“Lata Pada can take some credit for bringing the ancient Bharatanatyam style out of the closet of ethnic dance and onto the country’s main stages.” ~ the Toronto Star
An award winning artist, Lata Pada is the recipient of the 2009 Order of Canada, holding the distinction of being the first South Asian artist to receive this prestigious national honour. In January 2011, she was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman by the President of India. She is one of fifteen persons of Indian origin across the globe to have been awarded this distinction. In 2012, she was honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her contributions to the community as a Canadian citizen. In 2013, Lata was inducted into Mississauga City’s Legends Row as well as being named one of the Most Influential Individuals of the City of Mississauga.
As artistic director and principal choreographer of SAMPRADAYA Dance Creations, Lata Pada, C.M., has forged a unique niche in Canadian dance and is a Canadian artist whose “clear direction in dance makes her one of the few who can successfully translate a thousand year-old tradition into 21st – century realities” (the Toronto Star). A visionary artist whose creativity springs from a rich source of global influences, she has trained under India’s eminent gurus Kalaimamani Kalyanasundaram and Padmabhushan Kalanidhi Narayanan. Originally from Bangalore, India, she has made Canada her home since 1964. Ms. Pada has had an extensive career as a bharatanatyam soloist with performances in prestigious dance festivals in India, Canada, USA, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cuba, Colombia and Mexico.
In January 2009, Lata was conferred the Order of Canada and has the distinction of being the first South Asian artist to receive this prestigious honour for her contributions to the development of South Asian dance, and commitment and support of the Indo-Canadian community. In addition, Lata holds an M.F.A. in dance from York University and is an Adjunct Professor in the Master’s Program of Dance at York University.
Ms. Pada’s work synthesizes the arts and aesthetics of India and the eclectic influences of the world at large. Her passion and vision for integrating the arts into the lives of all Canadians is guided by principles of innovation and excellence. Ms. Pada brings a contemporary world view to her creations and her multi-disciplinary collaborations with many leading artists and designers of India and Canada have resulted in dance works recognized for their innovative and thought-provoking explorations of bharatanatyam.
Possessing a wealth of knowledge of South Asian arts in the global context and an understanding of the rapidly evolving realities of dance in Canada, Ms. Pada serves as a vital resource and catalyst in the development and evolution of bharatanatyam.
Her unique productions, recognized for their excellence and innovation, has developed a new understanding and appreciation for this classical dance form as a viable and respectable profession in her cultural community. Her career spans an impressive spectrum of performance, choreography, teaching and research.
Ms. Pada’s solo works have revealed a noteworthy and distinctive style. Her acclaimed multi-media work Revealed by Fire was called by leading critic Michael Crabb as “the most important Canadian dance production” of 2001in the Ballet-Tanz International Yearbook. Her solo work has also been featured in several international festivals including the Festival of India (Indonesia), Ibero American Festival (Colombia), Canada Dance Festival and Harbourfront World Moves Dance Series.
A founding member of the Royal Ontario Museum’s South Asian Advisory Committee, Ms. Pada currently serves on the Canadian Dance Assembly’s advocacy committee, as well as the advisory committees of the Toronto Arts Council, York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts and Centennial College. Previously, she has served on the board of the Canadian Dance Assembly and the Arts Advisory Committee of the Laidlaw Foundation.
A frequent presenter at international dance conferences and symposia, and a leading Canadian arts advocate, Ms. Pada is a regular motivational speaker and workshop leader for corporate and community organizations speaking on her life, creativity and collaboration in the arts. She has received several awards and honours for her contribution to the arts in Canada, including her appointment as a member of the Order of Canada, the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Toronto Sanskriti Sangha, the 2006 Best Teacher Award from the Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana, the 2003 Professional Woman of the Year Award from the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce, the 2000 New Pioneers Award and the 1995 Mississauga Arts Award.
Her film and television credits include documentaries and interviews on CBC, TV Ontario, Vision TV, Rogers TV, OMNI TV and Bravo. Ms. Pada regularly gives talks about her life, creativity and collaborations in the arts and is a motivational speaker and workshop leader for corporate and community organizations.
Ms. Pada has dedicated her efforts towards raising the level of excellence of performance skills in dancers through her coaching and mentoring. She is also the founder, director and principal teacher of SAMPRADAYA Dance Academy.
Photo Credit: On & Up Photography