PuSh Blog

Murmuring on Aakash Odedra – An Interview with Jai Govinda by Joyce Rosario

January 18, 2016

PuSh Festival’s Associate Curator, Joyce Rosario interviewed local bharata natyam aficionado and Mandala Arts and Culture Society art director Jai Govinda in the lead up to Aakash Odedra Company’s performances of Inked and Murmur. Aakash Odedra is opening the 2016 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival at the Vancouver Playhouse, January 19–20, and Jai Govinda will be moderating the post-show talkback after Aakash Odedra’s final performance on January 20. Read the interview ahead of the performance, as well as The Dance Centre’s article on the opening performance to prepare for a glorious evening.

Inked & Murmur, Aakash Odedra Company, 2016 PuSh Festival
Photo: Sean Goldthorpe

Joyce Rosario: What is most compelling to you about Aakash Odedra as a dancer and choreographer?

Jai Govinda: His stage presence and dexterity.


JR: Why is Inked and Murmur a great performance for Vancouver audiences?

JG: It is a unique chance to see this multi-award winning dance performer who has taken the dance world by storm with his unique dance language. His work with varied well known choreographers and his stage aesthetics cast a spell on the audience.


JR: “Traditional and contemporary forms of dance”… What does this mean to you?

JG: There are two possible meanings for the word “contemporary” in Dance. One is the name of a special dance style called contemporary, hence contemporary dance, contemporary ballet etc. The other, is that if it is happening in the “now” regardless of the dance language you use, with creators and dancers of today–to me it is contemporary.

It has to be able to speak to people of our time.


JR: For those who are interested in learning more about kathak and other forms of Indian dance, where can one get more information?

JG: Kathak does not have a strong hold in Vancouver. There are very few teachers, the best would probably be Amiska Kushawaha, who also happens to be married to the famous tabla player, Cassius Khan. There are about eight to twn bharata natyam schools, and a few bollywood ones in the area. Odissi dancer Scheherazaad Cooper is also back in Vancouver (was teaching a dance history course at SFU) and is arranging a lecture with Aakash at the Ismaili Centre on Thursday, January 19.

Inked & Murmur, Aakash Odedra Company, 2016 PuSh Festival
Photo: Sean Goldthorpe


Jai Govinda is the artistic director of Mandala Arts and Culture Society. After years of study with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in Quebec City and in Montreal under full fellowship, Jai Govinda adopted a monastic lifestyle during which he visited many of India’s most sacred sites, and developed a love and fascination for Bharata Natyam. He studied with masters of the dance style, including Sri U.S. Krishna Rao, Smt. Jaya Lakshmi Eeshwar and Mamata Nakra. Jai Govinda has performed extensively across Canada, as well as U.S.A., France and India. Since 1995, he has established his own dance academy in Vancouver. Aside from performing, teaching and lecturing, Jai Govinda is developing his fusion work with other artists and creators. He has worked with “l’Ecole Nationale du Cirque”, various theatre groups, and national figure skater Ravi Wallia.

Experience the beauty of Aakash Odedra’s Inked and Murmur, two performances to open the 2016 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival at the Vancouver Playhouse, January 19 and 20, 2016. Book tickets on your PuSh Pass, Youth Passport or as single tickets online.