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July 4, 2006
The City of Toronto and Toronto Life magazine announce the “face the arts” recipient for July: Menaka Thakkar
The City of Toronto and Toronto Life magazine, as part of Toronto’s Live With Culture campaign and Toronto Life’s 40th anniversary celebrations, are pleased to announce internationally-renowned classical Indian dancer, choreographer and teacher, Menaka Thakkar as the “face the arts” recipient for July. Ms. Thakkar will be featured on the “face the arts” website at as well as in the July issue of Toronto Life magazine.

About Menaka Thakkar

Menaka Thakkar is an internationally-renowned dancer, choreographer and teacher working in three classical forms of Indian dance: Bharatanatyam, Odissi and Kuchipudi. Ms. Thakkar has been the subject of rave reviews and accolades: She is hailed as a dancer, “in a class by herself” by the Times of India and, “a rare jewel in the richly encrusted crown of Toronto’s dance community” by the Globe and Mail.

Ms. Thakkar believes her greatest contribution to Indian Dance is the establishment of its presence in the Canadian mind over the last 25 years. Her work has been recognized with awards and honors that include an honorary Doctor of Letters from York University, the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce President’s Award and the Toronto Arts Award in the category of Performing Arts.

As a performer, Menaka Thakkar has had an extensive international solo career, and more recently, as the principal performer and artistic director of The Menaka Thakkar Dance Company. As a choreographer, Ms. Thakkar exposes her audience to a variety of performances: from stunning solo numbers to elaborate productions of dance dramas; and from pure traditional dance to experimental works that fuse several dance styles. As a teacher of classical dance, Ms. Thakkar has created a whole generation of rigorously trained Indian dancers across Canada. She directs Nrtyakala, The Canadian Academy of Indian Dance, which she founded 27 years ago in Toronto.

Each month, a different photographer is chosen to create the portraits of the recipients for the pages of Toronto Life. Jennifer Long photographed Manaka Thakkar for Toronto Life’s July issue. Since graduating from Ryerson University in 1998, Jennifer Long has exhibited in many solo exhibitions and group exhibitions nationally and internationally. Her upcoming exhibits include “Hairwork,” Leo Kamen Gallery, Toronto (September 2006), “Vulnerable Light,” Open Space Victoria (October 2006), and “Emerging Photographers 2006,” Lennox Contemporary, Toronto (November 2006).

Ms. Long is also included in the recent publications “Carte Blanche” and “Prefix Photo 13.” She has received grants from the Ontario Arts Council and The Canada Council for the Arts. Ms Long is represented in Germany by Galerie Poller, and in Ontario by Leo Kamen Gallery,

About “face the arts”

The “face the arts” program is designed to acknowledge and provide wider exposure for 10 extraordinary Toronto-based cultural mavericks who, through artistic promise, achievement or vision, have enriched the cultural life of this city now and for future generations. From March until December 2006, a different individual from diverse artistic disciplines will be featured within the pages of Toronto Life and on

Funding for “face the arts” has been provided by the City of Toronto, the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund and the Government of Canada through the Cultural Capital of Canada program. Toronto Life is a presenting sponsor of this program.

Live With Culture is a 16-month celebration of Toronto’s extraordinary arts and cultural communities, shining a spotlight on the vibrant and diverse activities happening in the city each and every day. From September 2005 until the end of 2006, Live With Culture showcases the vast scope of the city’s culture of creativity and inspires Torontonians to make culture part of their daily lives. How do you live with culture? Visit, the ultimate guide to Toronto’s culture scene.

Media contact:

Rita Davies
Toronto Culture



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