High Lights

StarBuzz Online - Toronto

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sampradaya after TAJ

Artistic Director Lata Pada in Conversation with Celebrity Cultural Critic Samita Nandy for StarBuzz
StarBuzz Weekly, Toronto-
The word ‘Sampradaya,’ for Artistic Director Lata Pada, represents the transmission of tradition.  Commissioned by Luminato for 2011 festival TAJ showcased Sampradaya Dance Creations’ distinct voice in Canada’s performing arts.
Lata Pada contends that the four sold out performances highlight the potential of this production to tour beyond its world premiere in Toronto in June 2011 at the Fleck Theatre of the Harbourfront Centre. A premiere is an opportunity to get the work ‘ on its feet’; preparing it for a remount is a wonderful chance to revisit the production, find deeper meaning, look at what worked and what did not, and how effectively all the elements came together. Sampradaya is now preparing to take the work across Canada and hopefully to India as well.
Currently, her company Sampradaya Dance Creations is doubling studio space.  It is acquiring the studio next to the existing one and is in full swing of reconstruction and enhancement of its facilities.  The new studio is a 7400 square foot facility.  Pada reveals that this will be a “performance hub of music, dance, and theatre for young South Asian performers – musicians, dancer, and actors – to find an opportunity for their art to be seen.”  Sampradaya Dance Creations will “mentor and guide emerging talent in their art.”

Lata Pada draws on rasa theory in Indian aesthetic studies and sheds light on the success of her performances.  For her, “the rasa [essence of aesthetic experience] is one that performer and audience member must participate in equally. It is that process of mutual and synergistic sharing that creates the magic of the moment. For any artist, that can translate into something quite transformative and ultimately needs to be the goal of any artistic communication.
The interplay of Lata Pada’s stagecraft and performances exemplifies this in her latest production TAJ.  Pada contends that “training, experience, maturity, personal connection to spoken words, scenes, sensitivity and vulnerability on stage” plays an emotional role in performance arts.  The tactile experience that you face then and experience on the stage is communicated to the audience.  The audience is brought into the space, the world of the play. During the world premiere of TAJ, the theatre and its stage were not large and, hence, created conditions for immediacy and proximity with actors Kabir Bedi and Lisa Ray.  Pada states that if the theatre was “bigger and larger, that would have distanced” the actors.  Instead, TAJ brought “proximity and synergistic relation between actors and audience.” At that time, Pada reveals, “you are not thinking star / celebrity on the stage.  Theatre is live, palpable, and ephemeral.  Every performance is different.  There can be flaws and no opportunities for retakes.  All actors recognize this.  If they have acted in films, they know the difference.”
Samita Nandy
To find out more about the upcoming performances of Sampradaya Dance Creations, please visit: http://www.sampradaya.ca/

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