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STORIES / Menaka Thakkar

Menaka Thakkar

Menaka Thakkar established Canada’s first professional Indian dance company in 1978. Thakkar blended different cultural dance styles to co-create a performance called “East Meets West” in which she bridged cultural divides.

A portrait illustration of Menaka Thakkar.

Dancer and Choreographer

An internationally renowned dancer, choreographer, teacher, and institution-builder, Menaka Thakkar forged a new path in the realm of Indian dance in Canada for over four decades. In 1978 she established Canada’s first professional Indian dance company, the Menaka Thakkar Dance Company. Thakkar would also become director at Nrtyakala: The Canadian Academy of Indian Dance and teach in York University Dance Department and Canada’s National Ballet School.

Thakkar brought the ancient art of Indian classical dance to the consciousness of a mainstream Canadian audience, bridging cultural divides and enriching the city’s artistic tapestry.

Explore more women who transformed Toronto.

Further Resources
Learn about Thakkar’s 2013 Governor General’s Performing Arts Award
Watch CBC’s coverage on Menaka Thakkar (10min)

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