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In Conversation with Kala Dance Collective

Kala Dance Collective
Photo by Nancy Thavaruban

KULA DEVI

Choreographed by Kala Dance Collective

Citadel Spring Mix
Programme 2
April 9, 11, 13, 14, 2024

Share a little about your dance background, and/or your creative process.

We are a collective of dancers firmly rooted in the classical tradition of Bharatanatyam. Our artistic journey has been one of both individual growth and collective synergy. We are driven by the desire to not only uphold the classical elements of our form, but to also infuse them with innovative and contemporary perspectives. Our collective is dedicated to exploring new horizons, and pushing the boundaries of tradition while upholding its integrity. We seek to tell stories that resonate with the diasporic experience, to celebrate our shared heritage, and to showcase the beauty and diversity of South Asian culture through dance. 

What drew you to apply to the Citadel Spring Mix program?  

Our collective got its start with The Citadel’s very first edition of Night Shift in 2019, where we performed our very first work Nirguna. When we saw this program was accepting applications, we were excited by the prospect of working with The Citadel again! We have been in research and creation for Kula Devi since 2023, and the Citadel Spring Mix gives us an incredible opportunity to shift gears from process and creation mode to production mode. This is the first step as we prepare to expand this work. 

What are you most looking forward to during this process? 

In December of 2023, we had an informal showing of our initial exploration of Kula Devi. We are excited to build on the feedback that we received from our collaborators and peers. This phase of creation will only have three of our six dancers, however, it will give us a chance to solidify our intention, propel us into a different phase of focused exploration and experimentation and have larger conversations in regards to staging, music, costuming and lighting design for the work.

What excites you about Toronto’s dance scene? 

Toronto is such a diverse, multicultural city. As diasporic artists performing and training in a non-eurocentric, culturally significant art form, the mainstream Toronto dance scene can be challenging to navigate. We are excited to represent our form and heritage unapologetically and share our complex and intricate artistry that brings us together as a collective. 

What is next for this work after Citadel Spring Mix? 

We hope to take the research from this phase of creation and re-integrate all six of our dancers. Alongside our other works including Nirguna, we hope to produce and perform a collection of Kala Dance Collective repertoire in the near future.