Born in Mi’kkma’ki (Halifax) and raised in Tkaronto, Nova Bhattacharya is a ground-breaking choreographer, cultural leader and dancer. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of Nova Dance, established in 2008.
Her dance works breathe rich life into the world of contemporary Canadian dance. For over 20 years, Bhattacharya has been crafting vivid images that invite the viewer on a journey of heart and mind. Integrating improvised movement and gesture, she is inventing a language that needs no translation. Her curiosities and collaborative spirit have led to a body of work widely recognized for its craft, use of space, subtlety of gesture and accessibility to audiences. She’s always been a rebel, reinterpreting traditions to tell new stories, throughout her career she’s embraced multiple influences and her studies of Butoh, folk dance and Western dance practices have impacted her work which she describes as “uprooted” from the movement, theatre, and rhythms of Bharatnatyam. Her critically acclaimed works have been presented across Canada, in Germany, India, Japan, the United Kingdom and Uganda.
Her choreography has been commissioned by DanceWorks, Blue Ceiling Dance, Canada Dance Festival, Cahoots Theatre, Dusk Dances, Tarragon Theatre, Toronto Dance Theatre, Theatre Direct Canada and Dancemakers. She has performed as a guest artist with Peggy Baker Dance Projects and Compagnie Flak and others.
Bhattacharya is the recipient of multiple awards for artistic achievement and for contributions to community: the Dancing Damsels Inc. “Women Achiever” Award (2019), the Pink Attitude “Game Changer” Award (2018), the Summerworks Outstanding Direction Award for Broken Lines (2016), the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award for outstanding artistic achievement in dance (2012), and the Manasumanjali Award for Dance (1997). She’s also received multiple nominations from the Dora Mavor Moore Awards, the K.M. Hunter Artist Awards and in 2021 the Eldred Family Dance Award.
Nova believes that dance expresses the essence of our humanity and has tremendous transformative power to bring us together.