New centre to become hub for Indian music and dance in downtown Toronto
The recently opened Toronto Tabla Ensemble Centre for Indian Arts will have its inauguration ceremony on January 24th, 2015 located at 1386 Gerrard Street East. The day’s events will begin with a celebration of the Indian festival, Saraswati Puja, at 9 AM followed by the inauguration ceremony at 3 PM and performances by the Toronto Tabla Ensemble and other local artists at 6 PM. The Consul General of India, Mr. Akhilesh Mishra, will be the guest of honour for the ribbon cutting ceremony. This event will mark the opening of a unique multidisciplinary arts centre and school in the heart of Little India.
The new space will host daily tabla classes, afterschool youth programs, performances by guest artists, and a range of dance and music classes, workshops and rehearsals. The Gerrard India Bazaar provides the perfect backdrop for the centre to develop into a permanent venue for Indian music and dance, something that has not yet been available to Toronto audiences and arts practitioners. The Toronto Tabla Ensemble (TTE) has been actively defining Toronto’s world music scene for the last twenty five years. Their mandate has been to promote the Indian percussion instrument, tabla, and spread knowledge of the classical North Indian rhythmic system through rigorous training at all skill levels.
The artistic director and lead teacher of the TTE is Ritesh Das, who hails from a rich artistic lineage. His parents, Nrityachaya Prohlad Das and Smt Nilima Das, opened up the first music and dance academy in Kolkata after India gained independence. Das’ brother is the living Kathak dance legend, Pandit Chitresh Das. Growing up surrounded by legendary artists and studying music from a young age, he now continues under the guidance of his guru Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, who the TTE presents in Toronto for concerts and workshops.
Since 1985, Das has been teaching tabla in Toronto and has helped to bring the art form to the Canadian mainstream. As the director of the TTE School of Tabla, Das continues to design programs to train professional tabla players, many of whom go on to become full-time artists in Canada and beyond. Currently, Das directs tabla classes in Toronto, Mississauga and Scarborough, and has recently launched the first Toronto Tabla Youth Ensemble featuring artists between 8 and 15 years of age.
For more information about the Toronto Tabla Ensemble, its upcoming location and seasonal programming, please visit http://www.torontotabla.com
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