contemporary Canadian context. Through creation,  training, performances and collaborations, Jai Govinda expresses a broad vision for the dissemination of bharata  natyam in Canada. He has been practicing bharata natyam for the past 30 years, and his work as a dancer, teacher,  choreographer and presenter has been acclaimed nationally and internationally. Today, Jai Govinda is one of the  nation’s leading bharata natyam artists and advocates.

Jai Govinda began his dance training with “Les Grands Ballets Canadiens” in Quebec City and Montreal under a full  scholarship. He then received bharata natyam training by some of the very best Indian dance masters. Jai Govinda is the recipient of the Dance Centre’s Isadora Award for excellence in teaching and for his outstanding achievements in BC’s dance community.

This festival is made possible with the generous support of The BC Arts Council, The City of Vancouver, BC Gaming, Hamber Foundation, Banyen Books & Sound and the Georgia Straight.   We sincerely thank them for their continued support.

For performance details, check below: 

Friday October 31 at 8 pm

Meenakshi SrinivasanIndia (bharata natyam)

Saturday November 1 at 8 pm

Janaki Rangarajan – USA / India (bharata natyam)

Sunday November 2 at 1:30 pm (Pay what you can)

Double Bill: Nivedha Ramalingam and Sujit Vaidya – Canada (bharata natyam)

Location: Scotiabank Dance Centre (677 Davie Street)

Tickets are $25 (General) / $22 (Students, Seniors)

Available at Banyen Books (604.737.8858 or at 3608 W. 4th Ave.)

Sunday Matinee Performance is FREE (Pay What You Can)

Master Class: Saturday November 1 at 1:30 pm

For more information, please click HERE.