Natyaangan Home
<< Back
Mamata Niyogi-NakraMamata Niyogi-Nakra started her dance training in 1953, at Arts and Artists, in Patna, India, with Guru Bala Krishnan, a leading disciple of Guru U.S. Krishna Rao of Bangalore. On completion of her basic training with Guru Bala Krishnan, and on his advice, she went for advanced training in Bharata Natya to Guru U.S. Krishna Rao and his wife Guru U.K. Chandrabhaga Devi, on a scholarship. Her long-standing and loyal association since 1957 with her Gurus, two of the most renowned exponents of the Pandanallur style of Bharata Natya, has been the most treasured and cherished heritage Mamata has had in her pursuit of the art of dance.

Mamata performed extensively in india. She also gave performances in the U.K. and Europe, but an accident in 1969, soon after her arrival in Canada, left her with a permanent injury, which brutally and abruptly cut her off from performing Bharata Natya. Devastated by this, she gave up her dance interests and plunged into her doctoral studies. With the passage of time she was able to regain her interest in dance and with the blessings of her Gurus, she started teaching the art in Montreal in 1979. Her Gurus have visited her school three times and have actively supported her in establishing a solid foundation for training and propagation of Bharata Natya in Montreal.

It is of great satisfaction to Mamata that in 1992, at the Golden Jubile celebrations of their dance school Maha Maya, her Gurus included her in the list of sixteen gurus honoured by them for their contributions to the various forms of classical dances of India. In the following year, 1993, her Gurus once again showed great confidence in her work by sending their grand daughter Anjali Jayadev, a promising and talented dancer, for study in choreography and technique with her at Kala Bharati, Montreal. Most recently (July 1999), Guru U.S. Krishna Rao has written to Mamata about his decision to transfer all their life-long work for archival and documentation purposes through her.

In recognition of her contribution to Indian Classical Dance and Bharata Natya, Mamata Niyogi-Nakra has been mentioned under the section Guru Parampara in the book Bharatanatyam, published by Marg Publications, Bombay (1997).

Mamata Niyogi-Nakra considers herself fortunate and privileged to be such an integral part of this rich parampara of the Pandanallur style, which she has been assiduously propagating in Montreal.

As a Teacher and Choreographer of Bharata Natya

  • Founded the Kala Bharati Dance School in Montreal in July 1981;
  • Director of the Summer Residency Bharata Natya Teacher Training Programme (2003), at Kala Bharati, funded by the National Arts Training Contribution Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage, Government of Canada;
  • Trained many dancers leading up to and including their graduation (Ranga Pravesh);
  • Formed La Troupe Kala Bharati made up of dancers entirely trained by her at this school;
  • Artistic Director of La Troupe Kala Bharati and creator of numerous innovative group choreographies in Bharata Natya, including Seasonscape, Kriya Marga, Padukarchana, Dasavatar, Arjuna, Aalapana and others;
  • Created a new repertoire of classical Bharata Natya items designed for children;
  • Invited by Indian Television (Doordarshan) to present her choreographies for recording at their Production Centre in New Delhi, for telecasting as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of Indian Independence;
  • Choreographed a series of vignettes in Bharata Natya style to capture Haiku moments;
  • Choreographed an Indian dance piece for the music video of singer Marie Denise Pelletier’s award winning song “Inventer la terre”;
  • Acknowledged in India, by critics and connoisseurs, as a leading choreographer in Bharata Natya;
  • Presented her choreographies in India, Martinique, England, the USA and in Canada;
  • In Canada the presentations have been made in Quebec city, Drummondville, Sherbrooke, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Saskatoon, and elsewhere;
  • In Montreal, she has presented her work regularly with La Troupe Kala Bharati, independently and in collaboration with various other organizations, among them:
    • Tangente;
    • Maisons de la culture;
    • Place des Arts; Intercultural organizations;
    • Les Sortilèges;
    • Asian Heritage Festival;
    • Indian and other ethnic community organizations.
Participation at conferences and academic forums :
  • Member of Canada Council’s Advisory Committee for Dance (2000-2001);
  • Member of Canada Council’s 4th Advisory Committee for Racial Equality in the Arts (1999-2002);
  • Member of Jury on numerous occasions, for evaluation of grants applications for dance professionals (Canada Council) and for others;
  • Has given numerous courses, workshops and lecture demonstrations on Bharata Natya, in colleges, universities and for the public at large;
  • Has supervised studies in Indian Dance by students at Concordia University and at University of Quebec in Montreal; Author of two exercise manuals for Bharata Natya teaching;
  • Co-author with Vincent Warren “Crafting Dance: Two Voices” (book in preparation);
  • Author of many articles on Indian Classical Dances presented at international conferences:
    • Dance and the Child International Conference, Regina, Canada (2000);
    • Colloque on Indian Classical Dances outside the country of origin, organized by Vox Populi, Tangente, and Kala Bharati, Montreal (1997);
    • Sruti and India International Centre Conference on E.Krishna Iyer,Delhi, Madras(1997);
    • Dance and the Child International Summer Camp, Netherlands (1996);
    • Indian dance conference, Carlton University, Ottawa (1994);
    • Natyakala Conference on Dance, Madras (1994);
    • New Directions in Indian Dance, Toronto (1993); Maha Maya Dance Symposium Bangalore (1992);
    • Ragmala conference on Music and Dance, Saskatoon (1990);
    • Festival of Indian Dance and Music, New Delhi (1989);
    • Dance and the Child International Conference, London, U.K. (1988);
    • Indian Dance Conference, Toronto University (1985);
    • Symposium on Indian Classical Dance, University of Quebec in Montreal and Kala Bharati, Montreal, (1982).

Promotion of Interculturalism

  • Director of the Kala Bharati project “Window on the World”;
  • Collaborated with Professor Gilles Maloney of Laval University for a course on Indian civilization;
  • Collaborated with professor Donna Davidson in a summer programme of personal enrichment at McGill University;
  • Organized and moderated several seminars and colloques at Kala Bharati;
  • Collaborated with many dancers in Montreal and India;
  • Has developed the Kala Bharati Centre for Documentation and Cultural Resources for students carrying out studies in Indian culture.

Academic Career
Her dance related activities are carried out entirely on a voluntary basis. She has had a brilliant academic career:

  • Gold medalist for degrees in B.A. and M.A. in English from India;
  • British Council scholar for studies in the U.K. for the diploma in TESL;
  • Doctorat in applied linguistics from the University of Montreal;
  • Professor of English in Montreal at Collège Maisonneuve (’71-’97) and McGill University (Cont. Ed.) (’69-’89). Retired in 1997.
Vision of Natyaangan
All rights reserved Kala Bharati 2009