KHOJ
Centre Culturel Kabir presents

KHOJ

In-person Event
August 12th 2022
8:00 pm – 9:30 pm / Doors: 7:30 pm

475, boulevard De Maisonneuve Est, Montréal, QC, Canada
For more information about this event, please contact Centre Culturel Kabir at info@centrekabir.com.

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KHOJ is a new work created by Canadian company Usha Gupta Dance Entourage. Canadian dance treasure Usha Gupta, has intrigued audiences across Canada, in the U.S. and in India. Her newest Kathak creation KHOJ (meaning search, inquiry, quest) features an outstanding ensemble of local dancers Riya Mittal and Marla Palakkamanil Gill and four dancers from India Anuj Mishra, Souvik Chakraborty, Ayan Banerjee, Asmita Thakur. It features a score by Parveen Rao performed by a live ensemble with Deepak Paramashivan, who has thrilled the world music scene with masterful performances. 

At the heart of the inspiration for this piece is the idea that if you search for beauty within an unshaped space, the poetry inherent in the physical body will be revealed, and the spirit of dance will be expressed, similar to how a sculptor searches for the statue hidden within the uncut rock.

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KHOJ is a new work created by Canadian company Usha Gupta Dance Entourage. Canadian dance treasure Usha Gupta, has intrigued audiences across Canada, in the U.S. and in India. Her newest Kathak creation KHOJ (meaning search, inquiry, quest) features an outstanding ensemble of local dancers Riya Mittal and Marla Palakkamanil Gill and four dancers from India Anuj Mishra, Souvik Chakraborty, Ayan Banerjee, Asmita Thakur. It features a score by Parveen Rao performed by a live ensemble with Deepak Paramashivan, who has thrilled the world music scene with masterful performances. 

At the heart of the inspiration for this piece is the idea that if you search for beauty within an unshaped space, the poetry inherent in the physical body will be revealed, and the spirit of dance will be expressed, similar to how a sculptor searches for the statue hidden within the uncut rock.

Metro: Berri-UQAM

Underground parking

USHA GUPTA

Usha Gupta has been singing and dancing since she was four years old in her native India. Today she is known as an ambassador of cultural diversity in Edmonton and Canada as well as for the strong body of work she has created over the past three decades over the past three decades as a dancer, choreographer, producer and teacher. From expressive solo numbers to elaborate group dances, Gupta has created a beautiful body of work focusing on traditional classical Indian dance forms as well as the language and forms of contemporary dance and art. With her professional dance company, Usha Gupta Dance Entourage, she has toured her major dance works, such as ALAAP and NARI, NARI, NARI....MY LOVE, across Canada and seven major cities in India. she has been featured with the Brian Webb Dance Company and Kalanidhi Fine Arts of Canada, earned the Government of India's Choreography award, and received support from various agencies including the Canada Council for the Arts, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the Edmonton Arts Council.

RIYA MITTAL

Riya Alika Mittal has been dancing for 15 years, under the guidance of her grandmother, Usha Gupta. She has trained in both Bharatnatyam and Kathak, and completed her Raang Pravesh (dance graduation) in 2017, after extensive training in India. Riya has had the opportunity to train with renowned artists including Pandit Birju Maharaj-ji, Maulik Shah, Priyadarsini Govinda, and Sandhya Kiran Subramanyam, to name a few. She performed in Usha Dance Entourage's productions, Aalaap (2014), which both toured Canada and India. Riya has travelled across North America to perform in many prestigious dance festivals, throughout her career. Along with Indian Classical dance, she studies Contemporary dance with the Orchesis Dance Program, at the University of Alberta. Riya holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta, and is a teacher with the Edmonton Public School District.

MARLA PALAKKAMANIL GILL

Marla Palakkamanil Gill is a principal dancer of Usha Kala Niketan School of Dance, with extensive training in both Bharatanatyam and Kathak. From an early age, Marla’s active imagination and love of Indian classical music drew her to the world of classical Indian dance. For seven years, Marla also studied piano and music theory. However, it was dance that became her true passion. Marla’s experience in both Bharatanatyam and Kathak has transformed her into a strong and versatile dancer. Throughout her dance career, Marla has had numerous opportunities to train with renowned artists including Pandit Birju Maharaj, Maulik Shah, Hari Krishnan, Sudeshna Maulik and Uma Dogra. In 2014/2015, Marla performed in Usha Dance Entourage’s production, Aalaap in Edmonton, and subsequently toured across India. In July 2016, Marla performed in the productions choreographed by Pandit Birju Maharaj and Saswati Sen at Madison Square Gardens in New York. In addition, she has performed in various festivals in Canada and the United States throughout the years. Marla is looking forward to undergoing intensive training in Kathak and Bharatanatyam this year in India. Apart from dance, Marla has excelled academically – she will be completing her Master’s in Epidemiology at the University of Alberta this year. Marla is currently practicing as a clinical consultant pharmacist in mental health and geriatric care settings.

ANUJ MISHRA

The training of Anuj Mishra started at age 17, through his father, Pt. Arjun Mishra. Anuj also learned tabla under the guidance of Pt. Ravinath Mishra and has had vocal training by Ustad Gulshan Bharati. Anuj has performed in many major dance festivals and events in India and abroad. He has worked with many dance companies and renowned choreographers such as Karine Saporta, Mallika Sarabhai, Kumudini Lakhia, Rukmini Chaterjee, and Lata Pada. Anuj has won several national and international dance competitions and has received the prestigious title of Shringarmani, Nritya Kawomudhi. He received one of the major awards, "Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar," from Sangeet Natak Academy, National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama, from India. His large festival performances include Sawai Gandharva, Lucknow Mohatsava, Taj Mohatsava, Kathak Mahotsava, Taj Mahotsava, Konark Dance Festival, and Kalaghoda Festival. He has performed in many countries including the United States, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, England, and Israel. Anuj has done his Masters in Kathak from Khairagarh University, Madhya Pradesh and is now pursuing his PhD in Kathak. Anuj is presently the Artistic Director of the Pandit Arjun Mishra Kathak Academy and is President of AnujArjunmishradancecompany [AADC]. He is impaneled as an establish artist in ICCR [Indian Council for Cultural Relations] and is a member of CID [International Dance Council] from Europe.

SOUVIK CHARKRABORTY

Souvik started learning Kathak Dance at a very tender age under the supervision of Pt. Vijai Shankar ji and Smt. Chetna Jalan ji, at Padatik Dance Centre, Kolkata. Later he has learnt from Smt. Madhumita Roy. For the last eighteen years, he is training under the tutelage of the doyen of Kathak, Pt. Birju Maharajji. He has also worked with the legendary Guru and Choreographer Padma Bhushan Smt. Kumudini Lakhiaji. He is an impaneled artist of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Govt. of India, and a graded artist of Doordarshan (National Television Channel). He holds the degree of Sangeet Visharad and Sringar Mani. He has been given many prestigious awards including Nrityanipuna, Guru Kelu Charan Mahapatra Pratibha Samman and the most prestigious award, the Ustad Bismillah Khan Award, from the Sangeet Natak Academy, Govt. of India. He has performed in many esteemed festivals in India and abroad, and has performed in countries including the United States, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, Dubai, Argentina, Chile, Egypt, Russia, Japan, and Mongolia. Recently he has visited USSR as a group member of Kadamb, with the delegation of the President of India. In Canada, he has worked with Smt. Menaka Thakkar in Land of Cards , and with Smt. Lata Pada in Taaj. At present, he is teaching Kathak at Padatik Dance Centre, Kolkata, and in his own Dance Academy, Nrityadisha, Kolkata. He has choreographed for television serials and a Bengali film.

PARVEEN D RAO

Praveen D. Rao is a versatile multi-instrumentalist, composer, actor and director based in Bangalore, India. As a composer, Praveen has created a style of his own in creative music over the last 23 years, composing original scores for theatre, dance-dramas, movies and television. Praveen is known for his creativity in amalgamating Hindustani and Carnatic music with western techniques. He has toured all over India and abroad conducting workshops and performing at various national and international music and dance festivals. Praveen did the script, screenplay, music, and directed Tears of Fire, a dance-based theatre production of the renowned Chitraleka Dance Company in the UK. In Canada, he has worked with Lata Pada’s Sampradaya Dance Creations of Mississauga, composing the scores of Vivarta, Shunya, Kshetram, Stealth and Taj.

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