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Passion For Culture And Community Leads Local Dance School To Become An Artistic Leader for Over Four Decades

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Starting in the 1980s with only 25 students, the India School of Dance, Music & Theatre in Winnipeg has grown to accommodate over 150. Over the last four decades, the school has proven to be a leader in the Arts. From 1987, with the Prix Manitoba Award for outstanding work in multiculturalism to the First Community Leadership Award by the Asian Heritage Society in 2019. This has been accomplished through the dedicated work and passion of its team.

Shavira Narrandes and Revanti Mukherjee share their culture and adoration for art by teaching youth and adults through dance and music subjects. The two are proud to be part of a legacy that has been so revolutionary within the Winnipeg community.

“We have a few classes, Bharatanatyam and Katak, which are classical ancient Indian dance forms. Also, classes on different classical music and vocals as well,” says Narrandes. “There was nothing in Winnipeg at that time, so that’s when our Executive Director, Pamela Rebello, wanted to put us together.”

The idea for the school started in the 70s during Folklorama when Rebello and a core group of local artists and patrons wanted to create a place where they could preserve and promote the visual, literary and performing arts of India for all Manitobans.

That drive and passion continue with new teachers and students who want to celebrate their culture and heritage or learn more about the artistry and history of dance and music from India.

Narrandes was born and raised here in Winnipeg. She first wanted to get into dancing because of a fondness for tap dancing from watching it on tv. Her mother, who is from a strict Indian family, wanted Narrandes to experience their culture dance, something she didn’t have the opportunity to do herself.

“She got excited and brought me to the school because all our family friends were talking about it. I stuck with it,” says Narrandes, “and I really started to enjoy it. It has a lot of tap dance elements, the style of dance I do. A lot of footwork and spins; I really liked it, and I continued from there.”

Revanti Mukherjee moved to Winnipeg from India almost two years ago. Mukherjee has been in dance since she was six years old, inspired by her mother, who has been in the performing arts most of her life, travelling worldwide.

“It was kind of mandatory to get into the dance institution and learn dancing. I started learning Katak. After I arrived in Canada, my friends from University got to learn about this [school]. So I got in touch with the India School of Dance and started teaching here.”

Sharing their culture with others and promoting community is paramount for the India School of Dance team. They’re always excited to see a new face come through their doors, ready to learn.

– Ryan Funk, U Multicultural

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of U Multicultural.

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