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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

AGO insider: Massive Party | Library Revamp | Meet Lexie Buchanan | Instagram Faves | Free Film Festival

A "Massive" undertaking

Artist Jon Sasaki dishes on his custom installations appearing at Massive Party, taking over the AGO on April 27.

Keep calm and read on

Our Library is getting a refresh – come relax, read and recharge. 

Meet the face behind the tweets!

Meet Lexie Buchanan, the AGO's social media guru whose mission is to get #beyondtheselfie.

Art on the go – part one

Scroll through the AGO's favourite Instagram accounts and turn your phone into a pocket-sized art gallery.


One weekend only!

The AGO presents FREE screenings of works by Toronto's pioneering film and video artists from the 1970s and '80s.
PHOTO CREDITS: [1] Photo courtesy of the artist. [2] Image by Hariri Pontarini Architects. [3] Photo courtesy of the AGO. [4] Image courtesy of @k8hardball. [5] Joyce Wieland in A and B in Ontario, from the book The Films of Joyce Wieland, Kathryn Elder, ed. Cinematheque Ontario.
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Punjabi Super Star Neeru Bajwa brings SARGI to Toronto

Punjabi Superstar Neeru Bajwa brings world premiere of SARGI to Toronto

After the super success last year of the film Channo Kamli Yaar Di, Neeru Bajwa is back with her second home production, Sargi releasing worldwide on February 24, 2017. The film is all the more special as it marks Neeru's debut as a director. She will also be introducing her sister Rubina Bajwa, who will be debuting as an actress in the film. The movie stars Punjabi rockstar actors, Jassi Gill and Babbal Rai as the lovers in pursuit of Sargi.

Addressing the topic of NRI marriage problems in Punjab in an entertaining format with her first home production Channo Kamli Yaar Di, Neeru Bajwa takes on the subject of marriage for immigration purposes with her directorial first, Sargi.

SARGI is a beautiful love story, which revolves around a simple girl from a small city in Punjab named Sargi (Rubina Bajwa) and her journey to discovering herself and true love. The film is a rib-tickling romantic comedy, which takes the audience on a humour filled, emotional roller-coaster ride and also stars the very talented Karmjit Anmol and B.N. Sharma, as part of the supporting cast.

The world premiere of the film SARGI will be taking place in Toronto on Thursday February 23, 2017 at Albion Cinemas with producer, director Neeru Bajwa in attendance.

A press conference for the film will be held earlier in the day, where Neeru will be sharing on her experience of directing her very first film. We look forward to your support in spreading the word about a meaningful and entertaining Punjabi film, SARGI


For more information and latest updates on SARGI, please visit Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SargiFilm/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sargimovie/


SARGI Official Trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tV271kQbaDo

Neeru Bajwa Toronto Message: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFMWqMozkGc

One on one interviews with Neeru Bajwa, can be requested at press@mediaworkss.com

Sargi is a Grand Showbiz Media & Entertainment release. Along with North America, Sargi is also releasing widely in UK, Aus, NZ, Africa, South East Asia and India. Grand Showbiz is a leading film distribution company of Indian films having offices across the globe.

Synopsis of the film Sargi: Sargi (Rubina Bajwa), the daughter of a poor carpenter and Babbu (Jassi Gill), the son of a very rich farmer are childhood friends. Babbu who has been in love with Sargi since their young years, is unable to confess his love for her and alas Sargi marries Amrik Singh (Karmjit Anmol) for immigration purposes and leaves India with her husband. While abroad Sargi starts her new life, working at a Coffee Shop. To her predicament, Amrik starts falling in love with her and at the same time she is also being wooed by the owners' son, Kaim (Babbal Rai). As if two suitors were not enough her childhood friend, Babbu who already loves her shows up unexpectedly at the Coffee Shop she works at, as a friend of Amrik's. Sargi develops feeling for Kaim, hence one day when Kaim proposes to 

Her, Sargi hesitantly says yes. A heartbroken Babbu returns back to his village, wondering why did she marry Kaim? The answers reveal themselves at the end of this heart touching roller-coaster ride called SARGI.




February 21, 2017 – OTTAWA (Canada) – The National Arts Centre's 2015-2016 Annual Report, entitled Groundbreaking, and which was tabled in Parliament earlier this month, highlights a historic year marked by two major investments in the NAC by the Government of Canada, as well unprecedented private sector support across Canada for to the Centre's national fundraising campaign.  


The $110.5 million Architectural Rejuvenation Project, designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, will re-orient the NAC to the Nation's Capital with a stunning new entrance on Elgin Street, and includes a transparent lobby and atrium that are fully accessible, as well as new spaces for education and performance. The NAC has remained open throughout the renovations, which are progressing very well. The grand re-opening will take place on Canada Day, 2017.

And the $114.9 million Production Renewal Project to refurbish the NAC's performance halls and production facilities kicked off with a major renovation of Southam Hall in the summer of 2016.  The project included the addition of mid aisles and a cross aisle that greatly increase accessibility; new hardwood flooring that has improved sound; comfortable new seats; and some important production upgrades.

The National Arts Centre Foundation conducted its first ever capital campaign ("The Creation Campaign") to raise $25 million from donors across the country. The National Creation Fund, which will open in November 2017, will provide venture capital to artists across the country who want to create bold new works in Music, Dance and Theatre.


"The 2015−2016 season was a truly historic year for the National Arts Centre," said NAC President and CEO Peter Herrndorf. "We are extraordinarily grateful to the Government of Canada for their investment in the NAC, as well as to our remarkably generous donors who share our vision to invest in the creation process and new Canadian works. We also thank our patrons, who have soldiered on through a good deal of disruption this year. We look forward to welcoming all Canadians to the opening of the re-imagined NAC on Canada Day, 2017."


In March 2016, the NAC announced its new Strategic Plan, which includes the establishment of a new Department of Indigenous Theatre; a game-changing emphasis on Canadian creation to help artists and arts organizations across Canada create ambitious new work for national and international audiences; extending the NAC's Music Alive Program to Atlantic Canada; and a renewed commitment to Francophone artists, arts organizations and audiences.

There were many other milestones in 2015‒2016. Alexander Shelley enjoyed a highly successful first season as Music Director of the NAC Orchestra. His debut season included the critically acclaimed NAC commission Life Reflected, an immersive, multi-media symphonic experience. Comprised of four new works by Zosha Di Castri, John Estacio, Nicole Lizée and Jocelyn Morlock, and in collaboration with a variety of artists across many disciplines, Life Reflected told the story of four remarkable Canadian women – Alice Munro, Roberta Bondar, Amanda Todd and Rita Joe.


NAC Dance, led by Executive Producer Cathy Levy, co-produced the critically acclaimed new work Betroffenheit by Associate Dance Artist Crystal Pite and Jonathon Young, as well as the remarkable Out of Season by Associate Dance Artist Ame Henderson and Matija Ferlin.


Through The Collaborations, English Theatre, led by Artistic Director Jillian Keiley, invested in 20 new Canadian works from across the country, including Caught by Theatre Passe-Muraille and We Keep Coming Back by Self-Conscious Theatre (Toronto); Province by Talisman Theatre (Montreal) and Between Breaths by Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland (St. John's);


French Theatre, led by Artistic Director Brigitte Haentjens, co-produced a number of astonishing new works, including 887 by Robert Lepage; Five Kings – l'histoire de notre chute with Théâtre PÀP, Le Théâtre de Fonds de Tiroirs and Trois Tristes Tigres; Mani Soleymanlou's new trilogy Ils étaient quatre, Cinq à sept and Huit; and Jean Marc Dalpé's Un vent se lève qui éparpille with Théâtre de la Vielle 17 and Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario.


And the fifth anniversary season of NAC Presents of more than 50 concerts included Corb Lund (Alberta), the Barenaked Ladies (Toronto), Jean Leloup (Montreal) and Hey Rosetta! (St. John's). The NAC said a fond farewell to the founding Executive Producer of NAC Presents, Simone Deneau and welcomed Heather Gibson, the former Executive Producer of the Halifax Jazz Festival as her replacement. The NAC is thankful to both of them for their artistic leadership of NAC Presents.


It was a busy year on the NAC stages, with 1,170 performances last season. Total box office revenue for all performances was $15,278,419. More than 880,000 Canadians came to the NAC for performances, events and commercial activities during the year. The NAC posted a $207,000 operating deficit on a budget of just over $71M for the 2015-2016 fiscal year. The deficit was the result of extra costs and lost revenue caused by the NAC's major construction project.


The National Arts Centre Foundation had another strong year, raising more than $12.4 million to support performance, creation and learning across Canada, an increase of 15 % over the previous year.


"Every day we are so thankful to National Arts Centre Foundation supporters for championing the performing arts in Canada, which are thriving across the country thanks to their generosity," said NAC Foundation CEO Jayne Watson.


16th Kalanidhi International Festival of Indian Dance: Whirling Streams


16th Kalanidhi International Festival of Indian Dance: Whirling Streams
Goes Global with Live and Live-Streamed Performances, Symposium, and Film Retrospective
- March 28 to April 2 at Fleck Dance Theatre, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto -

February 10, 2017, Toronto, ON: The 16th Kalanidhi International Festival of Indian Dance: Whirling Streams is dedicated to Sudha Khandwani, Founder and Artistic Director of Kalanidhi Fine Arts of Canada, who passed away in November of 2016, leaving an extraordinary history of international Indian Dance through her fifteen archived festivals (1993 to 2014). With the passing of Sudha, her sister, acclaimed dancer and choreographer Menaka Thakkar, has agreed to finish the Festival as its Artistic Director with the intention to continue the work of spreading a passion for Indian Dance as an art form.

The Kalanidhi International Festival of Indian Dance, Whirling Streams, starts Tuesday March 28 and runs to Sunday April 2, 2017 at Fleck Dance Theatre, Harbourfront Centre. Tickets will be on sale mid-February. All events on stage  at Harbourfront Centre will also be live streamed and performances will be available at select film theatres such as Cineplex during the Festival and available on-line over the internet as well.

Performances: The live and live-streamed Festival will present over 40 dancers from Canada and India and feature the classical and contemporary dance styles of Bharatanatyam, Odissi, Kathak, Chhau, and Modern over the course of the six days. Performers include Menaka Thakkar Dance Collective (Toronto), Santosh Nair Sadhya Dance (India),  Bhavajan Kumar Dancers (Toronto), and solos by Menaka Thakkar (Toronto), Kasturi Mishra (Ottawa), Sujata Mohapatra (India), Parul Gupta (Toronto), Riya Alika Mittal (Edmonton), Nivedha Ramalingham (Toronto), Monica Shah (Vancouver), Mark Medrano with Roger Sinha  (Montreal), Reshmi Chetram (Toronto), and more to be  announced. 

Retrospective and Symposiums - A "DO NOT MISS" event at the Festival will be a demonstration/symposium on the use of technology for teaching Indian dance on-line, hosted by Menaka Thakkar that takes place on Sunday April 2. This will be followed by a one-hour retrospective film on the history of contemporary Indian Dance through the eyes of past Kalanidhi Festivals. The retrospective will be followed in the afternoon by a Symposium discussion on Contemporary Indian Dance happening in India. FREE  ADMISSION to all events.

10am - 12pm Demonstration/Symposium on Technology;

2pm - 3pm Film History Retrospective of Contemporary Indian Dance;

3pm - 5pm Symposium on Contemporary Indian Dance happening in India.

Pre-Festival Events - Leading up to the Festival, Kalanidhi paid tribute to Sudha with live-streamed events on December 18, 2016 and January 22, 2017 that featured  memorable performances and new works from past participants, and will do so again on March 5 at Menaka Thakkar Dance Studio at 4:30pm. Encore performances of the Pre-Festival Events are available on the Kalanidhi website at www.kalanidhifinearts.org

Tuesday, February 14, 2017




TORONTO, CANADA (February 13, 2017): Sanskriti Arts Ensemble, with Imagebuilderz as media partners, are all set to present the second chapter of Dance Diaries with Bollywood choreographers Shampa Gopikrishna and Nishant Bhat.   This year also, Dance Diaries presents a unique opportunity for Bollywood dance aficionados to learn the art of popular dance and get a once in a lifetime opportunity to perform with the choreographers live on stage during a final showcase.    

The announcement was made at the Open House for Sanskriti Arts that took place at their new dance studio in Mississauga on February 11, covered by ATN, their exclusive TV media partner.   The Open House showcased a day-long event filled with an array of dance performances including Bollywood, Yoga, Kathak, Hip Hop and Latin Fusion as well as Yoga.  Participants got the opportunity to learn all the shades of dance, yoga, and empowerment.  Besides performances, the Open House also had free sampling of food as well as an assortment of giveaways including hampers, gift baskets, water bottles, mugs and jewelry.

"We wanted to initiate a place of belonging for the community, something they could call their own," says Puja Amin, director of Sanskriti Arts Ensemble, while announcing the next chapter of Dance Diaries.  "We want to provide positivity through fitness and movement." 


The new studio will be the space for Dance Diaries with the B-town dance experts who will train participants  during a two day dance workshop (March 23-24) and an intensive dance workshop (March 25), ultimately culminating in a Grand Finale performance at the Maja Prentice Theatre in Mississauga on March 25.  

"Dance Diaries is a promise I made to my students that they will get opportunities to train with the best talent Bollywood and the dance industry has to offer," says Amin.

"Last year, we had the legendary Saroj Khan, training students' right here in Toronto, and this year we have Shampa Gopikrishna and Nishant Bhat. All I can say is every chapter of Dance Diaries will keep getting bigger and better," she added.

Shampa Gopikrishna, daughter of legendary Kathak maestro, Natraj Gopikrishna, has twice won the Indian version of Dancing With the Stars, Jhalak Dikhla Jaa, with Gurmeet Chaudhury and Ashish Sharma. She has also choreographed the popular song Pinga from Bajirao Mastani, Ang Laga De from Ram Leela and Malang from Dhoom3 among others.  She is currently working for the Hollywood movie, Heartbeats as Indian choreographer.


Nishant Bhat is a popular choreographer well known to ardent lovers of Jhalak Dikhla Jaa and Nach Baliye, Just Dance and Dance Plus. He is trained in Kathak, Indian folk and Latin Ballroom. Bhat has also worked as an assistant choreographer for popular Bollywood foot-tapping tunes including Cutiepie and Channa Mereya from Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Love Ki Ghanti from Besharam and Ek Number Ek Number from Sanam Teri Kasam.

"This is a unique opportunity being provided for kids and adults from the Indian diaspora who will be trained by the Best of the Best of choreographers.  They will add to their repertoire while learning new techniques and styles of dance through Dance Diaries.  And with Shampa and Nishant, we are able to bring some flavor of Bollywood to the GTA," says Renu Mehta, president of  magebuilderz.

The workshops will take place at the Sanskriti Arts Dance and Fitness Studios in Mississauga and will be conducted for kids and adults. The Kid's Class will take in age groups five to 11 years and the Adult's Class will take in age groups 12 and above.

The workshop will run for three days from March 23 to March 25 with the final showcase taking place on the evening of March 25 in Mississauga, where students, who have been part of the workshop for at least two sessions, will get the exclusive opportunity to perform live on stage with Shampa Gopikrishna and Nishant Bhat.

For registration visit: http://app.mainstreetsites.com/dmn2092/classes.htm?sem=18611#sem

About Shampa Gopikrishna

Shampa Gopikrishna is the daughter of legendary Kathak exponent, Natraj Gopikrishna. She has twice won the popular Indian reality show Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa and has choreographed a number of Bollywood songs including Pinga from Bajirao Mastani, Malang from Dhoom 3 and Ang Laga De from Ram Leela among others.  Shampa is a trained Kathak dancer and well versed in Modern, Contemporary, Jazz, Hip Hop as well as the Latin American forms of dance. She is also trained in the various Indian folk dance styles such as Chhau and Kalaripayatu as well as can perform aerial acrobats with ease. Shampa is currently working as an Indian choreographer for a Hollywood movie, Heartbeats directed by Duane Adler. She is also the director of choreography on dancewithmadhuri.com, an online dance academy run by Madhuri Dixit.


About Nishant Bhat

Nishant Bhat is popular choreographer who is known for his participation in Indian dance reality shows. He has been part of Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa, Nach Baliye, Just Dance, Boogie Woogie, Dance Plus, Super Dancer as well as So You Think You Can Dance - India, to name a few. Bhat is trained in Kathak, Indian folk and Latin Ballroom. He is currently learning Bellydance. Bhat has been an assistant choreographer for popular Bollywood songs utipie and Channa Mereya from Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Love ki Ghanti from Besharam and Ek Number Ek Number Sanam Teri Kasam among others.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Annual Give a Heart turned out to be a Grandeur Success of Team Karma

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Give a Heart Represents Youth~Energy~Talent~ Power~ Confidence~Meaning ~Love~TeamWork & Inspiration

Amar Karma Health & Wellness Awareness Network held their 7th annual Give a Heart gala on Saturday at Apollo Convention Centre, Mississauga. The months of planning and hard work by the youth of the Karma Team cumulated at Karma’s Give a Heart.
A fun event revolved around the theme “Health & Wellness is Reciprocal and Synergetic” and that Health & Wellness can be achieved by making collective efforts. An event that showcased awards of excellence, lion dances, singing, bhangra and much more to send a simple message: you can give your heart – literally.

Martha Henry to lead Langham Workshop for Classical Direction, as David Latham retires

Martha Henry to lead Michael Langham Workshop

for Classical Direction, as David Latham retires

This season's participants announced

February 8, 2017… Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino is pleased to announce that Martha Henry will take on the directorship of the Stratford Festival's Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction. Founding Director David Latham has decided to retire from the position he has held since 2009, having built an unparalleled program on the art of directing classical work.

"After seven years of leadership as our founding Director of the Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction, David Latham has decided to retire from the role," says Mr. Cimolino. "Through his careful course design and inspirational mentoring of the participant directors, David has made the Langham Workshop a vital training resource within Canadian theatre. I'm deeply grateful to him and happy to say that he will continue to serve as a valued member of our coaching and training staff at the Festival. "I'm delighted to announce that Martha Henry has agreed, after a decade with the Birmingham Conservatory, to lead the Langham Workshop, beginning this season. Martha's experience with a long list of extraordinary directors, including Michael Langham himself, as well as her own work as one of Canada's finest stage directors, makes her exceptionally qualified for this important position. I'm in Martha's debt for her acceptance of this challenging leadership role at the Festival. Her talent, skills and wisdom will make an invaluable contribution to the development of Canadian theatre directors working in the classics."

Ms Henry's relationship with the Stratford Festival, now in its sixth decade, has been crucial to the theatre's success. As Director of the Birmingham Conservatory from 2007 to 2016, she has trained dozens of the country's most promising classical actors, and mentored and inspired countless others throughout her career. A Companion of the Order of Canada, a Member of the Order of Ontario and a recipient of the Governor General's Lifetime Achievement Award, Ms Henry has performed in almost 70 productions in her 43 seasons at Stratford and has directed a dozen more. She has served as Artistic Director of the Grand Theatre, and has directed for the Shaw Festival, Canadian Stage and other Canadian theatres. Her highly acclaimed production of All My Sons in 2016 was seen as one of the Festival's triumphs. This year she will be directing Twelfth Night at the Festival Theatre.

Mr. Latham's contributions have been similarly impactful. He has directed, taught or acted in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., and the U.S. He is a Master Teacher and directs and teaches regularly at the Birmingham Conservatory, the National Theatre School and the Globe Conservatory. Mr. Latham, the Festival's long-standing Director of Theatre Training, was Principal of the Birmingham Conservatory, prior to launching the Langham Workshop, and also served as Associate Artist. He was Dean of the VCA School of Drama in Melbourne, Australia, and Director of the Vancouver Playhouse Acting School. The bulk of his Stratford career, which stretches over 16 seasons, has focused on training, though he also directed several memorable productions, including 2007's Othello, 2004's Cymbeline, 2003's Agamemnon and 2002's The Two Noble Kinsmen.

Since the founding of the Langham Workshop, Mr. Latham has mentored dozens of artists, who will help form the bedrock of the new generation of Canadian directors. Those who have passed through the program include Mitchell Cushman, who is directing this season's Treasure Island; Alan Dilworth, who is directing The Virgin Trial; Lezlie Wade, who is directing HMS Pinafore; Graham Abbey, who conceived and adapted last season's Breath of Kings and is Artistic Director of Groundling Theatre; Kevin Bennett, Christine Brubaker and Krista Jackson, who are directing at the Shaw Festival this season. Several Workshop members have gone on to leadership roles in Canadian theatre, including Thomas Morgan Jones, now Artistic Director of Theatre New Brunswick; Rona Waddington, Artistic Director of the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival; Kate Newby, Artistic Director of Handsome Alice; Esther Jun, Assistant Artistic Director of Tarragon Theatre; and Andrea Donaldson, Associate Artistic Director of Tarragon. Others have taken the skills learned in the program back to their companies, including Andrew Shaver, Artistic Director of Sidemart Theatrical Grocery; Aaron Willis, co-artistic director of Convergence Theatre; Ravi Jain, Artistic Director of Why Not Theatre; Kevin Hammond, Artistic Director of Humber River Shakespeare; and Kristen van Ginhoven, Artistic Director of WAM in Lee, Massachusetts. Many more are actively directing across Canada and in the U.S.

The Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction offers early- and mid-career directors an unparalleled opportunity to gain critical insight into mastering the art of directing classical work at a theatre of significant complexity and scope.

This year, the program welcomes three new participants – Michelle Boulet, Sarah Kitz and Jonathan Seinen – as well as three directors returning for their second year – Charlotte Gowdy, Peter Pasyk, and James Wallis.

"The Langham Workshop offers a wonderful exchange of ideas," says Mr. Cimolino. "These young directors bring to us the culture of their work, while we share with them the techniques that have evolved over the Festival's rich history. It is our hope that they will carry these traditions forward, ensuring a sound future for classical theatre in this country and beyond."


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